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Mercedes-Benz Taps AM General to Build R-Class SUV

Alabama plant runs out of production capacity.

by on Jan.28, 2015

Mercedes-Benz is shifting R-Class production to AM General's plant in northern Indiana.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International’s problem is AM General LLC’s gain. The German automaker is out of manufacturing space at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant so it’s tapping AM General to build the R-Class Grand Tourer at its plant in northern Indiana not far from Chicago.

Mercedes-Benz said booming sales have forced it to reorganize production of its sport utility vehicles and it plans to expand production capacity in the U.S. by utilizing the AM General plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, just outside of South Bend.

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The Mishawaka plant will join the production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, freeing up capacities at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which will then be used for the M-Class, the GL-Class and the new GLE Coupe due this summer. (more…)

Growing Number of Models Won’t Make it to 2013

Clearing out space for some all-new offerings.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Gone and soon forgotten? The Dodge Caliber will soon vanish from the fleet.

Don’t look now but some old and familiar nameplates – perhaps one parked in your garage – won’t be around much longer.

Automakers plan to drop a number of models that aren’t cutting it over the next couple years, sometimes to bring in a renamed replacement but in many cases simply to abandon a market niche that isn’t generating enough sales to justify the cost of an update.

Among the many products that manufacturers plan to eliminate is the once-popular Chrysler Town & Country minivan.  In fact, the Detroit maker has been steadily paring back its range of people-movers as sales slide and competition increases.

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A dozen or more products will quietly vanish from the market over the next several months as industry assembly lines re-tool for the 2013 model-year.  Among those also heading off to the automotive rust heap are: (more…)

First Look: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

German maker sets SLS base price and reveals new race car.

by on Mar.31, 2010

The track-ready, custom-built Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 should be ready well in time for the 2011 race season.

Supercar fans can finally head down to their nearest Mercedes-Benz dealer.  The German maker has set the price for its new, gullwinged SLS AMG sports car at $183,000 – barely half the price of the old Mercedes-Benz SLR, which it replaces.

But those with a bit more cash in the bank and a serious need for speed could always put an order down for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, a fully “customized race car,” which Volker Mornhinweg, outgoing head of the maker’s high-performance AMG brand, promises to have ready for the 2011 racing season.

The GT3, unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, will share the 6.3-liter powertrain in the standard-edition SLS, but will boast custom bodywork emphasizing aerodynamic performance.  The chassis will be modified to handle the needs and stresses of the track.

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According to Mornhinweg, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 will be able to launch from 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 180 mph.

(more…)