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Additional Production Capacities for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class: Contract Manufacturing Starts at Valmet Automotive
- First customer vehicle rolled off the line at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki according to plan
- Top quality – new generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars receives excellent customer response
- Production of more than 100,000 vehicles planned at Valmet Automotive between 2013 and 2016
- Andreas Renschler: "Our new compacts are very successful – we will now be able to serve high customer demand even better. Valmet Automotive is complementing our flexible production network of the plants in Rastatt and Kecskemét in an optimal way."
The first Mercedes-Benz A-Class rolled off the line at the production specialist Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki. Production of customer vehicles thus started according to plan about 13 months after the contract manufacturing agreement was announced.
Andreas Renschler, member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans: "Our new compacts are very successful – we will now be able to serve high customer demand even better. Valmet Automotive is complementing our flexible production network of the plants in Rastatt and Kecskemét in an optimal way. Thanks to these additional capacities for the A-Class, our core plant in Rastatt can at the same time optimally prepare for its third production model - the GLA - which is due soon."
Commenting on the intensive joint preparations for the start of production and on further cooperation with Valmet Automotive in the next years, Renschler added: "We have found the ideal partner for this project with Valmet Automotive. As a production specialist, Valmet Automotive reliably fulfils the high requirements in terms of processes and especially quality which globally apply to the production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars."
Risto Hukkanen, Senior Vice President Manufacturing Services, Valmet Automotive: "The launch of contract manufacturing of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is an important milestone in the history of Valmet Automotive. Daimler is the inventor of the automobile and one of the world’s most successful automotive companies, and we are pleased to be part of the success story of the A-Class as their manufacturing partner."
Production at Valmet Automotive's plant in Uusikaupunki is contiuously being ramped up following the start of production and will be flexibly adjusted in close consultations between Daimler and Valmet to meet the respective required output from the current year on through 2016. In total, more than 100,000 A-Class vehicles are planned to roll off the line in Uusikaupunki.
Valmet Automotive and Daimler will present the A-Class contract manufacturing to guests from the areas of politics, economy, administration and media in September 2013 with an official celebration at the Uusikapunki plant.
A success story: The new generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars
Mercedes-Benz' attack in the premium compact segment continues: The Frankfurt Motor Show in September will see the presentation of the GLA as an impressive reinterpretation of the compact SUV segment. The GLA is the fourth of five new models that mark a significant expansion of the brand's product portfolio and appeals to new customer groups. As an example, the conquest rate of the new A-Class in Europe is at about 50 percent, the average age of the customers is 10 years lower compared to the predecessor model.
Already introduced were the new B-Class, the new A-Class and the four-door compact coupe CLA. Demand for these models continues to be very high: From January through July 2013 alone, 202,149 vehicles of the A- and B-Class and the CLA were delivered (+62.7%). Further momentum is expected in the months ahead with continuously rising availability in further markets.
About the production network of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars
The new Mercedes-Benz compacts are produced in the flexible production network of the plants in Rastatt, Germany, and Kecskemét, Hungary, according to the standards of the Mercedes-Benz production system MPS. The high degree of flexibility is on the one hand due to the joint architecture of the new compacts, thanks to which all models at each location can be built in any order and volume. On the other hand, models produced at several locations serve as levers allowing the plants to breathe and to allocate units optimally in the production network, always according to market demand for individual models.
Production of the B-Class started in both plants as the first product of the new generation (Rastatt: September 2011, Kecskemét: March 2012). The new A-Class has been built in Rastatt since July 2012. As the second product from Kecskemét, production of the CLA started in January 2013. Production of the compact SUV GLA, to be introduced to markets in 2014, will soon begin in Rastatt. In total, Daimler has invested about 2 billion euros over several years, of which (including 2013) 1.2 billion at the Rastatt core plant and 800 million euros to build the new plant in Kecskemét. The number of staff at Rastatt rose to a record value of more than 6,600 by the end of 2012, at Kecskemét to about 3,400. Further investments connected to the new generation of compact cars were made at the powertrain plants in Germany, with almost 400 million euros between 2012 and 2013 for components exclusively used in compact cars. Additional production capacities for the A-Class are now available with the contract manufacturing at Valmet Automotive, with planned output of more than 100,000 vehicles of the model series between 2013 and 2016. In addition, local production of the GLA for the Chinese market at BBAC (Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation, joint venture of Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC) is planned in the future.