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Made in Alabama

It’s funny, because some of the most natural fits or matches in life at times go in the complete opposite direction. Ever see the gal on the street attractive, witty, intelligent, holding hands with a complete bump on a log? Or just the opposite, a homely woman walking side-by-side someone who looks and carries himself like Tom Brady? Who knows what’s behind all that, but opposites do attract, and the car world, ladies and gentlemen, is no different.

Earlier this month Mercedes-Benz announced plans to build an ultra-deluxe Maybach GLS model in the U.S. Ok, not earth-shattering news, it’s a luxury model and Mercedes wants very capable hands. But the location within the U.S. caught more than a few off-guard. Drumroll please … Alabama. Sweet home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd must be overjoyed, and so is the Vance, Alabamafactory, a sprawling 6 million square-foot mega-structure with the production capacity of 300,000 + vehicles per year and now the new home to the Maybach GLS, the GLE and GLE Coupe.

Slated to be the most expensive passenger vehicle made in the U.S., the GLS will start out at $200,000. But that’s just the base model folks, bells and whistles will run you extra of course. Powered by a 500 + hp V8, insiders refer to this model as a “halo car.” A Google search will explain that quickly. Mercedes is hoping the Maybach brand will spread over different models, in many ways like their AMG performance brand. As an ultra-luxury SUV, the GLS will be going up against Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini. Everyone has a SUV these days, so why not another $200,000 + option!

Mercedes broke into manufacturing in the U.S. in 1997, building out the truck-based M-class SUV. The Vance plant is a far cry from those 1997 days, gearing up now for an astounding $1 billion upgrade as Mercedes preps every plant worldwide for the electric vehicle manufacturing shift. While Mercedes will push the GLS in the U.S. market, the Germans have their eyes firmly planted on China. Its loungelike rear cabin lends itself to a public that prefers to be driven, rather than driving. Imagine this model once autonomous driving kicks in.

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