16 September 2009
In a reassuring sign for South Africa’s automotive industry, East London-based Mercedes Benz has shipped over 2 600 locally built C-Class cars – its largest consignment since November 2008 – to the United States east coast.
In a statement last week, Mercedes Benz South Africa said that the 2 674 cars travelling on the vessel the Grand Orion would arrive in Jacksonville, Florida on 23 September and Baltimore, Maryland on 26 September.
Rainer Ruess, manufacturing site leader at Mercedes Benz South Africa’s local automotive plant, said the shipment reaffirmed that US customers were very satisfied with South African build quality.
In July, JD Power and Associates presented a Gold Award for Initial Quality to the East London-based plant following a US survey conducted among over 80 000 new US car owners earlier this year.
“The local plant was placed fourth in the world, after three Asia-based plants, outperforming all European, American and African automaker plants,” Mercedes Benz South Africa said.
Terry Taylor, East London-based corporate affairs manager of Transnet National Ports Authority, was delighted with the smooth and quick loading of the consignment – the first to make full use of the R20-million car terminal expansion project that was completed at the city’s harbour earlier this year.
A new benchmark was set, with the cars being loaded onto the vessel at a rate of 170 per hour, 15% faster than the norm.
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