The new GLC was introduced this year as the successor to the GLK and crossover counterpart to the C-Class. It slots into Benz's realigned SUV lineup above the smaller GLA and below the larger GLE and GLS models. A four-door coupe variant is also expected to follow. Like the GLK before it, the GLC is assembled in Bremen, where Mercedes also builds the C-Class, the two-door versions of the E-Class, and the SL and SLK roadsters.
This isn't the first crossover whose production Mercedes has outsourced, nor is it the first time it has contracted Valment for automotive assembly. Though only offered in China at this point, the R-Class is built by AM General in South Bend, Indiana. And the G-Class is assembled by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. Aside from past clients like Porsche and Fisker, Valmet has also produced the A-Class for Mercedes since 2013, and will continue to do so, albeit at a reduced output in order to focus on the new crossover.
Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 26, 2015
- From 2017, the new GLC will also roll off the line in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
- The Bremen plant continues to be the main production plant.
- Markus Schäfer, Member of the the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Produktion and Supply Chain Management: "Working with contract manufacturers is an important factor in our global production strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars."
Mercedes-Benz is continuing its growth strategy and expands production capacities for the new GLC. The main production facility continues to be the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany, where the GLC has been produced since July. The Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive will produce additional volumes of the new mid-range SUV from 2017, at its plant in Uusikaupunki.
"Working with contract manufacturers is an important factor in our global production strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars," said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. "We respond flexibly to the level of demand in our markets, and can satisfy our customers' preferences more rapidly."
As the main production facility for the GLC, the utilization of the Bremen plant's capacity is high. That is why Mercedes-Benz is leveraging additional capacities offered by contract manufacturing. "Following a strong launch in Europe, a right-hand drive version of the GLC will also be available for the first time from December. We expect this to be another strong contributor to growth," said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. In October, 47,379 customers decided in favour of an SUV from Mercedes-Benz (+26.1%). This record was set with strong contributions from the GLC which recorded double-digit growth as well as a new sales record last month.
"With Valmet Automotive we have an established and reliable partner offering state-of-the-art technology," stresses Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality. "We have been producing the A-Class there since 2013. We aim to continue this success story with the GLC." Valmet Automotive has been producing additional A-Class volumes under contract for Mercedes-Benz in Uusikaupunki since 2013. The order comprises a total of more than 100,000 units through 2016. The GLC order has a comparable volume.
As the global lead plant for the GLC, Bremen will support the ramp-up of the model series at Valmet Automotive in the same way as the already successful ramp-up at BBAC in Beijing in October 2015. The lead plant concept allows Mercedes-Benz to ensure top quality at all of its locations and production facilities around the world.
Valmet Automotive receives manufacturing contract for Mercedes-Benz GLC
Valmet Automotive and Mercedes-Benz have announced that Valmet Automotive will start manufacturing additional units of the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV at the Uusikaupunki, Finland plant. Valmet Automotive starts the preparation of the project immediately. The main production site of the GLC is the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany, which already runs at full capacity.
The manufacturing of the GLC will commence in Finland during the first quarter of 2017. The planned production volume in Uusikaupunki is comparable to the A-Class contract.
– Valmet Automotive is a proven and reliable partner, who stands for cutting-edge technology. Since 2013, the A-Class is produced at their site in Finland. We want to continue this success story with the GLC, says Mr. Klaus Zehender, Divisional Board Member Procurement and Supplier Quality Mercedes-Benz Cars.
– The agreement on manufacturing the Mercedes-Benz GLC proves Valmet Automotive's success in manufacturing the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. With a track record of convincing results, we now have the opportunity to manufacture another top selling vehicle for Daimler, says Mr. Ilpo Korhonen, CEO, Valmet Automotive.
Valmet Automotive starts the project aiming at the GLC production immediately. This contains considerable restructuring at the Uusikaupunki plant, including a new body shop for the GLC model. The project involves investments worth tens of millions of euros.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class remains in production in Uusikaupunki in 2016. The new production agreement shifts the emphasis of operations at the Uusikaupunki plant towards the GLC. Consequently, the planned A-Class volume will be ramped down from the current level to enable a rapid ramp-up for the GLC production.
This will lead to limited term adjustments in the plant personnel. The cooperation negotiations will concern the production personnel, and the adjustment need on annual level, starting in spring 2016 is estimated at approximately 300 man-years.
– Based on the current plans, we will need all our current car builders to ensure the rapid GLC ramp-up starting in early 2017. We are seeking flexible solutions to minimize the effects of the limited term personnel adjustments. Furthermore, we may need to recruit more staff when we launch the GLC production, says Mr. Korhonen.
In the project phase, the impact of the GLC production on employment is estimated at a few hundred man-years. In the production phase, the GLC will employ around 1200 people at Valmet Automotive and around 300 among subcontractors.