26 June 2013
Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s manufacturing plant in East London was awarded silver in the 2013 automotive Initial Quality Study (IQS) by American market research firm JD Power and Associates.
The survey examines new car buyers in the US, and the Mercedes-Benz East London plant won its fifth consecutive award for the top assembly plants in the Europe-Africa region in terms of new vehicle production quality.
It was the only African manufacturer to win this accolade and now displays a platinum, two gold and two silver awards in its trophy cabinet.
IQS is now in its 27th year and based on the responses of about 83 000 purchasers and lessees of the latest year’s car, truck and multi-purpose vehicle models after 90 days of ownership.
“The East London plant produces the W204 C-Class for both the local and US markets, and registered only 24 problems per 100 vehicles (24PP100) surveyed,” Mercedes-Benz said in a statement last week.
The plant was only one point behind the category’s gold award winner, which scored 23PP100, and a point ahead of the Mercedes-Benz sister plant in Sindelfingen in Germany.
“The score is an indication of the consistent and sustainable strides we are making as a local manufacturer to create products of the highest build quality, that are safer and more carbon-friendly,” said Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s vice president for manufacturing, Arno van der Merwe.
The plant’s performance in the 2013 survey improved by four points from the 2012 IQS.
“This progression also clearly shows the rate at which the global industry is improving, and the pressure to run a tight ship at our plant in terms of reliability, efficiency and quality in order to remain competitive,” Van der Merwe said.
Mercedes-Benz SA is currently preparing for the introduction of the next-generation C-Class in 2014.
“As only one of four Daimler AG plants worldwide selected to produce the luxury vehicle, Mercedes-Benz SA will inject in excess of R2.5-billion into the local and national economy as it prepares facilities, infrastructure and human capital for the new model launch,” the company said.