Mercedes gives East London plant thumbs up to build AMG models
But the engines will still be hand-built in Germany, and shipped to SA
Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) will begin building AMG derivatives at its East London plant from the second half of 2017, citing the fact that SA is one of the largest markets in the world for AMG performance models.
Models to be built at the East London plant will include the C43, C63 and C63 S sedan. They will be produced on the same production lines as the C-Class. But to maintain the hand-built nature of the engines, they will be assembled at the AMG plant in Affalterbach, Germany, and be shipped to SA.
It will invest more than R200m at its South African facilities to produce the models. It made the announcement at its annual results briefing this week. MBSA said revenue increased 10.8% to R73.4bn and its earnings before interest and tax were up 27.3% to R5.6bn.
CEO Arno van der Merwe, who later in March will move to China to take over at Beijing-Benz, said: "We remain steadfast in our goal of sustainable growth through our product offensive, steadily increasing production and by collaborating with all stakeholders to actively build not only our company but also the South African economy."
While MBSA might have come through 2016 in a strong position, it continues to face challenges. MBSA is involved in the global recall by parent company Daimler of more than 1-million vehicles after 51 caught fire. Spokeswoman Jeanette Clark confirmed 5,100 models were affected in SA. The recall involves A-/B-/C-/E-Class models, as well as the CLA, GLA and GLC.