Last Original M-Class Headed to Museum
By Alabama Public Radio
Vance, AL – The last first-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class has rolled off the assembly line in Vance. The last luxury sport utility vehicle will stay in the company's museum at the Vance plant along with the first M-Class that was produced in 1997. More than 572,000 vehicles have been produced at the plant. The next-to-last M-Class will be shipped to a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Florida. Many automotive experts were skeptical when Mercedes announced in 1993 that it was building a plant in Alabamna. The state then had no auto industry history. But the plant has exceeded expectations, building more than 88,000 vehicles in 2002. Original projections for the M-Class were set at 65,000 a year. Production trials are currently underway on the redesigned M-Class. It will be almost six inches longer and about three inches wider. The 2006 M-Class will begin rolling down the assembly line later this month and will make its first official public appearance at the Detroit auto show in January.