Mercedes-Benz To Invest Over $1 Billion Into Factory Responsible For Production Of Electrified Powertrains

APR 21 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 14

Mercedes-Benz C 350 Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz C 350 Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz has announced a massive $1 billion investment into a factory that’s largely responsible for production of Mercedes’ electrified vehicle components.

Here are the parts (related to electric cars) of the announcement:

Peter Schabert, Head of Powertrain Production and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant: “The plant will thus receive investments amounting into the billions over the next few years for the realignment and modernization of our production.”

Daimler is comprehensively modernizing the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, and is transforming the location with its rich history into a center of competence for production ranging from highly efficient engines to alternative drive systems.

The Untertürkheim plant will become a center of competence for highly efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and the production of fuel cell systems. From June 1, Untertürkheim will assume responsibility for a facility in Nabern in the greater Stuttgart area where assembly of the fuel cell system will take place. The Nabern facility will remain the center of competence for the overall development of fuel cell drive systems under the direction of Daimler AG. “Alternative drive systems are an important element of our future mobility. Their share of automotive production is set to steadily rise over the next few years, complementing our highly efficient engines within the portfolio. This is what we have laid the groundwork for today,” said Schäfer. At Daimler, the electrification of the powertrain has long been on the agenda with regard to the future of mobility. The company already offers a wide range of battery-electric vehicles and hybrids around the world. The PLUG-IN HYBRID will be the front-running technology for the next decade at least. With the S 500 and C 350, a total of ten new Mercedes-Benz PLUG-IN HYBRID models will be on the market by 2017. In addition to introducing more battery-electric models in the next few years, Daimler continues to pursue the aim to bring to market competitive electric vehicles powered by fuel cells – a clear statement for sustainable mobility of the future.

Full press release:

Transformation plan for the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant: Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant to Become High-Tech Location

Company and works council agree on a transformation plan for Daimler’s original plant: comprehensive modernization and long-term job security

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management: “The transformation plan is a groundbreaking achievement for the Untertürkheim plant and its employees. We are not only improving our flexibility and efficiency, but also developing a plant with a tradition stretching back over 110 years into a high-tech location for CO2 technologies.”

Peter Schabert, Head of Powertrain Production and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant: “The plant will thus receive investments amounting into the billions over the next few years for the realignment and modernization of our production.”

Wolfgang Nieke, Chairman of the Works Council, Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant and Development Passenger Cars: “With this agreement, we are safeguarding the location and its jobs for the future. The agreement contains binding commitments regarding investment, additional production volumes and products, and the production of of fuel cell systems as a key technology of the future. 150 additional positions in vocational training are a particularly good sign for us.”

Stuttgart, Germany – Daimler is comprehensively modernizing the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, and is transforming the location with its rich history into a center of competence for production ranging from highly efficient engines to alternative drive systems. At the same time, the company is investing about one billion euros in Untertürkheim this year. The plant’s management and its works council have agreed on a package of measures that will safeguard the location’s competitive position and employment levels for years to come. The number of vocational training positions will also be increased by a total of 150 for five years starting from 2016.

This agreement will lead to cost savings in the range of hundreds of millions of euros until 2020.

“The transformation plan is a groundbreaking achievement for the Untertürkheim plant and its employees. We are not only improving our flexibility and efficiency, but also developing a plant with a tradition stretching back over 110 years into a high-tech location for CO2 technologies,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim with approximately 18,700 employees has been operating at high capacity utilization for years. Last year, Mercedes-Benz Cars as a whole set new records with over 1.75 million vehicles produced and more than 1.72 million sold. As part of its Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy, Mercedes-Benz is continuing to plan for significantly rising production volumes in the mid-term, offering stable employment at its Untertürkheim plant for the future as well.

Wolfgang Nieke, Chairman of the Works Council, Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant and Development Passenger Cars: “With this agreement, we are safeguarding the location and its jobs for the future. The agreement contains binding commitments regarding investment, additional production volumes and products, and the production of fuel cell systems as a key technology of the future. This has been one of our aims for years. The structure of the location will change, but the number of jobs will remain stable for many years and working conditions will be maintained. The 150 additional positions in vocational training are a particularly good sign for us.”

The Untertürkheim plant will become a center of competence for highly efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and the production of fuel cell systems. From June 1, Untertürkheim will assume responsibility for a facility in Nabern in the greater Stuttgart area where assembly of the fuel cell system will take place. The Nabern facility will remain the center of competence for the overall development of fuel cell drive systems under the direction of Daimler AG. “Alternative drive systems are an important element of our future mobility. Their share of automotive production is set to steadily rise over the next few years, complementing our highly efficient engines within the portfolio. This is what we have laid the groundwork for today,” said Schäfer. At Daimler, the electrification of the powertrain has long been on the agenda with regard to the future of mobility. The company already offers a wide range of battery-electric vehicles and hybrids around the world. The PLUG-IN HYBRID will be the front-running technology for the next decade at least. With the S 500 and C 350, a total of ten new Mercedes-Benz PLUG-IN HYBRID models will be on the market by 2017. In addition to introducing more battery-electric models in the next few years, Daimler continues to pursue the aim to bring to market competitive electric vehicles powered by fuel cells – a clear statement for sustainable mobility of the future.

The traditional production of engines, transmissions, axles and components at the Untertürkheim plant will be comprehensively realigned, and further capacities will be added. The focus of the efforts to streamline and modernize the product portfolio is to keep in-house products with competitive relevance and to assign other tasks to suppliers. The foundry in Esslingen-Mettingen and the forge in Untertürkheim are integral parts of the plant and will remain so in the future.

