Thabo Mbeki visits production facility of Mercedes-Benz in East London
Rainer Schmückle, COO Mercedes Car Group: “South Africa is an important part of our global production network.”
East London/ Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz has launched series production of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan in its plant in East London, South Africa. Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, visited the plant on Thursday to celebrate the production start and investments into the new facility. Together with the President, Rainer Schmückle, Chief Operating Officer of the Mercedes Car Group, Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer, Chairman of the Management Board of DaimlerChrysler South , Joachim Follmann, East London Plant Manager and numerous stakeholders gathered at the plant to commemorate the occassion.
East London joins and to complete the global ramp-up process for the global supply of the new C-Class. The vehicle will also be produced in for sales in the local market.
“South Africa has been an important component of our global production network for one and a half decades now”, said Rainer Schmückle, Chief Operating Officer of the Mercedes Car Group.
Series production of the first Mercedes-Benz C-Class in started in 1994. The latest model of the C-Class is already the third generation to be produced at the Eastern Cape. Since 2000, the plant exports C-Class sedans to right-hand drive markets. With the production start of the new C-Class, the facility starts to deliver vehicles to left-hand drive markets.
“The fact that we decided to expand capacities and add production of left-hand drive models with this latest generation C-Class demonstrates that we are confident in the capabilities of as a manufacturing location”, added Schmückle.
To upgrade the plant for production of the latest-generation C-Class, Mercedes-Benz invested continuously in its facilities over the last two years.
“Our products must deliver top quality, no matter where they are built; that is why we apply the same manufacturing targets and requirements around the world”, Mr. Schmückle pointed out. For example, a completely new assembly line was installed in order to implement the standard assembly concept of the Mercedes-Benz global production network.
In addition to state-of-the-art technologies, Mercedes-Benz also conducted comprehensive training programs for its team members during the launch preparation. As part of this program, more than one hundred employees from spent three month of training at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany.