Mercedes Reorganizes Production Around Four Main Platforms

Mercedes-Benz has announced it will invest more than €3 billion ($3.87 billion) to increase production and modernize its German passenger car and powertrain plants in 2014.

The decision is part of a plan to realign its global passenger cars manufacturing activities and to strengthen its German passenger cars locations. Mercedes’ investments in its German plants include the Sindelfingen plant, where more than €1 billion are invested primarily for future products.

The Untertürkheim core plant will also get a €1 billion investment, amongst others for the expansion of engine production. The Bremen plant’s capacities will be increased with around €750 million, with further investment to go to the Rastatt compact car plant, where production of the fully-electric B-Class electric drive has begun.

The company has also announced a new manufacturing organization called Mercedes-Benz Operations (MO), which will oversee the brand’s global carmaking activities. “

Under our previous production structure, the individual plants operated largely autonomously. Now, manufacturing will be organized according to product architectures, independent of individual locations,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management

These product architectures include the rear-wheel drive architecture (MRA), the front-wheel-drive architecture (MFA), the architectures for SUVs (MHA) and sports cars (MSA), as well as the powertrain architecture (MPA).

The MRA production network includes the S-, E- and C-Class and is led by Andreas Kellermann, previously head of the Bremen plant. The MFA production network includes A-, B-Class, CLA, GLA and the future CLA Shooting Brake and is led by Michael Göbel, who has previously overseen roadster production in Bremen.

Production of SUVs (M-, R-, GL-, and G-Class) and sports cars (SL, SLK) is the responsibility of Jason Hoff, who also retains his existing role as President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama. Finally, Peter Schabert, who has been responsible for global powertrain production since 2010, will continue in this position.

Each vehicle and powertrain architecture will be based on a system of modules and components, with the new C-Class being the first model series to be built according to this principle.

This year alone, Mercedes-Benz is managing 18 vehicle roll-outs at eight locations worldwide, including the start of production of the new C-Class sedan on four continents. Until 2020, Mercedes-Benz will introduce 12 additional models which do not have a predecessor.

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