In addition, assembly capacities for engines in Untertürkheim will also be significantly increased. The plant will add to its engine portfolio two new gasoline engines and a new four-cylinder diesel engine. With respect to transmissions, the plant will focus exclusively on the production of automatic transmissions for rear-wheel drive vehicles while building up additional assembly lines over the next few years. Peter Schabert, Head of Powertrain Production and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant: “The plant will thus receive investments amounting into the billions over the next few years for the realignment and modernization of our production.”

About the Mercedes-Benz Cars powertrain production network

The powertrain production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars comprises several locations in Germany and other countries. The central location is the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, which has been in operation for more than 110 years. In its six sub-plants with approximately 18,700 employees in production and administration the core of the automobile is produced: engines, transmissions, axles and related components. The plant is the center of competence in the global powertrain production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin, Germany, focuses on the development and production of state-of-the-art components and parts, as well as engine production. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Hamburg, Germay, develops and produces axles and axle components, steering columns and components for exhaust technology and lightweight structural components. The MDC Power engine factory in Kölleda, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG and produces four-cylinder engines for Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG vehicles.

Further powertrain production capacities are located in other countries. This includes Daimler’s Romanian subsidiary Star Transmission for the assembly of transmissions and the production of components and parts, as well as engine plants in Beijing, China as part of a joint venture and the Infiniti plant in Decherd, Tennessee as part of the strategic partnership between Daimler and the Renault/Nissan Alliance.

About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations

Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at 26 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network involving more than 70,000 employees. This includes the central functions of planning, logistics and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 1,754,000 Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the fourth record in a row.

The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production network (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production networks is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance.

The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.

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14 Comments on "Mercedes-Benz To Invest Over $1 Billion Into Factory Responsible For Production Of Electrified Powertrains"

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Guess Tesla is giving the luxury automakers a kick in the bum to get EV’s going.

I wonder how much longer it would have taken EV’s to start taking off had it not been for the Model S proving automakers wrong regarding people not wanting EV’s.

You’re exactly right. I saw one analyst who surmised that Tesla advanced the entire EV industry by 10 years, and I agree. For some reason many people who remain ignorant of EV’s love to hate Tesla, but for that reason entirely, they’ve already been incredibly successful.

Actually, there are more then a few people who own plug-ins yet still feel compelled to constantly bash Tesla.

I tend to avoid the Volt forum for that very reason, there are many presumed Volt owners who constantly stroke their egos that they bought a better car then Tesla while not understanding that if it wasn’t for Tesla the excellent Volt would never have been built.

I put it down to people who are basically insecure so they make themselves feel better by bashing Tesla.

As one of the over 24,000 members of gm-volt.com I must say that there is a wide variety of owners. Some would like to treat the Volt like an EV, others depend one the range extender and never bother with public charging, and many others in the middle. There is very little Tesla bashing other than a few vocal members. I would say it is one of the most even tempered and helpful forums on the Internet.

Everyone knows that Tesla inspired the Volt into being, nobody is in denial about that.

The general consensus is that marketing executives at Daimler, Audi, Porsche, Infinity, Lexus and Cadillac have each concluded that the sale of a Tesla is a sale their brand lost! Thus the Tesla Sales Multiplier Effect (TSME) is as much as six times the reality…and that accounts for the sudden motivation at those manufacturers…even though test sales are running “only” about 50,000 per year.

I think the ever more stringent fuel economy regulations and CO2 emissions regulations all around the globe are forcing automakers to add PHEVs into their lineups (especially CUVs & SUVs) to meet new MPG requirements and CO2 requirements. Tesla, however, did light a fire (no pun intended) with regards to BEV luxury sedans and BEV sports cars. 😉

“Over $1 Billion Into Factory Responsible For Production Of Electrified Powertrains”

Of course, GM and Nissan made such investments years ago, so they could produce the Volt and the Leaf starting in 2010. In fact, GM probably invested that much back in the days of the EV1.

Has Mercedes-Benz waited too long to start serious development of EVs? Will they be able to survive the EV revolution? Unfortunately it’s a very -slow- revolution, so we’ll likely have to wait 20 years or so for the answer to that question.

There’s no revolution. It is evolution. Most producers and consumers are timid and slow to adopt new technology. But it is happening.

Primarily they intend to build PHEV’s and FCEV’s, but I am surprised to see they alse plan to build several BEV’s as well. Let’s hope they are better propositions than the B-Class ED. (No fast charging)

At what point (if any) do you all think that EV drivetrains will be commoditized? It seems to me that they’re simple enough that there shouldn’t be much differentiation (as there with with say small block chevy vs small block ford designs). Is it really necessary for every car maker to design and build their own drivetrain? Or would it be better if they bought all that OTS and focused on the rest of the car?

“The plant will add to its engine portfolio two new gasoline engines and a new four-cylinder diesel engine.”

Great news for electrification of the powertrain!

I wonder how is the percentage of that 1 billion $ that actually supports electrification.

Fool cells yet again!

Fuel cell investment is the cost of experimentation.
Just as is the many new EV manufacturers, particularly in China that will likely go broke. Tesla makes it seem easy.

By the way I expect both Tesla and BYD to do well. But the path to electrification will be littered with failures.

I don’t really see this as an “EV” announcement, unless hybrids and hydrogen cars are your EV.

“Daimler continues to pursue the aim to bring to market competitive electric vehicles powered by fuel cells”