Mercedes-Benz Cars, a division of German automobile manufacturer Daimler, will produce the next generation of the C-Class in East London, South Africa, and invest €600m in expanding the plant.
A new paint shop and a new body shop will be constructed, the assembly shop will be upgraded and new logistic warehouses will be established as part of the expansion.
The new buildings will together comprise approximately 100,000m². The new workshops will feature environmental friendly and modern technologies.
The announcement was made during a visit of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Mercedes-Benz plant in East London.
Mercedes-Benz Cars production and supply chain divisional board member Markus Schäfer said: “With the investment of €600m we are significantly expanding our plant in East London and equipping it for the future.
“The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz South Africa. The investment is also a sign of our commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region.”
The new body shop will be designed for higher capacities and will feature more than 500 IoT-ready robots laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 readiness.
The company said that three additional lines will be installed in the assembly shop in the current building.
Energy consumption during the production of each vehicle will be further reduced by 25% in the East London plant.
Other green initiatives include on-site battery storage container, rain water harvesting on rooftops, water storage of one million litres and the creation of green corridors.
Ramaphosa said: “A central priority for government this year has been to encourage significant new investment in our economy, necessary to realise economic growth, employment and reduce inequality.
“The announcement by Mercedes-Benz Cars to inject R10bn in the South African economy signals to the positive momentum we are making to realise the ambitious target of raising R1.2tn in new investment.
“This investment by Mercedes-Benz Cars endorses South Africa as a favourable destination for investment; and correspondingly, demonstrates our determination to work with all social partners to seize the opportunities that are opening up for greater investment and faster growth.”
Image: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Markus Schäfer of Mercedes-Benz Cars during the announcement of the plant expansion in South Africa. Photo: courtesy of Daimler AG.