If you follow Formula 1 Racing, then you know that Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti are seriously battling each other for the championship. Mercedes is currently 1-2 in the championship hunt, with Infiniti powered Red Bull Racing third and fifth. It will be a battle to the finish! So it may come as a surprise that on June 26, Infiniti began assembly at the Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant, a collaboration between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG, parent company for Mercedes-Benz. This is the first Infiniti powertrain plant in the United States, and the first engine to be assembled at the all-new facility is a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder developed by Daimler. The engines will initially be used in European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The all-new 315,000 square foot facility represents a $319 million investment and will support an estimated 400 new jobs once full capacity of 250,000 engines annually is achieved.
Presiding over the Plant’s opening celebration were Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Infiniti Motor Company President Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti Americas Vice President Michael Bartsch, Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Operations and Battery Plant Vice President Gary Edwards and Erhard Schletterer, Director Engine Production Mercedes-Benz. De Nysschen is no stranger to the top levels of the automotive industry, having led Audi of America’s stunning transition from also ran to true German competitor before taking his expertise to Infiniti. “The opening of this new facility is the beginning of our manufacturing expansion. Infiniti needs additional capacity to fuel the expected growth which will be driven by our expanding portfolio,” said de Nysschen. “At the same time, this plant is an excellent demonstration of the strong collaboration we have with Daimler AG. It will leverage the technologies, expertise and highest level of manufacturing standards from both companies, which, in turn, benefit from the synergy and economies of scale of this joint effort.”
Construction of the ground-up $319 million, 310,000-square foot facility began in May 2012. It incorporates a number of energy efficient design features, such as a heat-reflecting white roof and natural daytime lighting through use of a skylight grid.