by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Daimler AG Extends Local Production of Mercedes-Benz SUVs in Emerging Markets

For the first time, Daimler will start the final assembly of the SUV model series for the new Mercedes-Benz M- and GL-Class outside the SUV parent plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama, USA. The necessary preparations at the selected three production sites in India, Thailand and Indonesia are proceeding full steam ahead: Later on in the year, final assembly of the M-Class using SKD kits (semi-knocked-down – complete bodywork and further vehicle components) will start there for the respective local market. These kits are produced in Tuscaloosa, prepared for shipping and sent on their journey to the final assembly plants.

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans: “Our new SUVs are very popular with our customers. We expect high growth rates also in the emerging markets and therefore extend our local production. Thus, we open up new potential as part of our growth strategy.” The company is expanding its range of vehicle kits available for local final assembly in different markets with two additional, highly attractive model series by the new Mercedes-Benz M- and GL-Class. Following the start of production of the M-Class in India, Thailand and Indonesia this year, the first units of the new GL-Class made from SKD kits will roll off the assembly line in India and Indonesia in the course of 2013.

The Mercedes-Benz plant Tuscaloosa is responsible for the provision of the M- and GL-Class vehicle kits – from the bodywork and gathering the assembly parts together to preparing them for shipping and up to the global supply of the assembly plants. A new SKD logistics center recently entered operation for this purpose. It is operated by the logistics service provider BLG and works closely with the Mercedes-Benz plant as well as with Daimler’s central international manufacturing control in Sindelfingen. Further vehicle parts such as engines and transmissions are delivered directly to the relevant destination via the Powertrain plant’s logistic center in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.

About the kit assembly of Mercedes-Benz vehicles

The kit assembly has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz. As far back as the 1950s, the first vehicle parts kits were delivered from Sindelfingen to all over the world. Up to the present day, final assembly of kits for Mercedes-Benz cars has taken place in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
The set of assembly sites currently covers Egypt (C-, E-, S-, GLK-Class), India (C-, E-, S-Class; M- and GL-Class to be added in the future), Indonesia (C-, E-, S-Class; M- and GL-Class to be added in the future), Malaysia (C-, E-, S-Class), Thailand (C-, E-, S-Class; M-Class to be added in the future) and Vietnam (C-, E-, GLK-Class).

The cost effectiveness of this production model is ensured by a high degree of standardisation as well as by the use of existing tried-and-tested Daimler processes and systems.

Credits: Daimler AG

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