Series production of the new E-Class Cabriolet has started at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. The open four-seater with a classic fabric soft top combines puristic, sensuous design with long-distance comfort for four occupants and the latest technology. This includes comprehensive smartphone integration with a wireless charging and key function, a widescreen cockpit and the latest assistance systems. The market launch is in late summer 2017.
“The new E-Class Cabriolet with its wide variety of equipment choices is an outstanding example of the high level of variance that we implement today in our plants. Maximum flexibility is a central success factor in the production strategy of Mercedes-Benz Cars. With its strong team and start-up experience over recent years, the Bremen plant sets standards in the global production network,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
Completely renewed product range
The production start of the new Cabriolet is a milestone for the Bremen production site: within a period of three years, the plant has completely renewed its product range consisting of ten models. “With the production start of the E-Class Cabriolet we have successfully managed the latest in a whole series of start-ups,” said plant manager Peter Theurer. “This means that the team in Bremen has maximum production flexibility across the whole range of models, variants and drive systems. Thus, we are very well positioned for the future, and can respond rapidly to customer demand.” By the end of the decade, the portfolio of vehicles “Made in Bremen” will comprise the full range of intelligent drive systems – from classic combustion engine and plug-in hybrids through to fuel cell and electric vehicles.”
Intelligent production concept for maximum variety
In the assembly shop, the new E-Class Cabriolet is produced on the same line as the E-Class Coupé, the C-Class Coupé and the C-Class Cabriolet. During the start-up phase, the Bremen team worked together closely with colleagues from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, where the Saloon and Estate models as parts of the product family are produced. The transfer of know-how and experience between the plants has proved successful over several years, and strengthens the bond between the start-up teams. Together, the three-dimensional, virtual assembly of the vehicle was tested in so-called digital workshops, and training courses on the complex special equipment were carried out.
The wide range of features makes the E-Class Cabriolet require production efficiency and flexibility, which is also achieved by using intelligent logistical concepts. Driverless transport systems deliver baskets containing the precise components and parts required for the individual vehicle to the production line, where they are then fitted without the need for intermediate buffering. Thanks to early involvement of the start-up team in vehicle development, the working procedures in production are initially optimized in terms of buildability and ergonomics. The Bremen team also employs digital communication technologies: the so-called “Q-Gate,” for example, allows live visualization of the production stages on the line, making digital quality control processes possible in real time. Besides, the concept of a paperless factory that replaces documentation of the individual working stages on paper is being gradually integrated into the production shops using the latest data transfer methods and new hardware solutions.
About the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant
With a workforce of more than 12,500 employees, the Mercedes-Benz plant at Bremen is the largest private-sector employer in the region. Ten models are currently produced at the plant: the Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet of the C-Class, the Coupé and Cabriolet of the E-Class, the GLC, the GLC Coupé, the SLC and SL roadsters. The plant received the “Factory of the Year” award in 2015 in the large-scale production category. As the lead plant for the C-Class, Bremen oversees worldwide production of Mercedes-Benz’s highest-volume model series at the company’s plants in Tuscaloosa in the US, Beijing in China and East London in South Africa. Production of the GLC, too, is directed from Bremen as the main production location.