Daimler executive board to approve Mercedes-Benz production in Mexico

Article by Christian A., on June 24, 2014

The executive board of Daimler AG is bound to green-light within two weeks the production of a Mercedes-Benz compact sedan and its CLA coupe-styled four-door compact at Nissan's site in Aguascalientes, Mexico, according to a report by Manager Magazin, citing unnamed executives.

There were earlier reports saying that Daimler would produce the GLA crossover in the Aguascalientes site as part of a joint venture with the Japanese carmaker. Daimler executives, however, told Manager Magazin that the German carmaker intends to produce the next-generation CLA and a new A-class sedan variant at the site.

Nissan and Mercedes are expected to commence joint production in Aguascalientes for export to the United States beginning in 2017, according to analysts at International Strategy & Investment (ISI).

The joint production will entail an Infiniti compact underpinned by Mercedes-Benz’s front-wheel drive platform. ISI said in a note that the joint production will result to a total annual output ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 premium vehicles.

Mexico has been the focus of several German luxury carmakers as it offers several advantages like numerous free trade accords, a cheap yet skilled workforce and proximity to the United States.

German carmaker BMW is close to a decision to build its first assembly site in the country. BMW plans to build 3-series and 1-series cars and possibly Mini models at the site, according to a report by the Handelsblatt in May.

Audi, meanwhile, is currently building its San Jose Chiapa site in Mexico that will have the capacity to produce around 150,000 vehicles annually.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is out to set a new segment of four-door coupes, just like the CLS-Class that made its debut in 2003. Featuring an avant-garde coupe design, and world-class aerodynamics – with BlueEFFICIENCY Edition having a Cd value of 0.22), the CLA could be specified as an all-wheel drive (4MATIC). It is fitted, as standard, with the so-called Collision Prevention Assist, a radar-based braking system that could provide warning to the driver over an obstacle at minimum speed of 7 km/h. As soon as the driver presses the brake pedal, Collision Prevention Assist initiates precision braking.

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, quipped that the Concept Style Coupe created an overwhelming resonance, with people requesting to put concept into series production. He remarked that the new CLA is a result of that concept, featuring a dynamic design that highlights the sporty side of the brand.

Positioned as a sporty coupe, the new CLA could be specified turbo engines (with power ratings of up to 155 kW or 211 hp), sports suspension as well as 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Furthermore, the new CLA -- in particular the BlueEFFICIENCY Edition – has set a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles with its coefficient of drag value of just 0.22 Cd. In addition, the new CLA is available with an array of driving assistance systems, like the improved Collision Prevention Assist.

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