Mercedes-Benz, Niagara Bottling Growing Jobs, Investment In Alabama

Mercedes-Benz celebrates the opening of its new Woodstock, AL EV battery factory, while Niagara Bottling plans a new $112 million investment in Opelika.

Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz officially opened a new electric vehicle battery plant on the automaker’s Bibb County, AL campus. The state-of-the-art factory near the community of Woodstock will provide high-performance lithium-ion batteries for the company’s new electric sport utilities, which will be built at Mercedes’ assembly plant just miles away in Tuscaloosa County.

Construction of the battery plant began in 2018, and it was opened a few months before production is slated to kick off at Mercedes’ Alabama manufacturing center, where it will produce the EQS SUV and EQE SUV. This is part of a global push to produce eight all-electric vehicles (EV) at seven locations on three continents.

Bibb County, AL
On March 15, 2022, Mercedes-Benz officially opened a battery factory on the automaker’s Bibb County campus, a few months before starting production of electric vehicles in Alabama. (Image: Mercedes)

“The opening of our new battery plant in Alabama is a major milestone on our way to going all-electric,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. “With our comprehensive approach including a local cell sourcing and recycling strategy, we underline the importance of the U.S., where Mercedes-Benz has been successful for decades. We’re proud to create new, future-proof jobs to build all-electric SUVs ‘Made in the USA’ at a plant that is such an established part of our production family since 25 years.”

Mercedes’ new battery factory underscores the importance of the U.S. within the company’s global production network and the status of Alabama as an export hub for luxury SUVs in the electric era.

“Our team here in Tuscaloosa plays a major role in the global success of Mercedes-Benz. We are proud that not only the new all-electric EQS SUV and EQE SUV are being built here in Alabama for markets worldwide, but also their high-performance batteries,” said Michael Göbel, head of Production North America and president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, as the Alabama operation is known.

Mercedes has invested more than $7 billion in Alabama, including $1 billion to open the battery plant and logistics centers at the Bibb County campus as well as an upgrade to the Tuscaloosa County production line to make EVs.

Bibb County, AL
Gov. Kay Ivey joined Mercedes-Benz officials to formally open a battery factory on the automaker’s Bibb County campus. (Image: Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

At the new facility, batteries will be assembled on a production line almost 1,000 feet long, with 70 work stations. According to Mercedes, up to 600 jobs will be created at the rural Bibb County site.

“With the production launch of the groundbreaking M-Class 25 years ago, Mercedes-Benz helped put our state on the cutting-edge of automotive manufacturing,” said Governor Ivey. “Today, with the opening of this new battery plant, Alabama is helping Mercedes accelerate its production of industry-leading electric vehicles. We’re proud to call Mercedes a partner, and we’re excited about the future that we are building together in Alabama.”

“Mercedes-Benz’s decision to build a battery factory and launch electric vehicle production in Alabama will position the state as a leader in a new automotive technology that is poised to dramatically change the direction of the industry,” added Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Niagara Bottling To Open New Alabama Bottling Plant

California-based beverage manufacturer Niagara Bottling LLC plans to open a new production facility in Opelika, AL. The company will make an estimated $112 million investment in the new bottling plant in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park, where it will create 50 jobs initially.

Northeast Opelika Industrial Park
California-based Niagara Bottling will invest $112 million to open a production plant that will create 50 jobs in Opelika. (Image: Niagara Bottling)

“We value the highly competitive and attractive combination of location, infrastructure, logistics and workforce in Opelika,” said Brian Hess, an executive vice president at Niagara Bottling. “Niagara has built a strong team and community relationships throughout the United States and looks forward to maintaining our leadership in the areas of manufacturing, innovation, supply chain and overall environmental stewardship.”

“Niagara Bottling’s decision to locate its new production facility in Opelika is a testament to Alabama’s strong business climate and the many advantages we can offer companies looking to energize their growth plans,” said Gov. Ivey. “Niagara Bottling is making a significant investment to launch this operation, and we are happy that the company chose to do it in Sweet Home Alabama.”

“The top-level priorities of Alabama’s economic development team are creating meaningful job opportunities for citizens around the state and bringing in new investment to invigorate communities,” said Canfield. “We look forward to seeing Niagara Bottling grow and thrive in Opelika because that perfectly aligns with our strategic economic development objectives.”

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