Daimler AG is outsourcing the production of more than 100,000 Mercedes-Benz A-class compact premium cars to Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive from 2013 to 2016. The high demand for the A-class model has prompted Daimler to outsource some A-class production to Valmet, According to Mercedes, it has received more than 40,000 orders for the A-class, due to be rolled out in mid-September.
Wolfgang Bernhard, Mercedes' head of manufacturing and procurement, said that Daimler's factories in Rastatt, Germany, and Kecskemet, Hungary, are using their full production capacity in order to keep up with the orders for the A-class and B-class compacts. Bernhard added that the outsourcing deal would allow Mercedes to keep delivery times for the new A-class as short as possible.
Mercedes plans to build five compact models, including a sports utility vehicle, in Rastatt and a coupe model in Hungary. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche described Mercedes' compacts as among its "best weapons" as the carmaker embarks on a product offensive expected to propel Mercedes to become the top-selling premium brand by 2020.
The premium brand market is currently dominated by BMW, followed by Audi and Mercedes respectively. Zetsche predicts that for the next 10 years, the global market for premium compacts will grow by almost 4 million vehicles, which in turn, according to a Daimler spokeswoman, would lead to a premium compact market of around10 million vehicles in 2021.