Ah, sweet home, Alabama!
Even though Hyundai is getting most of the ink in Alabama because it plans to start serial production at its new factory on Friday, the state's original automaker has been busy.
Mercedes-Benz is making its factory in Vance, Ala., a serious global source for its lineup of modern SUVs, crossovers and sport wagons.
The factory already is home to the second-generation 2006 M Class and is being fitted for serial production of long- and short-wheelbase versions of the R Class, which is derived from the M Class platform and was shown at the Detroit auto show in January.
Now, Mercedes plans to add a fourth model based on the M Class platform, beginning next year, according to Automobilwoche, our sister publication in Germany. The new vehicle will have three rows of seats, be called the GL Class and replace the G Class, or Gelaendewagen, which is 26 years old and sold 6,400 units worldwide last year.
But for those German traditionalists and military buyers who like the bulky, authoritative presence of the Gelaendewagen, Mercedes will continue to have it built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, at least for a while.
I wonder how Alabama let that one get away.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at