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50 Years to the Day: The Mercedes-Benz Truck Plant in Wörth Celebrates a Milestone
- Anniversary ceremony attended by 300 guests from the realms of politics and industry
- Worlds lagest truck assembly plant has built more than 3.6 million trucks
- High demand will result in 25 Saturday shifts between now and the end of the year
- Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche: “ There’s one thing that makes this plant different from all others: The ‘Spirit of Wörth,’ which forms the foundation for quality workmanship ‘made in Wörth.’”
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth is celebrating its 50th anniversary of truck production. The first trucks rolled off the line in Wörth on October 1, 1963. A ceremony held today at the plant to commemorate this milestone was attended by some 300 guests from the realms of politics and industry. The attendees included Malu Dreyer, Minister-President of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate; Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG; Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses and Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Says Malu Dreyer, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate: "Rhineland-Palatinate is a car state, an industrialized state, and an export-oriented state. All three of these factors are crucial to our economic success and prosperity. The government of Rhineland-Palatinate is very proud to have the Mercedes-Benz truck plant in Wörth. It means that one of the world’s largest, most modern, successful, sustainable, and socially-minded commercial vehicle companies is located in our state.”
In his address, Dieter Zetsche said the following: “There’s one thing that makes this plant different from all others: The ‘Spirit of Wörth.’ This spirit consists of three main elements: a pioneering spirit, a spirit of innovation, and team spirit. The people who work here are a true team that sticks together, and this is what forms the foundation for quality workmanship ‘made in Wörth.’ I think the plant’s 50th anniversary is the perfect occasion for me to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for doing so much to spread this wonderful spirit.”
Competitive products are the key to the plant’s success. Every day, some 12,000 employees assemble up to 470 trucks from the Atego, Axor, Arocs, Actros, Econic, Unimog, and Zetros model series in exact accordance with customer requirements. The facility boasts unparalleled product variety. Statistically speaking, no two trucks produced in Wörth in any given year are identical. More than 3.6 million vehicles have been built to date. Wörth is also the world’s biggest truck assembly plant — and part of a global production network as well. Customers from more than 150 countries value “quality made in Wörth.”
“The Wörth plant is a key pillar of our global strategy, and this is reflected in the investments we’ve made in the facility,” said Wolfgang Bernhard. “Over the last three years, we have invested more than 1.3 billion euros in the Wörth plant. We’ve done this because products ‘made in Wörth’ are always in demand. What is more, this is increasingly the case worldwide. The Wörth motto of ‘rooted in the region — at home in the world,’ is very appropriate and underscores just how successful this facility is.”
The celebration also featured a discussion round with Yaris Pürsün, Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Wörth plant; Ulli Edelmann, Chairman of the plant’s Works Council; Wörth Mayor Harald Seiter; Hans Zechiel, former Human Resources Director at the plant; Jutta Benz, the great-granddaughter of Bertha and Carl Benz; and Wörth Human Resources Counselor Andrea Abt. The discussion focused on the past, present, and future of the Wörth plant.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is currently in the midst of the biggest product offensive in its history with the new Actros. The campaign, which began in 2011, has enabled Mercedes-Benz Trucks to become the first manufacturer to offer a complete range of Euro VI-compliant vehicles. It has done so six months in advance of the implementation of the new emission standard by launching seven new products in just two-and-a-half years. Achieving this feat represented a major challenge to the Wörth plant and its workforce.
“Building 3.6 million trucks in half a century is not a coincidence. It takes foresighted innovation, high flexibility and qualified and motivated employees like the ones we have here in Wörth,” said Yaris Pürsün. “I’m very proud of our people. They work with great dedication every day to ensure the continued success of our plant in the future.”
A high level of flexibility in production improves the competitiveness of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Such flexibility is also an important instrument for managing the sharp cyclical fluctuations in the commercial vehicle sector and ensuring that the Wörth plant can react quickly to changes in demand.
A global focus and high-quality products tailored to customers’ needs have enabled Mercedes-Benz Trucks to outperform the market as a whole and gain additional shares of contracting markets. Mercedes-Benz Trucks consolidated its leadership in the European medium and heavy duty segments (HDT/MDT) by increasing its market share by 0.5 percentage points to 22.7 percent between January and July 2013. Market share in Germany rose by 1.2 percentage points to 39.7 percent. This means that the world’ s biggest truck assembly plant will operate at full capacity until the end of the year. The introduction of 25 additional Saturday shifts has also been agreed upon in Wörth.
Wörth is much more than an assembly plant for Daimler Trucks. The 2.9-km² facility houses both production halls and offices for key functional units at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. The Wörth plant also offers customers all-round service that includes vehicle pick-ups at the Customer Center, information for drivers, and professional driver training courses. The facility operates a Sector Information Center as well. The establishment of the Development and Testing Center in 2008 has brought production and development units closer together in Wörth.
The plant is committed to using green technologies in sustainable products. It has also heavily invested in new sustainable equipment and machinery over the last few years. For example, a new fully automated top-coat paint line that uses aqueous coating technology was installed in March 2012, and this line now ensures clean top-coat spraying on the trucks . Wörth also began operating its own cogeneration plant in April 2013. The facility now supplies around 40 percent of the electricity and 25 percent of the heat needed in the factory. This direct power generation and its consumption locally will result in a CO2-emission reduction of approximately 22,000 tons per year, which corresponds to the annual CO2 emissions of more than 2,000 households in Germany.