The Mercedes-Benz plant in Ludwigsfelde has every reason to celebrate: Today, following 45 years of production, the one millionth commercial vehicle rolled off its assembly line. The milestone vehicle is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
More than 2,000 employees, political officials, and businesspeople took part in the ceremony at the plant and witnessed the official handover of the milestone vehicle to the Berlin Landesverkehrswacht traffic safety organization. And there’s something extra special about this milestone: That’s because the one millionth commercial vehicle from Ludwigsfelde is equipped with the one millionth engine produced at the nearby Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin.
“Our plant has had a very eventful history and things have not always been easy,” said Michael Humpert, Plant Manager and Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Ludwigsfeld GmbH. “That’s why we are particularly happy that we can jointly celebrate this production milestone today. I would therefore like to thank our employees for their dedication.”
A brief film clip was shown during the ceremony enabling the guests to relive the plant’s 45-year history. In his address, Mayor Frank Gerhard of Ludwigsfelde congratulated the plant and highlighted the facility’s great importance for the region. Further speakers were Dr. Heinrich Weiss, Head of Production at Mercedes-Benz Vans and a former manager of the plant, and Lothar Heinzmann, a former director of the IFA combine. Seven vehicles were exhibited during the celebration as representatives of all the various model series that have been produced in Ludwigsfelde to date.
Milestone vehicle to be used for a good cause
Then Plant Manager Michael Humpert and Thomas Uhr, Plant Manager of Mercedes-Benz Engines Berlin, presented the one millionth commercial vehicle to Hans Zucker, President of the Berlin Landesverkehrswacht organization. The Sprinter will support the latter by doing its work at schools and events. For more than 60 years now, the volunteers at Berlin Landesverkehrswacht have been helping all road users to become more safety conscious. One of the organization’s main tasks is to educate children concerning road traffic.
Ludwigsfelde plant has eventful history
Ludwigsfelde has a long industrial tradition. Back in 1936, Daimler-Benz built an aircraft engine plant in the city’s Genshagen district. After the plant was destroyed in World War II, the remaining machines were disassembled. A publicly owned industrial facility was established at the site in the 1950s, and construction of an automotive plant commenced in 1965. At this time, the facility also started series production of two IFA commercial vehicle models: the W 50 and L 60.
Around 600,000 of these trucks were produced before German reunification. The first Mercedes-Benz van (an LN2 model) rolled of the line in Ludwigsfelde in early 1991. Daimler-Benz AG took full possession of the plant in 1994. Series production of the Mercedes-Benz Vario commenced in July 1996, and the van is still being produced in Ludwigsfelde. The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz Vaneo in spring 2002 strengthened the plant’s position as one of the biggest employers in the Brandenburg region. The compact van was manufactured at the site until 2005.
Since 2006, the Ludwigsfelde facility has been producing the current Mercedes-Benz Sprinter model – as does its sister plant in Düsseldorf. A completely new manufacturing line containing state-of-the-art automated production equipment was constructed for the model at the Ludwigsfelde plant. Altogether, more than €300 million has been invested in machinery and buildings for the project at the plant.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Ludwigsfelde has more than 2,240 employees, of whom 174 are trainees.
Source: Daimler AG