Why do we have to look at the R Class again??
August 11, 2015 - 1:01 pm ET
AM General today launched production of the Mercedes-Benz R class at its assembly plant in Mishawaka, Ind.
Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz and AM General entered a multi-year contract to move production of the luxury vehicle to AM General’s 675,000-square-foot Commercial Assembly Plant, which used to produce General Motors’ Hummer H2.
The R class was previously assembled at Mercedes-Benz’s plant in Vance, Ala. The move of the R class frees up capacity in Alabama, allowing the automaker to ramp up production of the M class, GL class and GLE coupe.
AM General, known for the original Humvee, is a manufacturer of tactical military vehicles for the U.S. and other governments. The agreement with Mercedes-Benz makes AM General the German automaker’s first U.S.-based contracted manufacturer.
The deal with Mercedes-Benz is a comeback strategy for AM General, which took a hit when it lost the Hummer H2 contract.
Without a manufacturing partner for the R class, Automotive News previously reported the German automaker would likely have had to shut down production of the vehicle, currently only sold in China.
Mercedes and AM General executives held a ceremony at the plant today celebrating the launch with state and local leaders. Hourly workers at the plant are represented by the UAW.
"We take the needs of our Chinese customers seriously and, therefore, continue to produce the R class, which is very popular in China,” Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, said in a statement. “We have found the ideal partner for this project with AM General. As a production specialist, AM General reliably fulfils the high requirements in terms of processes and especially quality,which globally apply to the production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.”