Phil Johnston is Vice President of Engineering for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI), the sole location for the production of the M-Class, R-Class and GL-Class SUVs. He joined the Alabama automaker in February 2001, and has more than three decades of diverse experience in the automotive industry.
Mr. Johnston initially joined MBUSI as Project Leader for the plant’s $600-million expansion announced in 2000. During this time, Mr. Johnston oversaw planning for the launch of the successor to the original M-Class, and the all new R-Class and GL-Class SUVs, before transitioning to the position of Vice President of Operations – Plant 2 during the ramp-up. The expansion -- completed in 2004 -- doubled the size of the original plant, and dramatically increased annual production capacity. MBUSI currently has approximately 3,000 Team Members (MBUSI employees). In 2009 he returned to his current position as VP of Engineering to lead the 3rd generation ML and 2nd generation GL, C Class, and C292 projects.
Mr. Johnston began his career at General Motors of Canada Ltd. in St. Catharines, Ontario components plant, where he held positions ranging from Mechanical Engineer to Maintenance Superintendent.
Mr. Johnston also worked for Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Canada in various production/engineering capacities, including Assistant General Manager – Assembly/Paint. Prior to coming to MBUSI, Mr. Johnston was employed at General Motors Corporation in Ingersol, Ontario as Vice President/Production of their CAMI joint venture with Suzuki, and also as the Vice President/ Manufacturing for General Motors Thailand – a Start-up Project. His final assignment before joining MBUSI, was at General Motors in Warren, Michigan as Director of Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development for North American Vehicle Operations, responsible for moving new Research and Development technologies into global vehicle programs.
He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. He is also a graduate of Duke University’s Executive Management Program.