Daimler has rolled its first 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan off the assembly line at its manufacturing site in Sindelfingen, Germany. The roll-off was graced by the Mercedes’ new head of production, Andreas Renschler, who took the post in April 2013. Renschler is facing quite a big challenge to implement a large chunk of EUR2 billion ($2.65 billion) in planned cost cuts at Mercedes by the end of 2014.
Daimler is in deep pressure to keep up with rivals BMW and Volkswagen, particularly in China. Renschler is also expected to play a crucial role in getting labor concessions from Mercedes’ German unions.
He vowed to continue the efficiency program started by his predecessor Wolfgang Bernhard while being open to taking a conciliatory approach. He remarked that his plans are not about doing something against the will of the works council or against the management board, noting that the goal of the carmaker’s workforce is to be productive and efficient.
He told reporters that he and the works council have a common interest – which is to make the German sites more efficient. He said that they aim to reduce the average hours needed to build a unit from around 40 to 30 in the medium-term, adding that the new S-class sedan will help in this aspect.
He remarked that when production is fully ramped up, the new S-class sedan will be produce up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor. As purchasing chief, Renschler is tasked to craft a plan to offset EUR6 billion of material costs that include new features such as multimedia displays. He is tasked to gain concessions from both suppliers and workforce to achieve around 60 percent of the EUR2-billion cost cut goal.