Mercedes Reduces Alabama SUV Production
“Beginning in January, the change will reduce output of the M-class crossovers and GL-class SUVs built at the plant. A second line that produces the M and R class models will continue as a two-shift operation,” Autonews wrote. “A Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman declined to say how many fewer vehicles would be built at Vance, which doubled in size in 2005 to a capacity of 180,000 a year.”
There's no wonder that Mercedes decided to cut production of small-demand vehicles, because similar actions were also imposed by various carmakers around the world, including Volvo, Chrysler and Ford. Nissan for example, cut production of Infinity and Murano due to lowered demand on the North American market, just like motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda which prepared similar moves for the first months of 2009.
Basically, the reasons for all these moves are always the same: customers around the world are no longer interested in high engine power but in fuel efficient vehicles that would provide lowered fuel consumption, detrimental to high-performance models. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors recorded extremely poor sales in the last few months, especially due to their lineup which was mostly focused on high-power and high-torque engines, with fuel consumption often neglected.