Mercedes-Benz East London factory has trumped manufacturing rivals to be named the best South African production plant in the 2013 Ipsos Quality Awards. What’s more, it’s C-Class models were highly rated by owners.Global market research organisation Ipsos has released its 2013 - and ninth - product quality awards and the trophy for best local factory goes to… Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s East London factory.The plant produces the C-Class for local and US markets, and has already proven its dominance in the USA in 2013 as it earned its fifth consecutive victory in the JD Power and Associates Awards.'RUNNING A TIGHT SHIP'Ipsos (previously under the Synovate banner) is a global market research company, ranked third in global survey-based research companies. Its awards, considered a benchmark in the automotive industry, measures the perceptions of owners of more than 10 000 passenger and light commercial vehicles.MBSA vice-president of manufacturing, Arno van der Merwe, said: “These scores reflect a global trend towards improved quality, which makes it increasingly more demanding to produce vehicles of distinction. "At the MBSA plant we are more than equipped for this challenge and we continue to invest heavily in state-of-the-art production technology and employee-training. The plant is renowned for running a tight ship in terms of reliability and quality."Our focus on innovative thinking has resulted in efficiency increases of over 30% in the past four years."C-CLASS - 12 PROBLEMS PER 100 VEHICLES The Ipsos study calculates scores according to a globally recognised approach of problems/100 vehicles (PP100). In its study, C-Class petrol models recorded 12, diesel variants 14.Van der Merwe said: "This consistent performance excellence by employees bodes well for investor confidence and has cemented the plant’s place as one of only four Daimler AG locations globally to manufacture the next generation C-Class.” The Mercedes-Benz E-Class achieved gold in the “Top Executive” vehicle category with 16 problems/100 units.