The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, around 20 kilometers away of the company headquarters in Stuttgart, is commencing production of the compact SUV GLA as part of the pilot project ”Innovation Factory.”” The framework conditions for the project have been agreed between the management and the Works Council. Within the global production network, the Sindelfingen plant is the center of competence for rear-wheel drive vehicles in the luxury and upper-range classes.
Production of the GLA starting in the first quarter of 2018 marks the first time that a compact vehicle with front-wheel drive will be manufactured at the site.
The pilot project is scheduled to last around two years. It comprises virtually all aspects of production, from manufacturing technologies with a low degree of automation and state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 solutions, through to logistics and work organisation with flexible shift models. For this, Hall 32 of the plant will be appropriately equipped. ”The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is in the biggest modernisation phase of its more than one-hundred-year history. With the ‘Innovation Factory’ pilot project, we use the outstanding know-how, flexibility and high level of motivation of our employees and help to shape the future of production at Mercedes-Benz Cars. This is a key step in the transformation of the plant. At the same time we are supporting our global production network by making additional capacity available in the short term,” said Michael Bauer, site manager and head of production of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant.
The GLA has been rolling off the production line at the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant since 2013, and since 2015 also at the Chinese production site of BBAC in Beijing. The lead plant in Rastatt, around 90 kilometers away from Stuttgart, which is already running at full capacity, is currently preparing for the start-up of the next compact car generation and needs additional capacity. The very successful current generation of the GLA will therefore also be produced at the Sindelfingen plant from the first quarter of 2018 until the end of its life cycle.
Mercedes-Benz Cars is adopting the so-called ”full-flex assembly“ at its passenger car plants. With this concept, the assembly lines and plants are optimally prepared for possible changes to the overall conditions. For example, different vehicle architectures (rear- and front-wheel drive) and their derivatives can be produced in a single plant. This also applies for different drive types, from vehicles with combustion engine and models with hybrid and plug-in drives to full electric vehicles.
Successful compact SUV
The GLA was presented for the first time in 2013 and advanced overnight to become a successful model in its segment. Since the market launch of the GLA in 2014, more than 500,000 customers have already decided for the compact SUV. The GLA is most successful in the markets of China, United States, Germany and Great Britain. The success story of the compact car family from Mercedes-Benz began some 20 years ago with the A-Class at the Rastatt plant, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Since 1997 more than 5.5 million customers have decided to buy an A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake or GLA model. And the success story continues: in future, Mercedes-Benz will have eight models in the compact car segment. Mercedes-Benz provided a look ahead this year when the Concept A Sedan show car was presented at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017. A glimpse of what electric mobility might look like was displayed by Mercedes-Benz in the guise of the Concept EQA at this year’s IAA show.
The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is the location for the production of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (sedan and estate), the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake, the S-Class (sedan, coupé and cabriolet), the Mercedes-Maybach and the Mercedes-AMG GT. Around 200 vehicles a day are delivered at the Mercedes-Benz customer center in Sindelfingen.