Mercedes Shuts Down Alabama Plant due to Fire-Related Parts Shortage

Automaker looking for new source for parts.

by on May.14, 2018

Mercedes-Benz has halted production of SUVs, like the GLS, at its Vance, Alabama production line.

The parts shortage that cut production at Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler has forced Mercedes-Benz to stop building sport-utility vehicles at its assembly plant in Vance, Alabama, the German automaker confirmed.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. has informed employees idled last week that the temporary layoff will extend through this week.

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The Mercedes-Benz U.S International Inc. plant in Alabama exhausted its supply of cockpit cross-members and canceled production for its SUV operations, Felyicia Jerald, MBUSI spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. SUV production halted Thursday, Jerald said.

“We currently do not have parts to resume full production of SUVs next week, but we are working with our supply base to get back to normal production levels,” said Jerald, adding the plant will continue to build passenger cars.

(Ford halting all F-150 production, some Super Duty, in wake of fire. Click Here for the story.)

Mercedes-Benz shut down its Alabama plant that manufactures the GLE Coupe as it searches for a new supplier.

The SUVs, such as the GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS, are among the most popular models Mercedes-Benz sell in the United States and are also exported from Alabama to customers in Europe, China and the Middle East.

As it Ford, General Motors and FCA, the cause of the shutdown at the MBUSI plant was a May 2 fire at a key supplier of lightweight material, Magnesium Products of America Inc. Meridian, in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

(Click Here for more about the impact of Meridian fire on auto production.)

The fire also halted production of key parts for Ford pickup trucks, GM vans and Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

Ford, which has shut down three plants and has idled 7,600 workers, has been particularly hard hit by the parts shortages that had developed after the fire at Meridian because it has lost production of its highly profitable pickup trucks.

(To check out the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S Edition 1: A special version of a special car, Click Here.)

Earlier in the week, Ford officials said Meridian is looking at ways to move machinery from the damaged plant in western Michigan to other factories in Ontario, Canada, and the United Kingdom to overcome the shortages. Before the fire, Ford purchased about one-third of output from the Meridian plant in Eaton Rapids.

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