Mercedes-Benz East London Plant Produces One Millionth Passenger Car
- Mercedes-Benz East London plant is one of four global production sites of the C-Class.
- Since 1958, 24 different Mercedes-Benz passenger car models have been produced at the production site, including four generations of C-Class vehicles.
- Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management: “South Africa is an important location in our global C-Class production network. One million passenger cars made at the Mercedes-Benz East London plant illustrate the remarkable development this location has seen over the years.”
Stuttgart / East London, South Africa – In South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, the one millionth passenger car has rolled of the assembly line in the Mercedes-Benz East London plant – a white C-Class Sedan in right-hand drive. The new C‑Class is being produced in East London since May 2014. It is already the fourth generation of the highest-volume Mercedes-Benz model rolling of the assembly line at this production site. The plant is part of the global production network for the C-Class, which includes the lead plant in Bremen, Germany as well as the production site in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the USA and the Chinese production site at BBAC in Beijing.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management: “South Africa is an important location in our global C-Class production network. One million passenger cars made at the Mercedes‑Benz East London plant illustrate the remarkable development this location has seen over the years.” Schäfer also praised the plant’s team members for their performance and their continuous focus on efficiency, flexibility, and top-notch quality: “With their knowledge and their dedication, the entire team of the East London plant is making an important contribution to the global success of our highest-volume model series.”The Mercedes-Benz East London plant has been recognised six times by J.D. Power for manufacturing excellence, one of those six years with a Platinum Award for manufacturing quality.
Arno van der Merwe, Mercedes-Benz South Africa CEO and Executive Director Manufacturing: “The Mercedes‑Benz East London plant’s development has always seen enormous progress in terms of production technology, and especially the C-Class has provided important momentum in its earlier generations already. And with the start of the new C-Class in 2014, numerous cutting-edge technologies have once again been implemented in our plant for the first time.” With regard to the training and qualification programmes on site as well as at the C-Class Centre of Competence at the Mercedes‑Benz Bremen plant, Germany, van der Merwe explained: “In parallel, we have significantly invested into the qualification of our staff – especially for the new technologies – and thus optimally prepared the team for the start of production in May 2014 with more than 1,400 training interventions in preparation.”
The production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars at the East London plant began in 1958, when after ten years of existence Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) received for the first time an order of the former Daimler-Benz AG and became contract manufacturer for the model series W121. In the year 1984, Daimler-Benz AG took over 50.1 percent of the company’s shares. Since 1998, Mercedes-Benz South Africa is a wholly‑owned subsidiary of Daimler. By today, 24 different Mercedes-Benz passenger car models have rolled of the assembly line at this production site and with the C-Class, the fourth generation of the highest volume model series of the brand with the star is produced here as well. Last year, the Mercedes‑Benz East London plant produced more than 45,000 vehicles since the production launch of the new C‑Class in May. At the end of 2014, more than 3,000 people were employed, at the plant specifically.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at 26 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network involving more than 70,000 employees. This includes the central functions of planning, TecFab, logistics and quality management. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 1,754,000 Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the fourth record in a row.
The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production network (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production networks is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance.
The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.