The foundation stone for a new Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle plant in Kecskemét, Hungary was laid in an official ceremony held earlier today.
In the presence of Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, Rainer Schmückle, Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and the project head for the new plant Michael Frieß, this marked the start of construction work on the additional location. Compact vehicles from the follow-up generation to the current A- and B-Class will be produced in Kecskemét from 2012. The plant will produce the vehicles in conjunction with the German location in Rastatt, Daimler AG’s centre of excellence for compact vehicles.
Some €800 million is being invested in the new factory in Hungary, while the Rastatt plant is also being extended with an investment in the triple-digit millions. In future, Mercedes-Benz will be represented by four models in the compact vehicle segment rather than the current two, which has given rise to an additional capacity requirement that cannot be covered only by the main plant in Rastatt.
“Our new location in Hungary will significantly boost our competitiveness in this price-sensitive compact premium vehicle segment, and will also contribute to tapping new markets,” said Rainer Schmückle, Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Kecskemét offers the best prospects from a commercial
standpoint and meets the high qualitative and quantitative criteria for a successful Mercedes-Benz production site. At the same time, Rastatt will remain a central proven component of our production network,” added Schmückle.
Preparatory construction measures (land levelling) began at the site of the future location in Hungary on 1 July 2009. Today’s ground-breaking ceremony marks the start of construction for the paint shop of the new factory, which is the first to be built. From the start of next year, construction of the body shop and the assembly shops will follow.
Concomitantly with the start of construction work, Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft. began recruiting and training a core team of employees at the location. The first positions to be filled were in the areas of Administration, Human Resources and Controlling.
The first technical specialists for the future plant have already been hired and have started their corresponding qualification programme. In the long term, a total of 2,500 jobs will be created at the new plant in Kecskemét.
Mercedes-Benz is already a successful premium manufacturer of compact vehicles with the A-Class and B-Class. In the follow-up generation, it will broaden its range from two to four models in order to gain new customer groups and expand into new markets. The future models will also offer product aspects which are already popular with customers of the A-Class and B-Class, such as overall spaciousness, while additional variants and designs will set new trends.
On 21 July 2008, Daimler AG signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives of the Hungarian government and the city administration for the investment project. The final contract signing with the government was on 27 October 2008.
Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Kft. signed the contract for the acquisition of the land for the future plant site – which is around 440 ha in size – on 13 February 2009. Kecskemét is situated some 90 kilometres south-east of Budapest und has approximately 110,000 inhabitants.
Source: Daimler AG