Mercedes-Benz began gradually closing down operations at its Tuscaloosa County auto plant Monday in response to the expanding COVID-19 threat.
“Due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in North America, Mercedes-Benz has decided today to halt the majority of its local production as well as work in selected administrative departments,”the company said in a statement to Alabama NewsCenter. “By taking this action, the company is following the recommendations of international, national and local authorities.”
Mercedes said the production halt also applies to Mercedes-Benz Vans LLC, in Charleston, South Carolina. The shutdown is initially slated to last two weeks. Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Alabama produces the GLS and GLE SUVs.
“The employees’ health and safety has top priority at Mercedes-Benz,” the company statement said. “Therefore, the halt of production and administration is a measure to ensure this and to further contain the spread of the pandemic. Wherever essential work is necessary, the company will continue operations in coordination with the respective authorities. All appropriate precautions to prevent the infection of its employees will be taken.”
The move by Mercedes follows similar ones at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Hyundai had a worker at its Montgomery plant test positive for COVID-19.
“The management is monitoring the situation constantly and will take further measures as required,” Mercedes said. “Operations will be resumed when the situation improves.”