GENEVA -- Daimler's Mercedes-Benz car division can cope with a potential slump in demand in an economic downturn without reducing its core staff because of its flexible production system, the automaker's purchasing and production chief Wolfgang Bernhard told Automotive News Europe.
"We could absorb fluctuations in demand of 25 percent at any time," Wolfgang Bernhard said in an interview on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
Bernhard said the automaker would not need to implement short-time working or reduce its core staff even if demand slumps to that extent.
Mercedes is closely watching rival automakers and the economy, he said. "Our Mercedes-Benz 2020 strategy includes a continuous ramp up of capacity. We think carefully about every step. Each new plant has to last for at least 25 years."
New North America plant
Bernhard did not confirm a report in a German magazine that Mercedes is considering opening a second car production plant in North America. "Let's wait and see," he said.
Mercedes' agreement with Nissan to produce four-cylinder gasoline engines at Nissan's U.S. plant in Decherd, Tennessee, in 2014 for the new C-class and future Infiniti models was an important move to help counter currency fluctuations, Bernhard said.