Following on their announcement to invest R10 Billion with the production of the New Generation C-Class, Mercedes-Benz South Africa has pledged a further R3 Billion in investments at the East London plant as production of the new vehicle officially kicks off.
In a media release, the automotive giant say the East London Plant upgrades feature environmentally-friendly buildings, including a technologically advanced paint shop, body shop, assembly and logistics warehouse.
Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, responsible for Production and Supply Chain Management stated: “South Africa is an important location in our global Mercedes-Benz production network. The team in East London made a remarkable contribution to the international ramp-up of the new C-Class that we produce through efficient, flexible, digital and sustainable operations. Thanks to the exceptional work of our colleagues in South Africa and all over the world and their first-class cooperation, our modern plants are able to produce outstanding vehicles like the new C-Class. With our additional invest of R3 Billion in East London Plant, we underline our commitment to contributing to the South African economy and the Eastern Cape region.”
This new commitment is a sign of Mercedes-Benz’ concerted effort to revive the economic growth of South Africa as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region. Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), believes the new investment and start of production of the new C-Class, positions Buffalo City and the rest of Eastern Cape to continue its legacy of advanced manufacturing. “The launch of this new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the latest generation to grace the roads of South Africa and the world, Through the South African Automotive Masterplan, and the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), we have created a platform for investment in the industry, deepening our technological expertise, creating local value chains, and securing jobs,” he said.
To allow the East London Plant to increase volume outputs, optimise the assembly line and achieve commercial synergies, a new Body Shop has been built at the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), where vehicle parts for the New Generation C-Class are manufactured. More than 700 tons of steel have been installed for the additional three lines in the assembly shop and a new logistics warehouse. Utilising new methods such as art application technology, the new paint shop is now even more energy efficient and more environmentally-friendly.
CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Manufacturing, Andreas Engling said, “Despite a tough year in 2020, we were able to accomplish what we had planned. To date, all of our buildings are complete and we are ready for the production of the new generation C-Class in full force. At Mercedes-Benz South Africa, our passion drives us to be the best and it is this passion, which drives our high-performance culture.”
Mercedes-Benz is aware of the impact that its activities and products have on the environment, and the Company is addressing this in a holistic way along the entire value chain. With Ambition 2039, Mercedes-Benz strives for a fully networked and completely CO₂ neutral vehicle fleet in less than 20 years, aiming to have plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles to make up more than 50% of its sales by 2030.