Mercedes-Benz B-Class: Production of second production series begins at Rastatt plant

Mar 22, 2005
  • Approx. €900 million invested in Rastatt location since 2000
  • 1,800 jobs created at Rastatt plant
  • Plant manager Peter Wesp: “With the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the new B-Class, the outlook for Rastatt is excellent.”
The first series-production Mercedes-Benz B-Class rolled off the assembly line at DaimlerChrysler’s Rastatt plant. Job number one of the second Mercedes-Benz production series in Rastatt was a B 200 CDI in Polar Silver. The A-Class has been built at the plant since1997, and since June 2004 in its second generation.
With the world premiere of the B-Class at the International Motor Show in Geneva on March 1, 2005, DaimlerChrysler introduced the new sports tourer concept from Mercedes-Benz. The B-Class compact sports tourer combines the advantages of different vehicle concepts into a unique profile. As a car for long-distance trips, family needs and leisure time, the B-Class is designed to satisfy the customers’ demand for a vehicle with generous space, exemplary comfort, excellent utility, fascinating design and lots of driving enjoyment. The series will be introduced to the European market in June. Customers will be able to choose from a selection of four gasoline engines and two diesels.
Since 2000, DaimlerChrysler has invested approximately €900 million in the Rastatt location for the production launch of the new A-Class and B-Class, including measures for the expansion of the adjoining industrial area. The company created the capacity for producing the second model series by expanding the usable surface area by about 160,000 square meters, including more than 60,000 square meters for the body and paint shops. A new assembly hall was built at the location for final assembly of the B-Class.
DaimlerChrysler created a total of 1,800 new jobs in Rastatt for the two production series. There are currently about 6,500 employees working at the plant. “The jobs added in Rastatt are a clear expression of our commitment to this region and to Germany as a production location,” states Peter Wesp, the plant manager at Rastatt. “In producing the A-Class and B-Class, our qualified and motivated employees are consistently maintaining the high quality standards that our customers expect from a Mercedes-Benz vehicle.”
Aside from the creation of new jobs at the Rastatt plant, the expansion is having an impact on the structure of the location’s supplier network. Via a conveyor bridge, nine system suppliers located in the plant’s industrial area can directly supply the plant with about 50 percent of the parts used in assembly. In 2004, about 600 employees worked in the industrial area. Now the plant’s system suppliers employ 1,200 people. Through this expansion, DaimlerChrysler has therefore contributed to creating a total of 2,400 new jobs in Rastatt.
“In production and administration at our location, we have consistently implemented the principles of the Mercedes-Benz Production System (MPS),” says Wesp. “What’s more, the close link to our suppliers in the industrial area and the creation of a new logistics supplier center ensure we have optimal logistics processes. In achieving this, we have created the conditions for efficient production and for ensuring the plant’s long-term competitiveness. The sales figures for the A-Class and the positive response to the new B-Class are important indicators showing how well prepared DaimlerChrysler’s Rastatt plant is for the future. Thanks to the second production series, the outlook is outstanding for our plant and for the region.”
In the first two months of 2005, 26,200 units of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class were delivered to customers in Western Europe. Approximately 80,000 customers in Europe have purchased cars of the compact production series since its market launch in mid-September 2004.