Thanks to strong sales in China, the S-Class is on a tear, racking up 7,617 global sales, and Mercedes said that it will lengthen the shifts at its plant in Sindelfingen, Germany to keep pace. Workdays were already extended 30 minutes this year and special Saturday shifts were added four times in 2013, but 2014 will see workdays stretched an additional 74 minutes.
As for the C- and GLK-Class, the assembly plant in Bremen, Germany began special shifts last month that extend through the end of this month; Mercedes also added that its Tuscaloosa, AL worked some Saturday shifts this year. Finally, the automaker's powertrain plant in Untertürkheim, Germany has been tasked with working longer hours to keep assembly plants supplied with drivetrain components. Scroll down for the full Mercedes press release.
-Production program of more than 1.49 million vehicles
-Plants running at high capacity utilization also in 2013, special shifts year-round
-Andreas Renschler: "With this production record, Mercedes-Benz is setting yet another benchmark. This attests to the good customer response to our products."
Stuttgart – This is the third consecutive year that Mercedes-Benz has significantly outperformed the production records from previous years. Annual production of the brand with the star will rise to more than 1.49 million vehicles in 2013. Due to the excellent development of unit sales, the plants are working at high capacity utilization in 2013. As in the previous year, production will stop only briefly at the turn of the year.
Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans: "With this production record, Mercedes-Benz is setting yet another benchmark. This attests to the good customer response to our products. We will continue to grow with our attractive offering of models -- and will be able to accommodate the demand thanks to our high flexibility and the quality of the team."
Thanks to the high customer demand, the Mercedes-Benz production network is working at high capacity utilization this year. From January to November 2013, Mercedes-Benz has already sold 1,322,500 passenger cars (+10.7%), and has reached the previous year's sales volume already.
The excellent customer response to the new models has contributed significantly to this success – for example with deliveries of 336,981 compact cars (+67.2%) to customers since January. The performance of the new S-Class, which has been available in Europe since the end of July, in China since the end of September, and in the USA since mid-October, has been particularly successful. Mercedes-Benz has thus launched its flagship model in the top three S-Class markets in less than twelve weeks. This makes the launch of the S-Class the fastest market launch in the company's history. This was only possible because the production of the luxury sedan was ramped up in record time in its home plant of Sindelfingen. With a total of 7,617 sedan deliveries in November, the S-Class is already back at the top of the worldwide registrations in its segment just a few weeks after the model change. In its most important market of China, it was additionally awarded the coveted title of "Car of the Year".
Besides the A-Class, the compact models of the B-Class and CLA-Class are still selling particularly well. In the month of November, 33,382 customers opted for the compact class (+53.8%). In addition, the unit sales of the new models in the E-Class segment also increased strongly. The sedan and the estate alone posted an increase of 19.0%. The sales of the new coupe and convertible jumped by one third. The SUVs from Mercedes-Benz continue to be in strong demand. Since January 2013, more than a quarter million SUVs were delivered to customers, or 14.4% more than in the previous year.
High capacity utilization and numerous special shifts
In order to satisfy all customer wishes, the Mercedes-Benz plants have introduced numerous special shifts: In the Rastatt plant, twenty one special shifts from January to November were agreed with the Works Council. Ten special shifts are planned in November and December for the production of the C-Class and the GLK in the Bremen plant. In the Sindelfingen plant, four Saturday shifts were introduced for the S-Class production and the working time was extended by around 30 minutes. For 2014, another extension of the working time by 74 minutes per day has already been agreed with the Works Council for the S-Class production. The Tuscaloosa plant has worked on ten additional Saturdays. The Powertrain plants are also running at high speed: This year, workers at the Untertürkheim plant have worked special shifts on every weekend in order to supply the body plants with engines, transmissions, axles and components.
Continuous expansion of the production network
The production program of Mercedes-Benz Cars is aimed at continued growth. To this end, the required production capacities will be expanded in close proximity to the markets and the customers. Germany is and remains the heart of the production network. Daimler is taking responsibility for the location Germany with substantial investments in its German production sites. Investments of around € 1 billion went into the Sindelfingen plant in 2013 alone.
To enable producing even more strongly in the proximity of the markets and customers in the growth regions, Daimler is also investing in the international production locations: Investments of around € 4 billion are planned in China together with the Chinese partner BAIC. Investments in Tuscaloosa (USA) will total around USD 2.4 billion, earmarked primarily for the next C-Class and a completely new Mercedes-Benz model series that will roll off the lines from 2015 as the fifth product at the location. In Kecskémet (Hungary) a total of € 800 million was invested for the plant which opened in March 2012. The planning provides for more than € 300 million for the development of additional Powertrain capacities at the Romanian subsidiary, Star Transmission. The company also plans to invest around € 170 million in a plant for the production of the next C-Class family and the new GLA in the vicinity of São Paulo (Brazil).