Merc SA lands C-Class build deal
NEW BUSINESS: The Mercedes export dock on the Buffalo River mouth in East London is going to be bustling come 2014.
East London's Mercedes plant has been awarded a contract to build the next-generation C-Class and a cash injection of R2-billion is on the way to smooth things along.
The plant announced back in September that it was bidding for the contract and the decision was announced today. The new model will reach world markets in 2014.
Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG’s management board member responsible for manufacturing, told Wheels24: “Daimler AG is delighted to include South Africa among the four manufacturing locations around the world that will build the next C-Class.
“The Mercedes-Benz plant in East London has been recognised repeatedly for its excellent production quality by JD Power and is one of the best plants in the industry. This success is not least due to the great efforts of the plant’s team and its stringent application of the Mercedes-Benz production system.
“The additional investment follows numerous significant investments by Daimler AG that total more than R5-billion in South Africa over the past 10 years.”
The three other plants are in Germany, China and the USA.
MBSA’s future export programme will include left and right-hand drive C-Class units for export to markets in Africa and the Asia Pacific region. East London has built left-hookers since 1998 and exported to right-hand drive markets since 2000.
Hansgeorg Niefer, CEO of MBSA, said: “Just recently we exported the 100 000th C-Class from East London. In the first quarter of 2011 we should reach a half-million since 1994.”
40% LOCAL CONTENT
This R2-billion will in part be for skills development and training locally and in Germany; money will also be spent on new plant and equipment and the introduction of some of the latest manufacturing technology.
Niefer added: “MBSA will localise more than 40% of components for this new vehicle. We expect to see more investors and new suppliers, all with the latest technologies, coming to the country.
Line changes for the next C-Class will take place in parallel with continued production of the current C-Class - right up to run-out. The next-generation C-Class ramp-up will then begin in 2014.