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.