It really sounds great, when the manufacturer says: we have, e.g., sold 7,5 million of this model. Who even considers the fact, that in this time, all these cars also have to be produced?
This consideration is valid, e.g., for the C-Class. Already in the past, the sales managers have managed to come to terms with the basic problem of selling, only then to be unpleasantly confronted by the length of the delivery-times. Thus, for a long time now, the so-called 'bread-and-butter' or 'world-cars' are no longer produced in only one factory.
In the case of the C-Class, there are four production plants: Bremen (BRD), Tuscaloosa (USA), Peking (China) and East London (South Africa), whereby the plant in Bremen probably functions as a controller. According to Daimler, the respective investments amounted to €2 million in the first two years, roughly double the budget for the further development of a vehicle.
Well, that's life. If one isn't successful, the dissatisfaction descends on one like a blanket. On the other hand, should one be successful, it's not that easy either. Then the final result of all the finished vehicles, must be one step better. Above all, one cannot tolerate quality-differences between the various factories, even though one is also dealing with completely different suppliers.
Daimler gives the number of foreign employees who are trained for the new C-Class, at being 300. Apart from the training centre in Bremen, there also used to be a development-centre in Sindelfingen. With a half-and-half alloy of steel and aluminium, perhaps more knowhow is necessary than when using only one metal. The various changes made, from model to model are noticed, but not the changes in the manufacturing procedure.
The way that the factory in Bremen has developed is also interesting. This is the former Borgward-factory from 1938, which after its bankruptcy, was taken over by Hanomag. With the takeover, in 1971 the factory fell completely into the hands of Mercedes, where, only in 1978, did the production begin. Today, it is the second largest after Sindelfingen. If in the year 2011, it had reached its highest production rate, and we go out from approx. 250 working days per annum, then, when working two shifts, one car left the production line in much less than a minute.
Here, apart from the coupés- and convertibles, mainly the C-class is produced. The factory covers an area of 1,5 km². If this were a square, one would have to walk 4 X 1,25 kms , i.e. 5 km, to get around the whole plant. One third of the area is covered by buildings. According to Mercedes, the number of employees is given at approx. 12.500. 02/14