If you buy a Mercedes, you expect that it’s made by Mercedes… right? Only that’s not necessarily the case.
Take the new GLC, for example. Benz’s second smallest crossover just started rolling off the assembly line in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The plant is run not by Daimler, but by Valmet – one of Europe’s leading automotive contract manufacturers and the largest concentration of robots in the country.
Valmet has been producing the A-Class for Mercedes since 2013, and has now added a line for the GLC as well. The model takes the place of the previous GLK, and slots in between the smaller GLA and the larger GLE in the German automaker’s growing crossover lineup. The plan is to continue principal production of the GLC at Daimler’s own plant in Bremen, Germany, but with demand soaring beyond capacity, Valmet is now handling additional production for its German client.
The GLC isn’t the only model whose manufacturing Mercedes farms out, nor is Valmet the only contractor building cars and trucks for Mercedes. The G-Class, for example, is made in Austria by Magna Steyr, which also used to produce the E-Class and M-Class (not to mention major components for the SLK and SLS). The R-Class is made exclusively for export to China by AM General in Indiana. The CLK used to be made by Karmann in Germany. And the Smart Forfour is made by Renault in France. Daimler also produces several models in partnership with local automakers in China, and we’re sure this won’t be the last addition to the list.