October 25, 2011 at 4:46pm by Alexander Stoklosa
An image has surfaced on Twitter of a new Mercedes-Benz model to be built at the company’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant. The banner you see here appeared at an event celebrating the allocation of the new model to Tuscaloosa; the move includes a $350 million investment and the creation of 400 new jobs at the factory. The “vehicle” pictured is really the CLS-wearing-a-sheet sculpture the company showed off at the Detroit auto show in 2010, and it’s accompanied by text reading “Introducing the Newest Addition to our Family” and “Start of Production: 2015.”
Despite the CLS preview on the banner, we think it’s a safe bet that the new Benz will be an SUV with a coupe-like roofline. It would go up against the currently unchallenged BMW X6, which has proven popular in spite of—or, really, because of—its funky looks. Just as the X6 is a remixed X5, the Mercedes crossover likely will share its architecture with the mid-size ML-class. The Tuscaloosa factory currently produces the M-, GL-, and R-class, and will build U.S.-market C-class models by 2014.