500,000th Mercedes-Benz passenger car rolls off production line in Beijing; about half in last two years
The 500,000th locally produced Mercedes-Benz passenger car, a long-wheelbase C-Class model, has rolled off the production lines at Daimler’s Sino-German production joint-venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), marking yet another milestone in Mercedes-Benz’s increasing local footprint in China. About half of these vehicles have been manufactured just within the last two years, highlighting the rapid growth that the production site has recently experienced.
Continuous investment in localization is one of our key growth drivers for Mercedes-Benz’s future in China, and it is clear proof of our confidence in and dedication to this strategically important market. Going forward, we are determined to pick up the pace even more as we just signed a 1 billion Euro agreement with our partner for the localization of further compact car models. BBAC is undoubtedly on its path to become the largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car plant worldwide.—Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Greater China
BBAC, a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor, has produced Mercedes-Benz cars since 2006 and engines since 2013. Last year, around 120,000 vehicles rolled off the Beijing-based production lines, accounting for approximately one-half of Mercedes-Benz’s total sales volume in China. This figure is expected to grow significantly by the end of next year, based on production capacities reaching well beyond 200,000 units.
The all-new long-wheelbase C-Class will significantly contribute to this in its first full-year after its launch this August, and the localized GLA compact SUV will, from early 2015 on, support as an additional growth driver. The constant growth of BBAC is backed by strong funding: the two shareholders are jointly investing €4 billion (US$4.95 billion) in the company through 2015.
About €400 million (US$495 million) has been spent solely on the first ever Mercedes-Benz passenger car engine plant outside of Germany. Inaugurated about a year ago, it marks another important milestone in Mercedes-Benz’s localization strategy. The facility produces 4- and 6-cylinder engines for locally produced passenger cars and vans built by Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC). The production line has been designed for flexibility, with an annual capacity of 250,000 units for the first phase. Higher numbers will be planned in line with the ongoing growth in unit sales.
This summer BBAC inaugurated an all-new R&D Center, the largest of Daimler’s joint venture R&D centers in the world. A team of about 180 experts is working on vehicle related series projects, component and vehicle testing and supporting all production tests as well as localization. The facility has various test laboratories and benches, such as for engines, emissions, and climate & corrosion, and a proving ground. An endurance and analysis workshop is also on-site, as are laboratories for the quality teams. In Mercedes-Benz’s first prototype workshop outside Germany, offline try outs for homologation, training, and fitment tests are prepared.