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Mercedes begins Alabama production of the GLS 600

Workers at Alabama’s Mercedes-Benz plant have produced a new model luxury SUV that the company calls the peak of SUV luxury. The first customer-ready Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 built in Alabama rolled off the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International facility in Tuscaloosa County in late September.

Mercedes said that the GLS represents a new form of luxury in the SUV segment, as the Maybach badge is reserved for the highest-quality equipment and appointments.

The new SUV features a powerful V8 engine, advanced suspension systems for a smooth and comfortable ride, automatic and illuminated running boards, and electrically operated roller sun blinds on the rear side windows. The new luxury SUV even features temperature-controlled cup holders and a fragrance generator system.

“Its spacious interior with the highest-grade materials and extremely effective noise insulation creates a stylish, cocoon-like feel-good atmosphere,” Mercedes said in a statement.

The starting price has been estimated to be $200,000,78 according to industry trade reports.

“For more than 20 years, Alabama’s Mercedes-Benz workers have produced luxury vehicles for drivers worldwide, and their success speaks for itself,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “The company continues to place enormous trust in their skill and craftsmanship, and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be the latest in a long line of winners for the Alabama plant.”

A dedicated MBUSI Mercedes-Maybach team produces the specific interior equipment and appointments by hand in a separate area.

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“The team members, selected based on their skills and knowledge, were trained for this at the Mercedes-Maybach Manufaktur hand-finishing facility in Germany,” Mercedes explained. “Two team members are responsible for the complete finishing of each car, which takes place away from the assembly process for the other SUV models. Before and after these stations, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS models are sent to Mercedes-Benz SUV production for final acceptance.”

The Mercedes-Maybach specialists assume a high level of personal responsibility and identify strongly with the product.

“Particular attention is paid to the careful handling of the high-grade interior appointments with a high proportion of nappa leather and wood trim parts,” Mercedes said. “The entire process, from the production of these parts by the highly specialized suppliers to assembly by the specially trained team members to final acceptance, is geared towards achieving a flawless result.”

Economic developer Nicole Jones said, “Through collaborative efforts between the public and private sector, our state has positioned itself as a national and global leader the automotive industry. For decades, Mercedes-Benz has manufactured state-of-the-art vehicles in Alabama, and the Maybach certainly is a welcome addition to their impressive portfolio of accomplishments. We are thankful for Mercedes’ partnership, innovation, and commitment to Alabama economic and workforce development.”

Mercedes parent Daimler has invested more than $6 billion in the Alabama auto assembly plant, which has produced more than 3 million vehicles since 1997.

The product lineup includes the Mercedes GLS and GLE SUVs and GLE Coupe.

The company is also making a major investment in Alabama to produce electric vehicles and is building a battery assembly facility in Bibb County.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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