Mercedes-Benz will add about 300 jobs at its Alabama assembly plant by the end of this year as the luxury automaker gears up to build electric utility vehicles.
The factory, in the town of Vance, employs 4,400 and is a production hub for the Mercedes GLS and GLE utility vehicles. Starting next year, it will produce battery-powered versions of the two popular vehicles.
Electric vehicle production will be integrated into the Alabama factory's existing body shop, paint shop and assembly lines. A new battery assembly plant is located on 270 acres nearby.
Mercedes is hiring for the assembly, body and paint shops, as well as the battery plant, where workers will assemble high-voltage EV battery systems.
The new jobs will pay a starting wage of $20 per hour, which will increase to more than $25 per hour over four years.
U.S. production of the electric EQS SUV is expected to begin in June, while assembly of the EQE crossover will start next October, according to AutoForecast Solutions. Mercedes could build about 40,000 of each electric model in the first full year of U.S. production.
The GLS, Mercedes' largest utility model in the U.S., is a profit-generator for the brand. The GLE was the bestselling Mercedes model in the first nine months of the year.