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Last updated 9:02AM ET
March 5, 2021
Mercedes Celebrates 10 Big Years in Alabama
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - On the 10th anniversary of Mercedes' first assembly plant in the United States, a sprawling white complex at Vance, economic researchers released a report Wednesday outlining its nearly $7 billion annual impact on Alabama.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International contributed $6.8 billion last year to the state's economy and, including its major suppliers, was responsible for 41,830 jobs 17,822 of them in Tuscaloosa County where the plant is located.

The figures came in a study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama and commissioned by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA).

DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche and Gov. Bob Riley marked the first-decade milestone at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in Vance, where the M-Class sport utility vehicle rolled out in 1997.

"When you look around this state and see all the transformation we are making economically, it's amazing to think that it all started right here with Mercedes-Benz," Riley said at the ceremony.

The EDPA study looked at the annual economic and fiscal impact of the plant and 18 of its top automotive suppliers in Alabama.

The $6.8 billion estimate represents 4.2 percent of Alabama's gross domestic product, the study says.

The automaker has the biggest impact on Tuscaloosa County: $545 million a year in worker earnings from jobs created directly or indirectly by Mercedes, $11.5 million in local sales tax revenue and $3.2 million to $5.8 million in property tax revenue.

Jefferson County came in second, with about $191 million in earnings, and about $8 million in tax revenue, the study says.

Steve Sewell, executive vice president of the nonprofit EDPA, said figures in the study were conservative because researchers only included 18 of Mercedes' 32 major suppliers.

In 2005, Mercedes completed a $600 million expansion that doubled its work force to 4,000 employees and added another vehicle assembly line at the plant.

The plant now produces the M-Class, the R-Class and the full-size GL-Class sport utility vehicles.

Since Mercedes arrived in Alabama, Honda and Hyundai have followed with their own assembly plants, along with many suppliers. German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp in May chose Alabama for a $3.7 billion steel plant, described by steel industry experts as the first large-scale project of its kind in the United States in decades.

"When companies like ThyssenKrupp consider making huge investments in Alabama, they come to Mercedes and see first hand what our people are capable of," Riley said.
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