The Mercedes-Benz R-Class might be dead to you and I, but it most certainly isn’t for the Chinese market, as this previously announced reconfiguration of production patterns clearly proves it.
This move is aimed at freeing up the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, where the R-Class was previously built, in order to make room for the more desirable GL, GLE and GLE Coupe SUVs. AM General is an independent contract manufacturer which will use its Mishawaka factory in Indiana for the assembly of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class luxury MPV.
This is where GM’s mighty Hummer H2 was once being built and AM General’s connection with the Hummer range of vehicles goes even further than that: AM General is renowned for the original Humvee, the light and incredibly versatile military infantry vehicle which has been the US Army’s main means of ground transportation for the last two decades.
AM General continues to build military vehicles and equipment for the US government and for other countries as well, but it has lost the Hummer H2 deal which blew a hole in their revenues. This new Mercedes-Benz contract is the perfect rebound and will see AM General assembly the R-Class exclusively for China, the only market where it is still sold.
This is what Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International had to say about the R-Class and the contract with AM General:
“We take the needs of our Chinese customers seriously and, therefore, continue to produce the R-Class, which is very popular in China. We have found the ideal partner for this project with AM General. As a production specialist, AM General reliably fulfils the high requirements in terms of processes and especially quality,which globally apply to the production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars,”