Angry Mercedes-Benz workers in Germany have laid down their tools after the company confirmed plans to shift up to 20 per cent of total C-class production to its US plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from 2014 onwards.
The decision, driven by the strength of the euro against the US dollar and the effect it has on profitability of models sold in North America, means the C-class will no longer be produced at Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen plant on the outskirts of Stuttgart in southern Germany beyond the current model.
Instead, the German car maker will concentrate production around its Bremen plant in northern Germany, which is expected to account for up to 60 per cent of total C-class volume when the fourth-generation model, known internally under the codename W205, arrives in 2014.
The remaining volume will be shared between Tuscaloosa, which will produce cars exclusively for the US market, and Mercedes’ plants in Beijing, China, and East London in South Africa.
The future C-class will be produced alongside the GL, M-class and R-class at Tuscaloosa. Sources close to Mercedes also hint that the second-generation GLK, due in 2015, could also join them if the euro continues to remain at high levels against the US dollar.
The decision to shift C-class production from Sindelfingen to Tuscaloosa is expected to result in up to 1800 job cuts in Germany.