After a production suspension period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercedes-Benz car plants have successfully restarted production step by step. From June onwards, all Mercedes-Benz AG plants worldwide will be restarted. On April 20th, the engine and component plants in Germany gradually resumed production first, followed by the Mercedes-Benz car assembly plants. The international Mercedes-Benz production sites have also incrementally resumed production in parallel. The health and safety of everyone involved is of the highest priority for Mercedes-Benz. The production ramp-up is designed to be flexible in order to be able to react to current developments and country-specific regulations. In resuming production in a coordinated manner, Mercedes-Benz is continuing its product and electric offensive and thereby also serving its largest sales market in China, where the company is seeing a significant increase in demand again.
Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain Management: “Together with the whole team, I am glad that we are gradually restarting our production in a coordinated manner. Flexibility is what counts here: our plants’ flexibility is one of our strategic focuses in production and that has helped us in this ramp-up. Our first priority is to further contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide a safe working environment for our employees, suppliers and service providers. We are producing in compliance with extensive safety measures and we will be increasing our production step by step.”
Mercedes-Benz powertrain plants in Germany
The Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant restarted production on the 20th of April after a suspension period. The Stuttgart plant produces engines and components that are required for production at Mercedes-Benz assembly plants worldwide – the same applies to the Kölleda and Arnstadt plants (MDC Power and MDC Technology). Similarly, the Mercedes-Benz Berlin plant has resumed its production, e.g. of Camtronic engine management units. The same applies to the Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant that produces axles and axle components for Mercedes-Benz vehicle production around the world. As part of Mercedes-Benz’s electric offensive, the Kamenz battery plants of Mercedes-Benz subsidiary Accumotive – which produce batteries for the EQ family, as well as drive batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles and 48V batteries – continued their operations during the production suspension, working on strategic ramp-up projects on a 2-shift basis with strictly staggered shifts and extensive safety measures for the employees.
Mercedes-Benz car assembly plants Germany
The gradual restart of the Mercedes-Benz car assembly plants began on the 27th of April. At the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant, production capacities are gradually being increased for the entire product range, which includes the bestselling SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLC. At the same time, production of the EQC (combined electrical consumption: 20.8–19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km) is being gradually ramped up on the same line as part of the electric offensive. The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant production includes the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the S-Class Saloon, the world’s bestselling luxury saloon in 2019, for which China was the largest market last year. The E-Class and S-Class electrified models, hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, are also produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. This year Mercedes-Benz will start producing the new S-Class in the new “Factory 56” in Sindelfingen, which will open in September 2020. The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant is the lead plant for the worldwide production of the high-volume Mercedes-Benz compact cars: in 2019, one in four Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold worldwide was a compact car. The A-Class Sedan, A-Class and B-Class as well as the compact SUV GLA are manufactured in Rastatt. Since this year, the plug-in hybrid variants of the A- and B-Class are also being produced here.
Mercedes-Benz global production network
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations (MO) is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network. After a country-specific period of work suspension, all Mercedes-Benz AG car plants worldwide will be restarting from June. Production in China has been gradually resumed since the 10th of February, 2020. In parallel to the restart of the German Mercedes-Benz production locations, all other international locations have resumed operations since the middle of April. These include the plants in Sebes / Cugir (Romania) that manufacture transmissions for Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the Mercedes-Benz passenger car assembly plants in Kecskemét (Hungary), an important part of the global compact car production network, in Tuscaloosa (USA), the longstanding location for SUV production, and in East London (South Africa), a part of the global production network for the C-Class, which have all restarted production. The Hambach (France) plant, which produces the electric smart EQ models, has also been gradually ramping up operations since June 2nd.
To protect its employees, the company has taken precautions to prevent infection and has agreed on a comprehensive set of measures with the General Works Council, which were introduced in the plants. These include hygiene and cleaning standards, as well as regulations for maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres and for the use of masks covering mouth and nose in production.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daimler decided to suspend most of its production as well as work in selected administrative areas in Europe for an initial two-week period (23rd of March to the 5th of April, 2020). This was followed by short-time work in Germany starting April 6. The situation within the company remains varied. Short-time work is being continued in certain areas. The short-time work affects the Group’s car, van and commercial vehicle plants in Germany. Necessary basic functions as well as future planning and strategic projects were excluded from short-time work so that work can quickly resume after the crisis. Country-specific arrangements apply for the international locations. In this respect the company is following the recommendations of international, national and local authorities. Daimler’s management is monitoring the situation constantly and will take further measures as required.