Mercedes hires Valmet to make 100,000 A-class cars
MUNICH -- Daimler has hired Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive to build more than 100,000 Mercedes-Benz A-class compact-premium cars from 2013 through 2016.
Mercedes has received more than 40,000 orders for the new A class, which will launch in mid-September, the company said in a statement today.
Wolfgang Bernhard, Mercedes' head of manufacturing and procurement, said in the statement that Daimler's plants in Rastatt, Germany, and Kecskemet, Hungary, are completely utilized filling orders for the A- and B-class compacts.
He said that outsourcing some A-class production to Valmet would "keep delivery times of our new A class as short as possible."
Mercedes plans a total of five compact models, including an SUV to be made in Rastatt and a coupe that will be built in Hungary.
Last week, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said Mercedes' compacts "are among our best weapons" in a product offensive that the automaker hopes will make Mercedes the top-selling premium brand by 2020. Mercedes currently ranks third behind leader BMW and No. 2 Audi.
"Over the next 10 years the global market for premium compacts will grow by almost 4 million vehicles," Zetsche added. According to a Daimler spokeswoman, that would lead to a premium compact market of about 10 million vehicles in 2021.
The contract is a big boost for Valmet, which only produces the low-volume Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid at its plant in Uusikaupunki. The coachbuilder in 2013 also will add production of the B2 from Moscow-based supercar maker Marussia Motors, a Valmet spokeswoman said today.
Reuters contributed to this report
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