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Mercedes-Benz Kicks Off Production of A-Class

New compact car to built in Hungary as well as Germany.

by on Apr.20, 2018

Dieter Zetsche introduces the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class wagon and sedan in Amsterdam.

During the last few years, Mercedes-Benz has followed a dual strategy, promoting its high-end luxury cars while expanding into the compact segments as it overtakes key rivals such as BMW and Audi.

Mercedes is now building the new A-Class at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt, some 60 miles from the headquarters of its parent company, Daimler AG, in Stuttgart, Germany. The A-Class is also scheduled to roll off the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz plant Kecskemét, Hungary, in just a few weeks.

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“Mercedes-Benz Cars starts an unprecedented ramp-up cascade with the A-Class. In our global production network, we can ramp-up the production of our vehicles in proven top quality and supply the global market even faster. Using modern industry 4.0 technologies our plants are becoming even more flexible and efficient,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production & Supply Chain.

The new A-Class is the first model of the fourth generation of compact cars and replaces the predecessor model produced since 2012. The compact car family currently consists of five models: A-, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA. In future there will be eight models within that portfolio.

(Mercedes takes covers off fourth-generation A-Class. Click Here for the story.)

The A-Class will be manufactured along with the GLC on the same line at Valet Automotive in Finland.

Rastatt in Germany is the lead plant for compact cars in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The plant is responsible for control and planning as well as quality and supplier management on a global basis.

In addition, to the Kecskemét plant, versions of the A-Class will also be assembled at Beijing-Benz Automotive Co. Ltd. in China and at the Finnish production partner Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki.

The production of the A-Class in Kecskemét and at Valmet Automotive will start in the second quarter of 2018 with support from Rastatt.

Later in 2018, the joint venture production plant COMPAS – Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes – in Aguascalientes in Central Mexico will begin producing compact models, expanding the global compact car production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“Our Rastatt team has done a great job in the last months. We have mastered the demanding production program of the current generation of compact cars, successfully completed the ramp-up of the new A-Class at our plant and at the same time optimally prepared our colleagues in the other compact car plants,” noted Thomas Geier, site manager Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant.

All Mercedes-Benz plants in the global production network are connected via the “Integra” system. Thus, for example, the Rastatt plant, as the lead plant for the compact models worldwide, can access data from all other locations of the production network and – if necessary – remotely connect to systems and robots or install programs and test them prior to commissioning.

(Click Here for the first look at the new Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.)

The system allows for improvements to move through all of the plants in the network. In addition, modern digital production technologies and forward-looking industry 4.0 solutions are used:

The concept of a “paperless factory”, which replaces the documentation of the individual work steps on paper, will be successively integrated by means of state-of-the-art data transmission and new hardware solutions. Additional mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and smart watches support employees in the individual work steps.

The new A-Class has an optional head-up display. Important information is projected directly into the driver’s field of vision on the windscreen.

To ensure that the display is within the driver’s field of vision, it must be adjusted after installation. At the new A-Class a new and particularly simple process is used for this purpose. This can be done at selected points on the assembly line.

An employee sits behind the steering wheel with a tablet computer equipped with two additional cameras. One camera measures the tablet to a specific point in the instrument panel. Arrows on the screen tell the employee where to place the tablet.

(“Hey Mercedes! Let’s you have a conversation with your A-Class. Click Here for the story.)

Within the global Mercedes-Benz production network, the Rastatt plant is the lead plant for the production of compact cars worldwide. The A- and B-Class as well as the compact SUV GLA are manufactured at the location. In 2017, more than 330,000 vehicles rolled off its production lines.

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