Even though the new A-Class isn’t offered in several important markets around the world including North America, demand for the compact-sized premium hatchback has surpassed initial expectations with Mercedes-Benz having received more than 40,000 orders to date well before the market launch in mid-September.
As a result, parent company Daimlers will expand production capacities for the new A-Class by hiring Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive to build more than 100,000 units from 2013 through 2016.
Daimler board member Wolfgang Bernhard said that the automaker’s plants in Rastatt, Germany and Kecskemét, Hungary, are working at full capacity.
“Our new compacts are so popular with our customers that the Rastatt and Kecskemét plants are completely utilized. We will even switch to three-shift operations in Rastatt this fall,” explained Bernhard.
“We thus signed Valmet as an experienced production specialist who will provide us with additional A-Class capacities as of 2013. Our aim is to optimally serve customer demand and keep delivery times of our new A-Class as short as possible in the interest of our customer,” he added.
For this reason, the German automaker will invest close to €400 million (US$485 million) in 2012 and 2013 in components that will only be used for the new compacts.
Mercedes-Benz added that it plans to build premium compact cars for the Chinese markets “locally and close to the customers in the future”.