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Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant to produce compact electric EQ vehicles; 3rd center of competence for EQ models in Germany

Mercedes-Benz announced that its Rastatt plant—the company’s lead plant in global production of compact cars—will produce compact-class electric EQ models in the future. The decision is based on a declaration of intent, which the company has set up with the works council. All three German Mercedes-Benz car plants—Rastatt, Bremen and Sindelfingen—will now produce EQ-brand EVs.

Future EQ models can be integrated in the series production of existing Mercedes-Benz plants on four continents. With highly flexible structures, the plants already can produce vehicles with different drive types on the same line. The company will decide on the basis of market demand which foreign locations will produce further EQ models within the production network.

In 2015, Rastatt plant management and works council reached an agreement for competitiveness and future development and agreed to produce the next Mercedes-Benz compact car generation in Rastatt.

Building on the experience gained during the series production of electric vehicles at the location, the workforce is being prepared for the new models and further technological developments with comprehensive training programs. The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant is running at high capacity utilization, and currently creating the conditions for the production start of the next compact car generation in 2018. This includes constructing two new body shops on the site, as well as a training center. The new training center is the central facility for training the plant’s workforce, as well as for the employees in the worldwide compact car production compound.

We are making a decisive step towards digitalization and new technologies. Having met all the requirements, the Rastatt team is ready for the challenges. Together with our ambitious colleagues, we as a works council want to help to shape the change in the automotive industry for electric mobility. We have laid the foundation for this.

—Ullrich Zinnert, Chairman of the Works Council at Mercedes-Benz Rastatt

With the Concept EQ, Mercedes-Benz Cars presented a new generation of electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) More than ten new electric passenger cars are scheduled to be launched by 2022 in all segments from smart to large SUVs. Ten billion euros (US$11.2 billion) will be invested in the expansion of the electric fleet in the next few years.

The new electric vehicles will be produced within the global, highly flexible and efficient production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars with plants on four continents. The first EQ series model—the EQC—will roll off the line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen in the year 2019. In addition to that, luxury-class EQ models will be produced at the plant in Sindelfingen. (Earlier post.)

The company assumes that the proportion of electric vehicles in the total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz will be between 15 and 25 percent by 2025. In addition to traction batteries, ACCUMOTIVE will produce batteries for Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and 48-volt-systems. (Earlier post.) The pioneering 48-volt on-board power supply is celebrating its premiere in the new generation of the S-Class and will be gradually introduced in various model series.

The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant in Germany is the biggest employer in the region, with a workforce of around 6,500 employees. The A-Class, B-Class and the compact SUV GLA are manufactured at the location. In 2016, more than 300,000 vehicles rolled off its production lines. The production compound of the current compact car generation further includes the plant in Kecskemét, Hungary (production: B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake), the Chinese production location BBAC (Beijing-Benz Automotive Co. Ltd—joint venture between Daimler AG and BAIC Motor; production: GLA) and the Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive (production: A-Class). In 2017, the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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