U.S. state representative Mike Rogers thinks so, calling it “asinine” that people in Alabama can still do it legally.
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Alabama has taken on the toughest immigration laws in the country and has begun to crack down on illegal immigrants, immediately affecting the fifth largest automotive manufacturing state in the country. A second foreign auto worker was issued a citation at Honda‘s factory in Lincoln, Alabama on Wednesday.
The new immigration law requires proper identification to be shown during routine traffic stops. Those that police suspect of being in the country illegally can be immediately detained. Honda already issued out a statement that the person in question, a Japanese national, is working with authorities to resolve the matter.
This isn’t the first auto worker that has had to deal with the new Alabama immigration laws. Earlier last week, Detlev Hager, a German executive, was arrested when he didn’t have a passport or driver’s license with him. The charges were later dropped and Hager was let go.
Alabama’s touchy immigration laws resulted in the arrest of a Mercedes-Benz executive who remains unnamed at this time. The Associated Press revealed that the German executive was stopped when driving a rental car that did not have tags and was then arrested and brought to police headquarters when he failed to provide the Alabama police officer with anything other than a German ID.
Only later was the executive released when an associate came to provide the authorities with his passport, visa, and German driver’s license from the hotel the German exec stayed at.
Mercedes-Benz has quite a presence in the state of Alabama since it first began to build vehicles in Tuscaloosa in 1993. Currently, the Mercedes-Benz facility produces the ML and R-Class vehicles. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley was said to have contacted State Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier for details the moment he was aware of the incident. Mercedes-Benz spokesperson Felyicia Jerald said the incident was “unfortunate” but assured it was resolved.
It has been well over a decade when Mercedes-Benz first opened its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. What might have started out as just a production facility for the ML model has grown to accommodate production of the R-class, GLK-class and in 2014 will also produce the C-class for North American consumption.
But the news gets even better as Mercedes-Benz is now planning to add another model to its portfolio and it will also be built in the States. The vehicle is rumored to be the MLC, which will be Merc’s answer to the BMW X6.
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars said: “This new model from the Tuscaloosa plant is an important element of our growth strategy. It is one of the ten additional models which we will introduce within the next four years alone across all segments.”
This project will see this German brand investing $350-million and create an additional 400 new jobs, which is great news for the economy.
Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will invest more than $2 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant. The money will be put towards the new M-Class, the successor generations of the GL-Class, the C-Class and the expansion of production capacities.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said ”We’re continuing to write new chapters of the Tuscaloosa plant’s success story with significant investments into the future.” Zetsche explained that the Tuscaloosa plant continues to serve as the blueprint for the automakers’ facilities outside of Germany.
In addition to the $2 billion investment, Mercedes also took the opportunity to announce that the company would donate an additional $100,000 to Alabama tornado relief and recovery efforts adding to the $1.1 million total contribution.
Yesterday, Hyundai Motor Group said it is expecting to raise its U.S auto sales by 18.2 percent this year to 1.06 million vehicles, an improvement from a previous target of 1.01 million.
Hyundai would to sell 624,000 units and Kia with 433,000 in the U.S. Both South Korean automakers are experiencing fast growth in the U.S market with a combined share reaching 10.1 percent as of May from 7.7 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2001. The launch of the Hyundai Veloster and the Kia Rio subcompact in the U.S are to help maintain the sales momentum of both companies.
Chung Mong-Koo, charman of the Hyundai Motor Group, announced the sales increase while visiting the U.S, which may be linked to the possible construction of a second plant to meet booming demand in the world’s second- largest auto market.
Hyundai will invest $173 million to modify and expand its Alabama engine plant. The expansion also includes a new engine program for the Hyundai Elantra, with a target completion date of March, 2o12. Hyundai will also hire 214 new workers within the plant to build the new engines.
There have also been informal discussions regarding a new U.S plant with at least three states in the Southeast. Hyundai CFO Lee Won-hee stated with the improvement in the auto market, Hyundai could consider building a second U.S factory. Hyundai’s sales have improved by 31 percent so far in 2011.
Hyundai is set to build the new Elantra at their Alabama factory, as it joins the Sonata and Santa Fe at the plant. The new Elantra is already on sale in South Korea, but is set to debut in U.S. spec at this November’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
In a press release, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik said “Hyundai‘s philosophy is to build our vehicles where we sell them, and with the addition of the Elantra to our U.S. production mix we now manufacture our three most popular models right here in the U.S.”
The move to produce the Elantra in the United States allows Hyundai to price the car even more aggressively as it aims to capture an ever larger market share in the United States.