Mercedes-Benz U.S. International is the factory where the second generation M-Class and the newest members of the Mercedes-Benz line, the R-Class and GL-Class, are manufactured. With body, paint and assembly shops housed under one roof, the MBUSI plant employs a just-in-time manufacturing method to avoid the inefficiency of stockpiling inventory. The MBUSI factory encompasses approximately 1,000 acres and more than 3 million square feet. It employs 4,000 people and has a total annual production volume of approximately 160,000 units. Since first production initiated in 1997, more than 570,000 M-Class vehicles have been produced at MBUSI and sold in more than 130 countries, making it the largest exporter in Alabama. The original M-Class won more than 60 awards, including the 1998 North American Truck of the Year and the 1998 Motor Trend Truck of the Year.