Mercedes Benz Invests R10BN in expansion of East London Plant
Mercedes-Benz is set to produce the next generation of its C-Class cars in East London, an investment that will include a R10bn expansion of its current auto plant there.
The German auto maker will be building a new paint shop, a new body shop and new new logistic warehouses, and will upgrade its assembly plant.
In a statement Mercedes-Benz executive Markus Schäfer said that The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
"The investment is also a sign of our commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth, as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region," he said.
The upgrades, set to modernise the plant, include what Mercedes-Benz refers to as 500 'Internet of Things'-ready robots, as well as a push towards energy efficiency.
"Overall, the energy consumption per produced vehicle will be further reduced with 25% in the East London plant. This is in line with the plants initiative for a green production," said Schäfer.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with other delegates, visited the plant on Tuesday afternoon where he stressed the importance of stimulating new investment in the economy. Ramaphosa further reiterated this is necessary to realise economic growth, reduce inequality and create employment.
“Mercedes Benz is demonstrating to all in our country and beyond the shores of our country that South Africa is indeed a good investment destination, and we welcome you for having brought this investment here.
"We say this is an investment in people because it creates and sustains employment. We know that employment is the most direct and sustainable way to tackle poverty and inequality," said President Ramaphosa.
Mercedes Benz SA spokesperson Thato Mntambo said: “It’s a sign of our commitment as Mercedes Benz to South Africa, an effort to rerevise economic growth in the region of East London, but also in South Africa. And also, just in terms of the automotive industry, we’re trying to boost it and make it more competitive.”