20 September 2010
Mercedes-Benz South Africa and the South African government are to set up a joint working group to help produce a competitive bid for production of the next Mercedes-Benz C-class model in the country.
“If successful, the more than R2-billion investment would result in higher local content and in more than 2 000 new jobs, including high-quality jobs, at the firm’s East London plant,” the Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement last week.
This followed a meeting in Pretoria on Thursday between Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Mercedes-Benz South Africa CEO Hansgeorg Niefer.
The Department said it would work through the details of available government support to enable the company to produce a competitive bid against other Mercedes Benz production plants in other parts of the world.
“Our discussion with Minister Davies was very positive,” Niefer told Daily Dispatch.
“He has promised support and co-operation on the part of government through the Automotive Investment Scheme. We welcome this support in our effort to secure this contract for South Africa.”
Mercedes-Benz SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the global company Daimler AG, currently produces the existing C-class model at its East London, Eastern Cape plant, for the local market as well as for export to the United States.
According to Engineering News, the new C-class is expected to be launched in 2014, and Daimler has yet to decide whether to manufacture the vehicle in China, the US and Germany alone, or whether to add South Africa as a fourth production location.
Niefer told Daily Dispatch that Mercedes-Benz SA expected to hear the outcome of the bid by the end of the year.
SAinfo reporter and BuaNews