by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Production milestone at Bremen: One millionth roadster rolls off the line

The first car with a star to roll off the production line in 1978 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen was the E-Class Estate. With the introduction of the SL series in 1989, the Bremen team gained know-how on the production of premium roadster. In 1996 came the "little brother" of the SL: the all new SLK. Both models have now reached the third model generation to be assembled at the Bremen factory. The ceremonial handover of the one millionth roadster to its owner gathered around 300 guests at the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center in the city on the Weser river.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Sales and Marketing, and plant manager Andreas Kellermann handed over the keys of the anniversary vehicle, a black-coloured SL 63 AMG, to a customer from Diepholz / Lower Saxony. "We are very proud to have sent one million roadsters on the road. The three generations of the SL and SLK built at Bremen stand themselves for the technical vehicles advancement and for the of state-of-the-art technology in production. Unchanged remains the passion which the Bremen team manufactures the SLK and the SL with. It makes an important contribution to ensuring that our roadsters are highly sought after worldwide," Kellermann said.

Overview of the roadster production at the Bremen plant

- 1989: Start of production for the SL Series (R 129)
- 1996: Start of production of the SLK (R 170)
- 2001: A new generation of the SL is launched (R 230)
- 2004: The second generation SLK starts assembly (R 171)
- 2011: The new SLK celebrates world premiere (R 172)
- 2012: The new SL comes with an innovative all-aluminum body (R 231)

About the SL and SLK

In 1952, the forefather of the SL came as a racing car on the international circuits. In 1954, Mercedes-Benz launched the first production model: the legendary 300 SL Gullwing. 1963, 1971, 1989, 2001 and 2012 were followed by new generations of the SL roadster series. The early generations were produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Since 1989, the Bremen has joined the production network for open-top models. Over 675,000 units of the SL rolled off the band after production started in 1954. The iconic sports car finds more and more enthusiastic drivers: in 2012, 10.700 cars were delivered to customers, three times compared to 2011. The United States is by far the largest market for the SL, nearly half of the vehicles being sold there. The legendary roadster is also very popular on the home market in Germany and in Japan. For the assembly of the current series, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen expanded its technological expertise and introduced innovative all-aluminum shell construction standards for future-oriented automotive production. The new SL is up to 140 kg lighter than its predecessor.

In 1994, Mercedes-Benz showcased the compact SLK roadster at the Turin Motor Show as a study. World premiere of the serial model came in 1996 when the "little brother of the SL" celebrated official introduction in Turin. In 2000, the SLK received an extensive facelift. Four years later, the second generation of the SLK was presented at the Geneva Motor Show. 2008 brought the facelift for the second generation. In 2011, the third generation of the SLK hit the market. To date, the SLK has inspired more than 600,000 customers worldwide. In 2012, there were 31,800 deliveries, which makes the SLK the market leader in its segment.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen

With over 12,500 employees, the Bremen plant is the largest private employer in the region. Currently at the site, eight models are produced: the C-Class Sedan, the C-Class Estate and the C-Coupe; the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, the GLK, and the SLK and SL roadsters. In 2012, the plant has produced more than 316,000 vehicles - an all-time record. As a center of excellence for the new C-Class, which celebrates world premiere in 2014, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen also controls the entire production network of the new high-volume series which integrated further foreign factories in Tuscaloosa / USA, Beijing / China and East London / South Africa.

Credits: Daimler AG

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