Mercedes-Benz SA’s East London plant has, for the fourth year, been honoured with a top award by JD Power and Associates. The 2012 Initial Quality Survey conducted by JD Power and Associates in the US saw vehicle owners rate their perceived quality of their cars and Merc’s East London plant, which produces C-Class sedans for the local and US markets, was acknowledged with a silver award. The plant, the only African manufacturer recognised, was tied for silver with its sister plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, where the CL- and S-Class models are produced. BETTER THAN 2011The 26th JD Power and Associates IQS polled 74 000 buyers of new 2012 model vehicles in the United States after 90 days of ownership, based on a 228-question survey to assess average levels of defects and malfunctions. The East London plant scored only 28 problems per 100 vehicles (28PP100), an improvement on 2011’s 31PP100 that secured the facility a gold award. Vice-president for manufacturing at MBSA, Arno van der Merwe, said of the fourth consecutive award: “The consistency of our ranking amongst the top manufacturing plants in the world is testament to the calibre of our employees, their positive mindset and our culture of continuous improvement, which sets our brand apart as a leader in the luxury market.”The East London plant is one of four sites where the C-Class is produced and is currently gearing up for the introduction of the next-generation in 2014. MBSA will, the automaker said, inject more than R2.5-billion into the local and national economy as it prepares for the new model.