Mercedes-Benz benefits from flexible production system, Wolfgang Bernhard reveals

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 12, 2012

The Mercedes-Benz car division of Daimler can cope with a possible decline in demand in an economic depression without having to lessen its number of core employees, thanks to its flexible production system according to the company's purchasing and production chief Wolfgang Bernhard. In an interview with Automotive News Europe at the Geneva Motor Show, Bernhard stated that they "could absorb fluctuations in demand of 25 percent at any time."

He further said that the vehicle manufacturer would not have to impose short-time working or lower its core staff even when demand drops to that extent. Mercedes is closely monitoring its competitors as well as the economy, Bernhard stated. He explained that the Mercedes-Benz 2020 strategy includes a nonstop ramp up of capacity. He also said that they "carefully about every step" and that each new facility has to last for at least 25 years.

Bernhard did not confirm a German magazine's report that Mercedes is studying the potential of opening a second vehicle production facility in North America. The agreement of Mercedes with Nissan to manufacture four-cylinder gasoline engines at Nissan's Decherd facility in Tennessee in 2014 for the future Infiniti models and the new C-class was an important action to aid in offsetting the effects of currency fluctuations, Bernhard explained. 

Manager Magazin reported in January, citing Daimler executives, that the company intends to erect a new factory with Nissan in either Mexico or the United States by 2017 or 2018 to manufacture the A class. Bernhard stated that Mercedes will assemble its new A-class and B-class premium compact vehicles in China and in Europe, but a production date has not yet been set.

Bernhard disclosed that the customer will have to wait for three months for the deliveries of the B-class, which went on sale in November. He added that they cannot produce that vehicle as fast as they can sell it. On the other hand, the A class is set to be introduced in European showrooms in June. It will be available for sale in China in 2013 and in the United States in 2014. [source: Autonews]

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