Tornadoes halted production at Toyota and Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 28, 2011

Toyota and Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama have halted operations due to the extreme weather across Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. So far, emergency workers have yet to finish its assessment of the extent of the damage in the region. Last Wednesday, parts of Tuscaloosa, Ala., were severely damaged when a mile-wide tornado came down on the area.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International’s auto-assembly plant located slightly north of the city had been damaged. This plant rolls out the GL, M, and R class vehicles. The tornado took down a number of auto parts manufacturers and other businesses on its 300-mile path. In fact, there were damages reported as far as Virginia.

A Mercedes plant spokeswoman told the Tuscaloosa News that Mercedes had stopped operations because suppliers had failed to deliver parts as a result of the storms. In several areas, highway exit ramps were damaged and closed. The Mercedes plan may be shut down only until Friday. The tornado also wreaked havoc at the utility lines as far north as Huntsville, Ala., where Toyota operates a key U.S. engine plant.

Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said that when the power was stopped, the engine plant also had to suspend operations on Wednesday night. It’s possible that there would be no power for the rest of the weekend.

The plant supplies the V-6 and V-8 engines to the Tundra and Tacoma pickups and the Sequoia SUV. Goss pointed out that cell phone towers in the area were damaged, and also that some businesses were struggling to fix communications. The violent storms in the five states had killed over 200 people.

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