Mercedes-Benz restructuring its global production network to build more cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 30, 2012

Mercedes-Benz had recorded an average production time of 43 hours for its models in 2008 but the company is now working to restructure its worldwide production network so that it could bring down this figure to 30 hours by 2015. Mercedes production boss Wolfgang Bernhard announced this during an investor conference that was included in the automaker's plant opening here.

He said that in the past few years, its productivity has been given a 2% boost. He said that soon, its productivity efforts will be accelerating. A major factor in this restructuring is that Mercedes will cut in half its vehicle architectures to two by 2015.

However it will double its number of model variants to 30. Bernhard said that the company is a “major enabler." The Mercedes Front Wheel Architecture (MFA) is meant for compact cars like the A class and B class and are intended for plants in Rastatt, Germany; Kecskemet, Hungary; and Beijing. The entire lineup will have Mercedes Rear Wheel Architecture (MRA) will cover the other aspects in the automaker's lineup.

These will be used in plants in Bremen and Sindelfingen, Germany; Vance, Alabama, USA; and East London, South Africa. Mercedes presently has four architectures: rear-, front- and all-wheel drive as well as one for sports cars. This count had excluded the platform used for the 33-year-old G class SUV made in Graz, Austria, by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr.

Bernhard said that in 1995, Daimler had 15 car platforms. He estimates that in 2020, more than 50% of the automaker’s assembly capacity will be made outside Europe. This is 10% higher than in 2010. He said that by 2020, at least 40% of the company’s powertrain making capacity would be outside of Germany. Almost all of Mercedes's powertrain plants are in Germany now.

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