Jaco van der Merwe
Head of Motoring
2 minute read
25 Jun 2021
9:29 am

Mercedes-Benz C-Class production receives R3bn boost

Jaco van der Merwe

Upgraded East London assembly plant set to further ramp up its production of the fifth generation of Mercedes-Benz's popular C-Class sedan.

Mercedes-Benz Cars has given the South African economy a further boost. Picture: iStock

South Africa’s booming vehicle manufacturing industry received another boost with Mercedes-Benz Cars announcing an additional R3-billion investment into the East London plant.

The new injection comes on the back of the R10-billion investment in 2018 in preparation for the production of the next generation C-Class model. Since 2018 the plant has seen the additional of additional three assembly lines.

The Mercedes-Benz plant has been upgraded significantly and now features environmentally-friendly buildings which included a technologically advanced paint shop, body shop, assembly and logistics warehouse. More than 700 tons of steel was used to construct the new buildings which comprise an area of approximately 100 000 square meters. They are now two thirds bigger than before.

Founded in 1948 and employing more than 3 000 workers, the East London plant is one of the biggest vehicle assembly facilities in South Africa. In May, more than 5 000 Mercedes-Benz cars built there were exported.

Other recent local assembly plant investments include Ford Motor Company’s R15.8-billion investment in February to upgrade its Silverton facility for the new Ranger, and Nissan’s R3-billion injection into their Rosslyn operations to build the new Navara.

ALSO READ: Ford invests nearly R16 billion in SA, creating 1 200 new jobs

The automotive manufacturing sector, which includes vehicle and components production, rates as the largest manufacturing sector in South Africa’s economy. It’s contribution to the gross domestic product is almost 7%.

“South Africa is an important location in our global Mercedes-Benz production network. The team in East London made a remarkable contribution to the international ramp-up of the new C-Class that we produce through efficient, flexible, digital and sustainable operations.

“With our additional invest of R3bn in East London plant, we underline our commitment to contributing to the South African economy and the Eastern Cape region,” said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The fifth generation C-Class, which uses the internal W206 moniker, made its international debut in February. It is expected to be rolled out locally later in 2021.