The Hungarian Mercedes-Benz plant Kecskemét will produce the next generation of compact cars.
By the end of 2015, Mercedes-Benz had invested around 1 billion euros in Kecskemét.
“Kecskemét is and will remain a cornerstone of the compact vehicle production compound. Its expansion for the next generation of compact vehicles will further strengthen this role within the international production compound”, said Michael Göbel, Head of Compact Vehicle Production Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The groundbreaking for the new body production hall for Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles of the next generation was joined by the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó and representatives of Mercedes-Benz.
Kecskemét/Hungary – The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét will produce the next generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars. By 2018, Daimler will invest around 580 million euros in the technological development and the expansion of the location. In addition to a new body shop, money is invested in efficient and innovative equipment.
Furthermore, the factory’s capacities will be expanded once again. “Kecskemét is and will remain a cornerstone of the compact vehicle production compound. Its expansion for the next generation of compact vehicles will further strengthen this role within the international production compound”, said Michael Göbel, Head of Compact Vehicle Production at Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the groundbreaking of the new body shop.
During the ceremony, Péter Szijjártó (Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Klaudia Szemereyné Pataki (Mayoress of the city of Kecskemét), Christian Wolff (CEO and Site Manager of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft.) and Michael Göbel buried various items of symbolic value in a time capsule along with the foundation stone.
“This investment is a clear sign of our commitment to this location, and offers good future prospects for the employees in Kecskemét,” said Christian Wolff. “We will also invest in the improvement of the ergonomic and working conditions, as well as in the qualification of the workforce.”
Around 250 million euros are spent on the new body shop, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It is being built on an area of 99,000 square meters and has been designed to let in as much daylight as possible in order to create a bright and pleasant working condition.
Other parts of the plant, for example the press shop, will also be expanded as part of the total investment. Moreover, the production line will receive various adjustments and robots for surface treatment. In the final assembly section for the next generation of compact vehicles, materials will now be brought to the assembly line in pre-picked baskets of goods.
This will be done completely autonomously by driverless transport vehicles with prepared baskets of goods from the logistics and picking zones. Not only does this eliminate the need for workers to go get the materials themselves but it also helps them to determine if all components have been installed since a look into the baskets at the end is all that’s needed – yet another simple and effective way to improve quality assurance.
This is just one of the innovations that Mercedes-Benz will apply to other plants in the global production network as well.
About the global compact car production of Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét is part of the compact vehicle production compound of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In addition to Kecskemét, the production compound for the current generation of compact vehicles also includes Rastatt, Germany (as the lead plant) and BBAC in Beijing, China. Mercedes-Benz Cars also uses the Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive to produce additional A-Class cars. Thanks to the shared compact vehicle architecture, capacities can be distributed flexibly and efficiently within the network at any time depending on the current level of demand in the market.
About the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét employs more than 4,000 people. Over 180,000 compact Mercedes-Benz vehicles were produced in 2015. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class was the first model to roll off the line in Kecskemét in 2012. This was followed in 2013 by the four-door compact CLA Coupé and the CLA Shooting Brake in 2015. Both of these models are produced exclusively in Kecskemét for customers around the world.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at 26 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network involving round about 78,000 employees. This includes the central functions of planning, technology fabric, logistics, and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than two million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the fifth record in a row.
The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production network (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production networks is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance.
The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards.
All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.