Mercedes Cuts Hours, Production In Alabama

Automaker plans to eliminate Friday shifts and cut back to four-day work weeks as it reduces production at its Alabama assembly plant, according to published reports.

VANCE, Ala. (AP) -- Mercedes-Benz plans to eliminate Friday shifts and cut back to four-day work weeks as it reduces production at its Alabama assembly plant, according to published reports Thursday.

The Tuscaloosa News and The Birmingham News said employees were told the Friday shifts would be eliminated due to sluggish sales, but workers could take vacation days to maintain their regular pay and benefits.

Parent company Daimler AG declined comment on the reductions other than to say that workers had been informed of "downward production adjustments."

Daimler said it would not release details because it did not want to divulge production strategies.

In late July, Mercedes announced it was cutting production at the plant, located in Tuscaloosa County west of Birmingham. The cutbacks prompted some Mercedes suppliers to reduce their operations.

Denny Tester, manager for TW Fittings-NA, which employs 66 people and provides tire and wheel assemblies to Mercedes, said his plant would have to adjust to any schedule changes made by Mercedes, which brings parts into the factory as needed rather than warehousing them.

"As they go to a four-day week, we will parallel," he said.

Other state automakers also have announced production cuts.

The Honda plant in Lincoln said it would reduce production of its Pilot SUVs and Odyssey minivans by 10,000 vehicles this year. A Toyota engine factory in Huntsville plans to suspend production of V-8 engines from August to November in response to plans by the Japanese automaker to reduce production of pickup trucks and SUVs.

More in Operations