Mercedes-Benz reportedly hopes to use more local auto parts makers for its Alabama factory.
The German automaker recently met with suppliers to its U.S. plant and indicated that the company "sees value" in adding suppliers with locations in Alabama, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The report followed pointed criticism of Germany's trade practices — particularly in the auto industry — by President Trump. Trump vowed to address the trade deficit between the two nations, but economists largely downplayed its significance.
Any interruption in trade between the U.S. and Germany, meanwhile, could impact hundreds of thousands of auto workers employed by German car companies in the southern U.S.
Mercedes' Tuscaloosa, Ala., plant, for example, makes the C-Class sedan and GLE and GLS SUVs for the North American market and is in the midst of a $1.3 billion upgrade.
The Journal also noted that the Mercedes-Benz vehicles made in Tuscaloosa contain a relatively high percentage of North American-made parts — exceeding some vehicles made by Detroit automakers General Motors and Ford.