At this point, Daimler AG has no plans to expand its production capacity in the United States, executives said during the course of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin.
Since even before taking office in January, President Donald Trump has been leaning on automakers, both domestic and foreign, to build more vehicles in the U.S.
Trump was barely mentioned during the Daimler meeting. One shareholder suggested that the company set up a fund to help defend the European Union from Trump. But Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Daimler Supervisory Board, said the measure could not be taken up at the meeting because it had not submitted prior to the meeting.
The German automaker currently operates from 21 different sites across the United States as it builds trucks, cars and vans in the U.S.
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The figure includes factories in Alabama, Oregon, Michigan and the Carolinas. In addition, research and development centers in the U.S., Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, said during the company’s meeting annual meeting.
Zetsche said, in response to questions from shareholders the company does not, at this point, have any plans to expand its production base in the U.S. “At Daimler, the plants in Germany will continue to form the backbone of the worldwide production network,” he noted during his speech to shareholders.
Last year, Daimler broke ground for a new $500 million van plant in Charleston, South Carolina, but has no additional plants to add to its production base for cars, trucks and vans in the U.S. The German automaker also made a major investment of roughly $1 billion at its Detroit Diesel plant in Detroit last year.
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Daimler AG’s employment in the United States dropped by 11% last year at 21,857 as the company rolled back truck production last year as sales of commercial trucks stalled in North America.
The automaker is also preparing to build cars at a joint under construction in Mexico, one of Trump’s favorite targets, that it will share with Nissan-Renault. The Nissan-Renault portion of the joint-venture factory will open this coming November, while the Mercedes-Benz portion of the factory is now scheduled to be ready in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz, however, is not expected to export the Mexican-built vehicles to the U.S, according to Daimler representatives. Instead the plant will concentrate on building smaller types of Mercedes-Benz A- and B-class models that are not sold in the United States, he added.
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The vehicles built in the new Mexican plant will be sold in Mexico, Latin America and Europe and other markets outside the U.S.