May 4, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Mercedes' Alabama Operations, Daimler AG Donate $1 million For Tornado Relief

Published: May 03, 2011
The Alabama operations of Mercedes-Benz, along with its parent company, Daimler AG, plan to donate $1 million for relief efforts in the state following Wednesday's deadly tornado outbreak.

The German automaker is splitting the donation among several organizations, including $800,000 for the Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund, $75,000 for The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham, $75,000 for the Birmingham area chapter of the American Red Cross and $50,000 for the United Way of Central Alabama.

"Our deepest sympathy is with the casualties and their families," Wilfried Porth, a member of Daimler's board of management, said in a prepared statement. "With our donation, we hope to support the emergency and reconstruction projects and to help the Alabama community begin on this path to recovery."

The Mercedes factory in Vance is just outside Tuscaloosa, where a tornado killed dozens Wednesday afternoon.

The factory itself was damaged early Wednesday morning in a separate line of severe weather that included a tornado. The damage was minor, according to plant officials, and no one was injured.

Markus Schaefer, head of the Vance plant, said everyone is still shocked by the magnitude of the destruction in Tuscaloosa and across the state.

"This is a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the disaster," he said in a prepared statement. "The priority for anyone who can help is now to reach out to them."

Mercedes shut down the Vance plant Wednesday morning, and it was idled for the remainder of the week. Production started back on Monday.

Other Daimler-affiliated businesses also have provided vehicles for the cleanup efforts.

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