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Mercedes, Rehau expanding in Alabama

January 14, 2013

DETROIT (Jan. 14, 1:10 p.m. ET) — Daimler AG is expanding in Alabama, and Rehau AG + Co. — one of its key suppliers — is investing $115 million to keep up with the growth.

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said his company is investing $2.4 billion and adding 1,400 new jobs at its Tuscaloosa plant.

In 2012 Mercedes made 180,000 vehicles in the United States, up 30 percent from 2011, Zetsche said in a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Meanwhile, Rehau broke ground today on an expansion to its plant in nearby Cullman, Ala.

Rehau, with North American headquarters in Leesburg, Va., had announced plans for the expansion in June, but provided more details at the Jan. 14 ceremony.

The company is making a total capital investment of $115 million, including tooling, to accommodate a new contract win from Mercedes-Benz to develop and produce bumper assemblies for the company’s C-Class and M-Class vehicle lines.

The company expects the contract to translate to about 200 new jobs in Cullman plant over the next year and a half.

In addition, Rehau will invest in its technical center in Cullman.

Initial production of the Rehau bumper assemblies is scheduled to begin mid-year. The new bumper assemblies will be included on 2015 Mercedes-Benz models.

The expansion project will include new injection molding equipment, fabrication devices and conversion of the existing paint line to a water-borne paint system.