The ramp-up cascade of the new A-Class has reached its next step in Beijing: With the start of production of the long wheelbase version at Beijing-Benz Automotive Co. Ltd (BBAC) in China Mercedes‑Benz Cars continues its worldwide production of the new A‑Class. With Beijing as its fifth location, the global ramp-up cascade of the new compact car family successfully reached its finish line. Around 400 guests joined BBAC to celebrate its latest addition to the “Made in China, for China” portfolio, which now includes five local models. Furthermore, the joint venture reached the production milestone of 2,000,000 locally produced Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
“Since our first locally produced Mercedes-Benz rolled off the production line over a decade ago, our business has shown rapid development here in China. In 2016, we celebrated the one-millionth vehicle locally produced at BBAC. Just two years later, we reached the milestone of two million ‘Made in China, for China’ cars that clearly shows the impressive growth of our business, thanks to the support of our local customers. This is also a mark of our long-standing, close cooperation with BAIC Group and our joint efforts in the Chinese automotive industry”, says Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China.
The new A-Class is the first model in the fourth generation of compact cars and replaces the preceding model produced since 2012. The A-Class L Sedan is specially designed to meet the needs of Chinese customers. The notchback model features a 6 cm longer wheelbase (2789 instead of 2729 mm) and is a variant developed solely for the Chinese market and produced exclusively at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd, a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC. After the lead plant in Rastatt, the Hungarian plant in Kecskemét, the Finnish plant of our production partner Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki and the joint venture production plant COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) in Aguascalientes (Mexico), Beijing has started the production of the new A-Class L Sedan. As the A-Class (hatchback) is produced in Rastatt, Kecskemét and Uusikaupunki, the A-Class Sedan rolls off the line in Aguascalientes.
“With the ramp-up of the new A-Class L Sedan at BBAC in Beijing we are successfully continuing and finishing our unrivalled ramp-up cascade for the new compact cars this year. Within seven months, our production strategy has enabled us to bring three new A-Class models to five plants on three continents”, says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
For the start of production of the A-Class, apprentices from the Rastatt plant produced a steering wheel model using modern additive production processes such as 3D printing. The steering wheel has a screen to 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 team in Beijing was delighted about the on-screen greetings from their colleagues in Aguascalientes.
New A-Class L Sedan rolls off the assembly line in Beijing
The ramp-up of the long wheelbase version of the new A-Class sets a new milestone at BBAC. It is the first Sedan in the compact car segment ever to roll off the line in Beijing. Together with the GLA, the new A-Class is the second model in the compact-class family produced in China.
“BBAC has undergone extensive development and expansion in recent years, thanks to the great effort of our team. As an integral part of our global network, BBAC is now one of the most advanced production bases which incorporates both intelligent and green manufacturing up to Mercedes-Benz global standards”, says Arno Van der Merwe, President and CEO of BBAC.
“As an excellent example of Sino-German cooperation, BBAC has enjoyed a period of high-quality development. In just 13 years, we have made BBAC into the world’s largest production facility for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, both in terms of land size and production volume. I believe that with the close cooperation between BAIC Group and Daimler, in addition to the combined efforts of its entire staff, BBAC is certain to rise to even greater heights and will be able to write a new chapter for growth in the upcoming era”, says Xu Heyi, Chairman of BAIC Group and its subsidiary BAIC Motor.
In 2017, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recognized BBAC as a “Green Plant” for its achievements in emission control during manufacturing processes and its results in waste and water resource management. In addition, Beijing Benz received the “ROI Industry 4.0 Award China” in the “Smart Factory” category earlier this year.