Ola Kaellenius, the Swede appointed to run Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. manufacturing operations last summer, has been named managing director of Mercedes-Benz AMG GmbH, the automaker’s performance-vehicle unit in Germany.
Kaellenius, 40, will take the position April 1, just nine months after taking over Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. in Vance, Ala.
No successor has been named to head the Alabama company. Bill Taylor, who preceded Kaellenius, was Vance’s CEO from January 1999 until his retirement June 30, 2009.
Kaellenius’ replacement will be Vance’s third top manager since last summer. The operation is Mercedes’ global export source for M-, R- and G-class models.
In December, Mercedes said it would expand Vance to produce about one-fifth of the world’s C-class sedans starting in 2014, in a bid to make the plant less reliant on SUVs and crossovers.
The decision to share C-class production with the U.S. plant triggered labor protests by Mercedes’ German union last year.
Vance was the first Mercedes-Benz plant outside Germany when it opened in 1997. The Alabama plant’s production methods and human resources practices have been embraced at other Mercedes operations around the world.
Kaellenius took over Vance’s management after heading the automaker’s U.K.-based Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines Ltd. He also worked at the sports-car producer McLaren Automotive.
AMG, the Mercedes performance brand, operates out of a small plant in Affalterbach, Germany. Individual workers there hand-build engines under a motto of “one man -- one engine” and make other vehicle performance enhancements working in small teams to turn out models such as the 6.3-liter, V-8-equipped E63 AMG wagon.
Kaellenius replaces Volker Mornhinweg at AMG. Mornhinweg has been appointed to run the Mercedes-Benz Vans division -- replacing Wolfgang Bernhard, who was named a member of the Daimler AG board of management in February.