Start of production of the new CLA Shooting Brake at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét in Hungary

Jun 26, 2019   OEM

The new CLA Shooting Brake is produced exclusively by the Mercedes-Benz plant in Hungary – like the preceding model and the CLA Coupé.

Just a few months after the CLA Coupé, the new CLA Shooting Brake is starting to leave the production lines at the Hungarian Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét.

“Many distinguishing features of the smart production of tomorrow are already in place at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét. We work on a networked, digital and flexible basis, so the ramp-up of the new CLA Shooting Brake fits seamlessly into our production processes. All this is possible thanks to our highly-motivated and well-trained workforce. We are proud of this team. Together these colleagues ensure that the success story of the CLA will continue at the Kecskemét location,” says Christian Wolff, CEO and Site Manager of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft.

Kecskemét as part of the global production network

The production network for the compact cars has a total of six plants on three continents: as well as Kecskemét there are locations in Rastatt, Beijing (China), Uusikaupunki (Finland), Aguascalientes (Mexico) and Hambach (France). They currently produce seven models: Mercedes Benz A, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA, A-Class Sedan and the long-wheelbase A-Class L Sedan specifically for the Chinese market.

The workforce in Kecskemét produces the CLA Shooting Brake and the CLA Coupé exclusively for the world market. The A-Class has been part of the production portfolio at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét since 2018.

Focus on flexibility, efficiency and sustainability

Modern Industry 4.0 technologies distinguish all the production locations of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and these are being constantly developed further. This enables the plants to respond to changing customer wishes with maximum flexibility. The focus is firmly on flexibility, new digital solutions and sustainability. This is because market fluctuations, changing customer needs and a wide variety of equipment variants make it necessary to ensure maximum agility in production. Numerous physical and technological innovations help to bring this about.

For example, a futuristic pilot project is currently underway at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét to find out how the airspace can be used to optimise logistics. Over a period of around five months, replacement parts needed for plant maintenance were carried over the rooftops – between warehouses and maintenance workshops – of the production shops by drones. This additional transport option increases flexibility and reduces traffic within the plant. The project will also be piloted in other locations in the future, so as to improve processes still further.

Other applications at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét also provide examples of how Mercedes-Benz Cars is continuously developing its production network further:

Flexi-cell production: In the newly constructed body shop, the bonnets and boot lids/tailgates for the new model series are produced in so-called flexi-cells. Modular, exchangeable stations make it possible to switch between models within a very short time.

New material transport concepts in the bodyshop: The plant employs new technologies when transporting parts. For example, driverless transport vehicles move the wheel arches – and even the entire bodyshells – of the new compact models between the individual assembly stations in the body shop. This improves both efficiency and safety in the workplace.

Forklift-free assembly and driverless transport system (DTS): The aim is to eliminate fork-lift trucks from the assembly shop, mainly in the interests of safety. Special roller platforms are used instead of fork-lift trucks. Irrespective of the material container, these carry the material into the assembly shop as flexible logistical trains using fixed routes. The plant also uses driverless transport systems (DTS). They deliver precisely the components and parts required for each individual vehicle to the production line, where they are installed with no intermediate buffering. Some 99% of the assembly operations in Kecskemét are already forklift-free.

Paperless factory: This project shows how digital Industry 4.0 solutions improve efficiency in production while conserving resources. Modern data transfer processes are gradually replacing all paper documentation. This includes, for example, the documentation accompanying each vehicle on the line, and the verification records for internal processes.

CO2-neutral production: The energy supply for all Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Europe will be CO2-neutral by 2022. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét will already start procuring CO2-neutral electric power next year. To improve energy efficiency, the entire exterior lighting has already been changed over to LED lights. The lighting systems in all the buildings will follow by 2021.

The new CLA Shooting Brake will enter the market in September 2019.

Since the market launch, more than 750,000 units of the CLA Coupé and CLA Shooting Brake have already been sold. The largest markets in 2018 were China, the USA and Germany. Mercedes-Benz already addressed new buyer groups successfully with the first generation of the CLA. In the USA, CLA buyers are on average around ten years younger than the average Mercedes-Benz customer. In Europe in 2018, almost two-thirds of buyers previously drove a competitor model.

About the Mercedes-Benz Kecskemét plant

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét has around 4700 employees. In 2018 it produced more than 190,000 Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles. The Kecskemét plant produces the compact four-door CLA Coupé and the CLA Shooting Brake. Both of these models are produced exclusively in Kecskemét for the world market. Since May 2018 the new A-Class has been part of the product range at the Hungarian production location.

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