Following last year’s production record, Mercedes-Benz is again heading toward a new all-time high. The brand expects to produce more than 1.25 million units in 2011 – representing another record result in the company’s 125-year history.
“Mercedes-Benz is going on the attack,” says Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Daimler Board of Management, Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We are securing our path to the top by extensively investing in the expansion of our high-performance production network.”
Mercedes-Benz’ production plants continue to operate at near full capacity, thanks to an ongoing positive sales trend. It is already evident that the brand will reach its target of selling more vehicles in 2011 than ever before. The high production output was also made possible through the introduction of additional shifts, which were agreed with the works council. In addition, the plants continued to operate worldwide throughout the summer months so that all customer requirements could be met, and production lines will be shut down as briefly as possible during the holidays at the turn of the year.
Expansion of the international production network
One of the key elements of the Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy is the targeted expansion of the brand’s international production network. At the same time, by investing substantial amounts in its German plants, Daimler is underscoring that Germany will remain the core of the production network.
To enable the company to fully utilize the enormous growth potential of the Chinese market, it will further expand cooperation with its partner, Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC). About 2 billion euros will be invested into the joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC). In this context, production capacity for the C-Class and the long-wheelbase version of the E-Class will be expanded in line with market developments. The GLK compact SUV was recently added to the local production portfolio for the Chinese market. Beginning in 2013, three models of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz premium compact cars will further be added step by step. Also in 2013, a new engine plant will begin to produce four-cylinder gasoline engines. In addition, a new R&D center will be established at BBAC.
Between 2010 and 2014, Daimler will also invest a total of 2.4 billion US dollars in its U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa / Alabama. The plant has been the traditional production site of the brand’s M-, GL-, and R-Class SUVs and will also build the C-Class for the North American market beginning 2014. As of 2015, an entirely new Mercedes-Benz model will roll off the production line as its fifth product.
For the production of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz premium compact cars, Daimler invested 600 million euros in the Rastatt, Germany, plant and 800 million euros in a new plant in Kecskemét, Hungary. The Rastatt plant started production of the new B-Class in September 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the Kecskemét plant will also start operations in a production network with Rastatt.
Due to the many production launches and the medium-term production targets, Mercedes-Benz is also investing more than 1.5 billion euros in 2011 and 2012 in order to modernize and expand the manufacturing of engines, axles, and transmissions at its main powertrain plant in Untertürkheim, Germany.
And the Mercedes-Benz plants continue to turn out top-quality products: For example, the facilities in Bremen, Germany, and East London, South Africa, received this year’s J.D. Power Gold Plant Quality Award for being the best production plants in Europe and Africa respectively.
Source: Daimler AG