The Mercedes-Benz CLA is the first car to be built exclusively at the new production facilities in Kecskemét, Hungary. The factory was inaugurated in the spring of 2012, and production of the CLA started in January 2013.
On the occasion of the start of production Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars said: "You are doing a great job at the plant here." Before the start of production of the CLA-Class over 40,000 B-Class vehicles rolled off the assembly line at the Hungarian production facilities, helping to make 2012 the best sales year for the B-Class so far (sales worldwide: 145,649 units, over 11 percent more than the previous record year of 2006). Plant manager Frank Klein added: "The plant's entire team can't wait to get the CLA to our customers as perfectly as the B-Class cars we build in Kecskemét."
The Kecskemét plant and the Rastatt plant together form the production network for the new generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars. That network significantly contributes to the overall economies of compact car production and allows the flexible and optimum management of the capacity utilisation of both plants. The Kecskemét plant was opened in March 2012, less than four years after the initial decision was made in the summer of 2008 in favour of the location. It has since produced the B-Class, which is also built in Rastatt, using state-of-the-art, environmentally sound technology. Since its inauguration, the number of staff has grown from about 2,500 to more than 3,000, in line with the further development of the plant and the preparations for production of the CLA. The plant is the most attractive employer in the region, not least due to the high attention given to the qualification of its employees. The pioneering efforts of the plant and its Hungarian partners to establish dual vocational and university education based on the German model further contribute to this. In 2012 Daimler AG and the Hungarian Government also signed a joint partnership agreement to establish and reinforce the region of Kecskemét as a centre of the Hungarian automobile industry on a long-term basis.