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May 15, 2014
East London, South Africa/ Stuttgart, Germany
- East London plant starts production as the second location in the global C-Class production network
- Fourth C-Class generation already at the East London plant
- Markus Schäfer: "We are ramping up our C-Class production as planned with the start of production in South Africa."
East London, South Africa / Stuttgart, Germany – About three months after the start of production of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the Bremen plant in Germany, the second of the total of four locations started production of the highest volume Mercedes-Benz model line: For the East London plant, this is already the fourth generation of the C-Class. The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan is the first Mercedes-Benz model to be produced on four continents: Bremen and East London will be followed by the plants in Tuscaloosa/Alabama (USA) and Beijing (China) within the next months.
Markus Schäfer, Divisional Board Member Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management: "We are ramping up our C-Class production as planned with the start of production in South Africa. Our youngest model is received very well by customers around the globe. The additional production capacities in East London are thus available at the right time to optimally serve the wishes of our customers."
The Bremen plant, in its capacity as the so-called lead plant, is controlling global production of the C-Class – from the tooling strategy to the training of the colleages from the international plants to production quality. With this, the company ensures top quality at all production sites from the outset. In total, some 500 employees from the international plants - among them more than 200 from East London - completed intensive training also in Germany in order to pass on their knowledge as multipliers in their respective home plants.
Arno van der Merwe, CEO and Vice President Manufacturing Mercedes-Benz South Africa: "The new C-Class marks another milestone for Mercedes-Benz in South Africa and for the East London plant. We have created 550 new jobs at the plant and have also made significant investments for the qualification of our staff. This goes especially with regard to the host of innovative manufacturing technologies which have been introduced at the plant for the first time with the new C-Class. We are thus optimally prepared to write the next chapter of our 'made by Mercedes-Benz in South Africa' success story".
About the Mercedes-Benz East London plant
Mercedes-Benz has had a presence in South Africa since 1954 and acquired majority ownership of the East London plant in 1984. The new C-Class marks the fourth vehicle generation of the highest volume Mercedes-Benz model line to be manufactured in South Africa's Eastern Cape. Since the year 2000 the plant exported sedans to right-hand-drive markets, since 2007 also left-hand-drive vehicles for export to the USA. The East London plant's excellent production quality has repeatedly won national as well as international recognition, most recently with the 2013 J.D. Power Plant Quality Silver Award, placing it among the best plants in the Europe/Africa region for the fifth consecutive year. In 2013 about 2,700 employees manufactured more than 50,000 C-Class sedans. As of 2014 the plant produces the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class as one of four global locations in a production network with the German lead plant in Bremen, the U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Chinese production site Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC).