Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi adding shifts to meet the demand

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

Because the demand for luxury cars has been seen to recover quicker than expected, Mercedes-Benz, BMW AG and Audi AG will add staff and will cut summer factory breaks to increase production. Spokeswoman Dominique Albrecht said that Mercedes' parent, Daimler AG, has added Saturday shifts and 1,800 temporary workers for its German assembly plants.

The SLS AMG Gullwing supercar, GLK SUV and E-Class Convertible are the models that are rolled out at these plants. BMW has added 5,000 temporary workers, while extra shifts are being added to the operations of Volkswagen AG's Audi.

German luxury carmakers have seen a steep rise in demand in China and it also experienced a rebound in the US and Europe.

For the month of May, BMW's sales increased by11%, boosted by deliveries of the 5-series sedan and Z4 roadster. With the 84% surge for the E-class demand, Mercedes' sales rose by 17%. Meanwhile, Audi deliveries went up by 15%.

BMW said the new 5 series is sold out in all markets. Colin Couchman, an analyst at IHS Global Insight in London, said that the luxury-car demand has recovered a bit faster than expected as confidence returns.

Couchman added that there is sustainable growth because the carmakers have continued to invest in new products and expand into new markets.

He described the extra shifts as a turnaround compared to a year ago when Daimler cut hours of up to 68,000 German employees to cut car production by 23%. BMW cut shifts for up to 24,000 workers as it reduced its output by 13%.

Topics: mercedes-benz, audi, bmw

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