Mercedes' mystery building revealed!Thu, 05 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Last year, Mercedes-Benz USA was working out a lease on a huge 1.1-million square-foot former aircraft factory across the street from the Long Beach Airport that used to build DC-10s, MD-80s and Boeing 717s. Mercedes wouldn't say what it planned to do with the massive space. Was Benz building airplanes? Hovercraft? Was this some kind of secret skunkworks staffed by Oompa Loompas building top-secret futuristic moon probes?
Turns out Mercedes will buff, polish and prep 70,000 cars a year before sending them off to dealers.
The former aircraft plant will serve as the carmaker's Vehicle Preparation Center, cleaning, inventorying and updating the software (if necessary) on all Mercedes cars and SUVs that get shipped anywhere in the West, from Alaska to Texas and Montana to Hawaii. That could mean up to 100,000 vehicles a year as the Mercedes model range expands. The vehicles will also clear customs in the new VPC. The previous building, in nearby Carson, Calif., was a mere 100,000 square feet.
The million square feet will also house MBUSA's Western Region Office and the Learning & Performance Center, where dealer training takes place.
The facility will be up and running in the first quarter of 2015.
By Mark Vaughn