Mercedes-Benz recently opened a new compact car plant in China. The local production joint venture of BMW in China (Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation – BBAC) just started the production of the new GLA compact car.
“To have the right products and local production footprint is certainly essential for our sustainable growth in China. Today we bring both together, pushing our strategic partnership with BAIC and China to the next level,” said Hubertus Troska, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for China. “The investment of 720 million euros demonstrates our confidence into Mercedes-Benz’ prosperous future in China, while boosting our local passenger car production capacities to about 250,000 units by the end 2015 – and we will certainly not stop there.”
Build-up from the scratch in a record time of less than 3 years and stretching at present across about 1.5 million square meters, the Beijing-compact car site complements the current Mercedes-Benz’ compact model plants in Rastatt (Germany) and Kecskemet (Hungary) as well as the Valmet Automotive plant in Finland and so marks the final puzzle piece in Mercedes-Benz’s flexible and highly efficient compact car production network. Likewise important: it strategically complements BBAC, establishing the plant as Mercedes-Benz’s worldwide only production facility that manufactures front- and rear-wheel-drive passenger cars as well as engines under one roof. Frank Deiss, President and CEO of BBAC, notes: “BBAC is Mercedes-Benz’s worldwide most comprehensive plant, manufacturing sedans, SUVs, engines and from now on also compact cars. Thereby the localization of compact cars marks a key milestone for the company. It will significantly drive BBAC’s local production volume, paving us the way to grow furthermore. In fact BBAC is already today the biggest Mercedes-Benz passenger car plant worldwide.”
The three-pointed star’s globally renowned and unified quality standards are echoed in every step of BBAC’s production, extending along the entire supply chain. In addition, the new compact car site features state of the art technology, such as a top notch paint shop that for instance comes with dry scrubbers for top coat application that do not require any water and a low-emission oven of the latest generation. Excellence in manufacturing is also provided by in total more than 10,800 staff – 800 thereof are dedicated to the new compact car site just in the ramp up phase. Be it through intensive and continuous on-the-job trainings or knowledge transfer from international training programs.
To prepare the ramp-up of the GLA, many employees have been trained abroad, mainly at the Rastatt Plant, but partially also at the plants in Kecskemet and Sindelfingen. Back in Beijing, these multipliers directly passed on their knowledge to hundreds of colleagues. The GLA is, after the GLK, the second SUV that is manufactured in China. It adds to Mercedes-Benz’s strong SUV family, to which in China at present additionally the M-Class, GL and G-Class belong. Powerful are also the engines of the new GLA, which are locally build at BBAC as well, at Mercedes-Benz’ first ever outside of Germany.