Mercedes-Benz expands GLC production, Valmet’s Finnish plant to build more units

Article by Andrew Christian, on December 1, 2015

To respond to the growing demand for the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, the carmaker has contracted Valmet Automotive to produce more of the mid-range SUV starting 2017 at its manufacturing site in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

However, Mercedes-Benz will still use its Bremen facility in Germany as the main production site for the new GLC. In fact, the carmaker has been building the GLC in Bremen since July. Being the main production site for the GLC, the Bremen facility has been experiencing a high utilization rate.

To ease up some capacity at the Bremen plant, Mercedes is leveraging capacities offered by contract manufacturing, like that of Valmet Automotive. Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales, remarked that after the launch in Europe, the GLC will also be available in right-hand drive version starting December.

He added that this GLC version will contribute to the already robust growth of the mid-range SUV. Let’s look at the numbers: 26.1 percent more customers (47,379) preferred purchasing an SUV from Mercedes-Benz in October. A good chunk of this figure was contributed by the GLC, which posted double-digit growth and a new sales high in October.

As the global lead manufacturing site for the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Bremen plant will support its ramp-up at Valmet Automotive, just like it did with the successful ramp-up at BBAC in Beijing in October 2015. Mercedes implemented this new lead plant concept to enable it to make sure that all of its locations and production facilities around the world are of top quality.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management, remarked that Mercedes-Benz Cars considers collaborations with contract manufacturers as an important factor in its global production strategy as it could help the carmaker become more flexible in responding to the level of demand in its markets and become faster in satisfying its customers' preferences.

On the other hand, Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality, described Valmet Automotive as an established and reliable partner with state-of-the-art technology.

He noted that Valmet has been making the A-Class for Mercedes since 2013, adding that they hope to continue its success with the GLC. Mercedes has contracted Valmet Automotive to produce over 100,000 units of the A-Class from 2013 to 2016.

It is expected that the production volume of the GLC at Valmet's facility would be more or less the same. The new GLC is a Mercedes-Benz SUV that fuses high levels of sportiness and outstanding driving comfort whether on or off the road. It builds from the off-road character of its predecessor, the GLK, with a twist of modern aesthetics.

Aside from its on- and off-road capability, functionality and luxurious comfort, the all-new GLC boasts of outstanding level of safety typical of any Mercedes vehicle as well as state-of-the-art assistance systems. It also consumes as much as 19 percent less fuel than the GLK.

Press Release

Manufacturing contract for Valmet Automotive: Mercedes-Benz Expands Production Capacities for the GLC

  • 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.

About the new Mercedes-Benz GLC

The GLC represents a logical progression for the successful SUV philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. It combines the ultimate in driving comfort with a high level of sportiness, and as a result is impressive both on and off the road. Sensual purity and modern aesthetics complement the classic off-road look of the vehicle's successful predecessor, the GLK. The new GLC impresses in all conditions with the outstanding level of safety that is typical for the brand, state-of-the-art assistance systems and energy-efficiency. Fuel consumption is up to 19 percent lower than for the predecessor model.

About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations

Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at 26 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network involving more than 70,000 employees. This includes the central functions of planning, Technology Fabric, logistics, and quality management. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 1,754,000 Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the fourth record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production network (engines, transmissions, axles, and components). Each of these production networks is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology, and quality assurance. The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible, and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.

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