Just this week, the first new C-Class rolled off the production line at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant. The start of production marks the beginning of another chapter for Mercedes-Benz in the success story of its best-selling model series. To date, the company has delivered more than 8.5 million C-Class vehicles to its customers.
From 2014 the C-Class will, for the first time, be made to Mercedes-Benz quality standards at four sites on four continents, namely Bremen, East London (South Africa), Beijing (China) and Tuscaloosa (USA). Within just six months, production of the C-Class will have been ramped up at all these international locations. The Bremen plant is in overall control of global production of the C-Class. Total investment in the production of the new C-Class for this year and next amounts to €2 billion.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The new C-Class is setting new standards in the premium mid-range segment in a number of aspects – from design and perceived quality, driver assistance systems to lightweight construction. Just as important: We are also raising the bar in terms of production. Within just six months we will have ramped up production in four C-Class plants on four continents. With this, we are leading the way – a further milestone in our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy.”
Daimler is investing more than €1 billion in the center of competence for the C-Class in Bremen. This investment will strengthen the position of Bremen as a production site for the future. All aspects of the production ramp-up are controlled from Bremen, from the tooling strategy and the training of colleagues at the other sites to product quality. The company is thereby ensuring that the highest quality standards are met at all production sites right from the outset.
Wilfried Porth, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Human Resources and Director of Labor Relations & Mercedes-Benz Vans: “The intensive networking between the four C-Class plants around the world is an excellent example of how experts from various regions and cultures work hand in hand at Daimler with dedication and success. Alongside their colleagues from Bremen, around 300 employees from the international also underwent intensive training in order to pass on their detailed know-how in Tuscaloosa, East London and Beijing.” All employees completed extensive skills training to prepare for the start-up. Courses took place at the pilot plant in Sindelfingen, at the training center in Bremen and on-site at the production line.
“As the center of competence for the new C-Class we play a special role in the production network. We are very proud to build the new C-Class here in Bremen and to control the global ramp-up of production from here. We have a truly excellent team here that has perfectly mastered all challenges,” says Andreas Kellermann, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant.
The main changes in terms of the body-in-white are the material mix, the innovative new manufacturing technologies and process monitoring facilities. The aluminum content of the body structure, for example, is 50 percent higher compared to its predecessor. This mix of aluminum and steel in the exterior of the car contributes to significantly improved protection against corrosion. A technology center for attaching the roof and a high-precision facility for measuring gaps are the new installations in assembly.
Energy efficiency has been a factor in the design of the production processes right from the planning stage. The amount of energy consumed per vehicle made has been cut by more than 30 per cent, in part through optimizing the building engineering and the painting technology. Ergonomics was another key aspect in the design of the production processes. Each individual work step was examined in great detail beforehand – all with the aim of optimizing working conditions for the production staff.
Uwe Werner, Chairman of the Works Council at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant: “We’ve been making cars for 75 years in Bremen, and Mercedes-Benz cars for 35 years. I’m delighted that we are able to pass on our knowledge and expertise to our international colleagues in our role as a center of competence. We in Bremen will do all we can in terms of support and sharing of know-how to ensure that the new C-Class is produced around the world in Mercedes quality.”
Mercedes-Benz launched the 190 model in 1982. As the smallest vehicle in the product portfolio at the time, it was soon nicknamed the ‘Baby-Benz’. The C-Class designation followed in 1993, and the model range has since been expanded, with the estate and sports coupé coming on board as new variants. Launched in 2007, the fourth generation of the C-Class heralded the arrival of the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE equipment lines – until today with sales of more than 2.2 million sedans, estates and coupés of this model generation alone.
About the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The new C-Class offers not only an emotionally clear design and a host of technical innovations, it also boasts a wide range of equipment as standard, together with exemplary emissions and fuel consumption statistics. In order to provide the highest possible levels of safety, the C-Class incorporates almost all of the new ‘Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive’ assistance systems of the S-Class and E-Class with a host of enhanced functions. ATTENTION ASSIST comes as standard, signaling driver inattention and drowsiness. Another standard feature is COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, with an adaptive brake assist function that protects against collisions already at speeds as low as seven km/h.
Additional assistant systems, either new or with significantly enhanced functionality, are available as optional extras. DISTRONIC PLUS with steering assist and integral Stop & Go Pilot is a semi-autonomous stop-and-go assist system that enables vehicles to go with the flow of queuing traffic in a safe and comfortable way. The brake assist system BAS PLUS is now able to detect cross traffic and can increase driver braking if necessary. The range of assistant systems also includes Active Parking Assist, which enables automatic parking with active steering and brake intervention for parallel or perpendicular parking spaces, as well as a 360 degree camera that shows the vehicle and its environment from different perspectives, including a virtual bird’s eye view.
About the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant
With more than 12,700 employees the Bremen plant is the largest private employer in the region. The plant currently produces eight models: along with the C-Class sedan, C-Class estate and C-Class coupé, the E-Class coupé and cabriolet, the GLK and the SLK and SL roadsters are also built in Bremen. In 2012 the plant produced more than 316,000 vehicles. As the centre of competence for the new C-Class, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen also controls the start-up and production of the high-volume model series at the international plants in Tuscaloosa/USA, Beijing/China and East London/South Africa.