Mercedes halts production in Alabama due to Mexico parts delays

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Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Tuscaloosa resumed production last month after implementing new COVID-19 protections. Now the plant is idle again due to parts shortages created by the pandemic. (MBUSI)

Daimler AG is suspending production at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International SUV plant in Tuscaloosa due to a shortage of parts supplied from Mexico.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Tuscaloosa resumed production last month after implementing new COVID-19 protections. Now the plant is idle again due to parts shortages created by the pandemic. (MBUSI)

The Alabama factory was one of the first to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown but it won’t build vehicles this week, according to an internal notice viewed by Bloomberg. Workers are being given the option to use vacation time or go without pay and file for state and federal unemployment benefits.

“Due to respective country-specific regulations and their impact on international supplier sites, we expect a temporary interruption,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The Mercedes plant reopened late last month after idling for five weeks as much of the U.S. manufacturing base was shut down to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Now, as U.S. carmakers plan to restart their operations beginning next week, Mexico’s government has sent mixed messages as to how soon it will allow auto companies to reopen.

Daimler said in its internal notice to workers at the plant in Tuscaloosa County that the factory will schedule makeup production for June 29 through July 1, a week that the factory had been slated for a summer shutdown. The facility builds GLS and GLE sport-utility vehicles.

Mexico officials said on May 15 that the country will allow auto industry plants to begin restarting operations next week, as long as companies have safety protocols in place. Health officials in the country said details of those requirements may be released as soon as May 18.

Republished with the permission of Alabama NewsCenter.