Daimler outsources Mercedes-Benz A-class output to Valmet Automotive

Article by Anita Panait, on July 28, 2012

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.

The defining features on the exterior of the new A-Class include the tightly drawn surfaces and the more defined edges. Because of how the convex surfaces interact with the concave ones, this results in an interesting play of light, especially on the side. This effect helps strengthen the unique look even further. On the athletic and long front, there are the usual features like the separate headlamps and the pronounced V-shape.

There is, of course, the radiator grille which has the Mercedes star on the center and each side of the star having those double slats. Then there are the extra air intakes placed on the side. While the side profile shows a dropping line, this slowly disappears as it nears the front section.

It is also interesting to note how the headlamps have been designed, given that when combined with the set-up of the light functions in them, this results in the concept’s key element. Just behind the cover glass of the headlamp are LEDs and light modules.

These lights have been configured in a manner so as to give that distinguishing flare effect not only for the indicators but the driving lights as well. In fact, the flare is composed of the feature line that is in the headlamp, the bulb sets used for the indicators, and the LED modules utilized for the daytime running lamps. This trademarked effect is the one that gives this vehicle that full of energy appearance.

In addition, it also helps define what the young and new face of the brand is. Mercedes-Benz Head of Design Gorden Wagener says that while it was indeed a challenge to use the new dynamic style of the brand and put in a compact class, it was a fun task. He explains that when compared to other models in the same segment, the A-Class is by far the most progressive.

The A-Class and its sculptural shape are expected but it is the character lines on the sides that give the new A-Class that terseness and structure, he adds. Wagener continues and says that this new dynamic style can even be immediately recognizable by having a quick look on the inside.

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