Production milestone reached less than six years after market introduction

Less than six years after its market introduction, the one-millionth Mercedes-Benz A-Class rolled off the production line at DaimerChrysler's Rastatt plant. The milestone vehicle is a long-wheelbase, comet-gray A 170 CDI turbo-diesel.

Milestone for Rastatt and the Mercedes Car Group

"A million vehicles -- that's a major achievement for the A-Class and a milestone for the plant in Rastatt and the Mercedes Car Group," says Professor J├╝rgen Hubbert, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management Member responsible for the Mercedes Car Group. "The A-Class has long been a major element in the line-up of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the market segment for compact vehicles. The innovative vehicle concept has considerable potential and drive, which has helped it substantially exceed the one-million sales barrier during its first product cycle. The A-Class exemplifies the Mercedes Car Group's successful strategy. In the course of the first product offensive since the beginning of the 1990s, we have tapped new segments, and have more than doubled the sales, revenues and earnings of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The A-Class has made a major contribution to this success."

The most important market for the A-Class is Germany, with the core European markets Italy, Great Britain and France following. Female customers account for around 40 percent of A-Class sales.

In the spring of 2001, Mercedes-Benz expanded the model line-up with a long-wheelbase version with a body170 millimeters longer than the standard version. Combined with an extensive model update, this step allowed the company to further strengthen the A-Class's position in the compact segment. Since then, more than 40 percent of A-Class customers have bought the longer version. The most popular color for the A-Class is polar silver.

Rastatt, the newest plant in Germany's Mercedes-Benz passenger car production network, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The Rastatt plant employs around 4,700 people. An additional 600 workers are employed at the plant site's industrial area. Just like all other plants that produce Mercedes-Benz passenger cars around the world, the principles of the Mercedes-Benz Production System (MPS) have also been applied in Rastatt. The Rastatt Production System, which was introduced with the start of A-Class production in 1997, formed the basis for the MPS. "The employees at the Rastatt plant have embraced the Mercedes-Benz Production System, which has its roots here, and they employ its principles in full," says Peter Wesp, director of DaimlerChrysler's Rastatt plant. "As a result, we meet the highest efficiency demands and guarantee our customers the very best in quality."