The ramp-up for the new A-Class has reached Finland: it began in April at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt, Germany and was followed by the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét, Hungary in May. The production partner Valmet Automotive has started production of the new A-Class in its plant in Uusikaupunki, the third location in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, where the new A-Class is produced.
”With the ramp-up of the new A-Class in Uusikaupunki, Finland, we are successfully continuing our unrivalled ramp-up cascade. After the lead plant in Rastatt and the Hungarian plant in Kecskemét, our production partner Valmet Automotive has started production of the new A-Class. Within a very short time, our production strategy has enabled us to master the third successful ramp-up of the new A-Class,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
Mercedes-Benz is continuing its cooperation with Valmet Automotive with production of the new A-Class in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The previous generation of the A-Class has already been rolled off the assembly line there since 2013. In Uusikaupunki the A-Class is flexibly produced on the same line together with the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Extensive conversion work was carried out at the Uusikaupunki plant for the ramp-up of the new A-Class in the body shop as well as in the paint shop and the assembly areas.
“We have focused on preparations to secure a fast launch and a high volume production run. We have also benefited from our experiences with the previous A-Class generation and the GLC,” says Pasi Rannus, Senior Vice President Manufacturing, Valmet Automotive.
The new A-Class is the first model in the fourth generation of compact cars, and replaces the preceding model produced since 2012. The family of compact cars currently comprises five models: A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, and GLA. An all-new sixth compact model was also recently presented at the trade fair in Beijing: The new long wheelbase A-Class saloon is specially designed to meet the needs of Chinese customers. The new compact car family is to be expanded to a total of eight models.
For the start of production of the A-Class, apprentices from the Rastatt plant produced a steering wheel model using modern additive production processes (3D printing). The steering wheel has a screen on which employees can upload messages for the next plant in the ramp-up cascade. The model is passed on from plant to plant like a baton. The Uusikaupunki team was delighted about the greetings from the colleagues in Kecskemét, and likewise prepared a message for the next plant in the start-up cascade. Before the end of this year, a new compact car model will start production in the joint venture COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) plant in central Mexico.
Global production of the new Mercedes-Benz compact cars
The current compact car models are produced in a global production network. Rastatt in Germany is the lead plant for compact cars in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The Rastatt plant controls the production as well as quality and supplier management on a global basis. It also supports smooth ramp-ups at the other plants by training their employees, for example. Alongside the Finnish production partner Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, the Hungarian Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét and Beijing-Benz Automotive Co. Ltd (BBAC) in China are part of the global compact car production network. In the near future, the joint venture production plant COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) in central Mexico will expand the compact car production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars to five locations on three continents.
In the future the Hambach plant in France will also produce a compact Mercedes-Benz electric car under the new product and technology brand EQ, expending the compact car production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars to six sites on three continents. Alongside the lead plant in Rastatt and BBAC in Peking, Hambach is the third location in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars where compact electric cars under the product and technology brand EQ will leave the production line in the future.
Source: Daimler AG