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2014-06-23 10:48

TOP NOTCH: Mercedes-Benz South Africa has won a JD Power silver award. The local automaker attributes its success to its employees. Image: MBSA

  • East London plant wins silver Power award
  • Sixth year in the award rankings.
  • Factory proves efficiency, quality the norm

EAST LONDON, Eastern Cape - The 2014 JD Power Initial Quality Study poll of US buyers has put the Mercedes plant in East London, South Africa, among the top motor manufacturers.

It was the only African plant on the list of awards, winning silver but missing the gold award by only one point.

The poll, taken after 90 days of ownership, earned MBSA a silver commendation in the Europe-Africa manufacturing region from the organisation whose IQS rating is upheld by many in the international automotive industry as a benchmark for quality and reliability.


This is the sixth consecutive award for Daimler AG's South African plant. The company's Power award collection now includes two gold (2009, 2011) and three silver (2012-2014) awards in the Europe-Africa region as well as the ultimate accolade - a platinum award in 2010 for being the highest-ranking plant in the world supplying the American market.

MBSA CEO and manufacturing VP Arno van der Merwe attributes the consistency of the plant's performance to a focus on efficiency improvement and stringent quality systems.

Van der Merwe said: "While technology and process excellence is of vital importance, equally essential is the mind-set and passion of our employees. We prioritise problem-solving at all levels by harnessing their unique skills.

"This award is a tribute to their tenacity and expertise."


The East London plant's W204 C-Class for SA and US markets registered only 27 problems per 100 vehicles in the 2014 Power survey. The gold award recipient in the Europe-Africa category performed only one point better.

The W204 model has been replaced by the latest model which began production at East London in May 2014.

Van der Merwe added: "The fact that we have maintained the quality of our production in a run-out year while simultaneously preparing both facility and employees for a new and more advanced model proves the level of focus of our employees.

"We are extremely proud of this award and its implication for our status as a first-class manufacturer."

MBSA, one of only four plants worldwide selected to assemble the new C-Class, will have invested more than R5-billion into the South African economy from 2011 to 2015. Close to R60-million went into training. Nearly 900 unemployed people from the Border Kei region of the Eastern Cape have been upskilled as part of the programme.
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