The production network: Rastatt controls global compact-car production
Rastatt (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) is the lead plant for compact cars in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Rastatt controls the production at the Hungarian plant in Kecskemét, at Beijing Benz Automotive Co. (BBAC) in China and at Finnish production partner Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki. Well over two million of the current compact-car models have been produced since 2011.
Flexibility and efficiency are two key objectives in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, which has 29 locations and around 78,000 employees worldwide. The network is structured around the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. At the centre of each architecture production network is a lead plant that serves as a competence centre for new model start-ups, tooling strategy and quality assurance. There is also a production network for the powertrain (engines, transmissions, axles, components). The plants in the global compact-car production network and their products at a glance:
- Rastatt/Germany: A-Class, B-Class, GLA
- Kecskemét/Hungary: B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake
- Uusikaupunki/Finland: A-Class
- Beijing/China: GLA
The Rastatt plant acts as the lead plant for the compact-car production network and controls global production planning and project control (tooling strategy, product quality) as well as global quality and supplier management. The Rastatt plant also supports smooth start-ups at the other plants by training staff, for example.
Rastatt: the lead plant for compact-car production worldwide
The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. E‑Class models were the first cars to roll off the production line at this location in central Baden, which has been home to the compact class since 1997. The plant has a workforce in excess of 6500 people, making it the region's largest employer. More than 300,000 vehicles left the production line in Rastatt in 2016.
Rastatt fired the starting shot for the new compact models when production of the second-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class began here in 2011. This was followed in July 2012 by the production launch of the new A-Class, while series production of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC commenced in April 2013 (fuel consumption combined: 7.3-6.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 171-162 g/km). In December 2013, the GLA produced at the Rastatt plant completed the Mercedes‑Benz SUV line-up.
April 2014 signalled the start of production for the B-Class Electric Drive (combined electrical consumption: 17.9 -16.6 kWh/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km). The electric models are produced as part of normal series production on the same line as vehicles with internal combustion engines, enabling the company to embrace the opportunities of electromobility whilst limiting the amount of investment required. As a competence centre for the production of electric vehicles, the Rastatt site now has more than three years of experience behind it. The production launch of the new GLA in February 2017 means that Rastatt now has a cutting-edge model range.
Kecskemét: the first European plant outside Germany
The Kecskemét plant in Hungary, opened in March 2012, was the first European Mercedes-Benz passenger-car plant outside Germany. The 500,000th vehicle rolled off the production line here in February 2016. The CLA and the CLA Shooting Brake are produced exclusively here for all markets worldwide. The B-Class is also produced here.
Beijing: the GLA from and for China
Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor, has produced Mercedes-Benz cars since 2005 and engines since 2013. It produces the GLA, which had its production launch in spring 2015, as well as the E-Class, C-Class and GLC. In 2016, around two thirds of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in China were from local production, and BBAC has already produced over a million Mercedes-Benz models. In terms of surface area, BBAC is the world's largest Mercedes-Benz plant for passenger cars.
Aguascalientes: new plant in Mexico
The COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) joint-venture production plant in Aguascalientes/Central Mexico will expand the compact-car production network at Mercedes-Benz Cars in future. COMPAS is a joint project of the cooperation with the Renault-Nissan alliance. Production of Infiniti vehicles will commence in 2017, with the first Mercedes-Benz vehicles set to roll off the production line in 2018.