The two millionth vehicle at Rastatt

Rastatt - The two millionth vehicle has just rolled off the assembly line at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Rastatt, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The milestone vehicle, a comet-gray A 160 CDI, is destined for the Italian market. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been manufactured at the Rastatt plant in Baden-Württemberg ever since it was launched ten years ago. Before the start of A-Class production, E-Class vehicles were produced at the plant. Since 2005, the B-Class is also being produced in Rastatt.

{xtypo_quote_left}The successful A-Class and B-Class models from Rastatt have made Mercedes-Benz the global market ....the order books are full this year too{/xtypo_quote_left}"The successful A-Class and B-Class models from Rastatt have made Mercedes-Benz the global market leader in the premium segment of the compact class. The positive response of our customers is ongoing: our order books are full this year too," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of DaimlerChrysler AG and head of the Mercedes Car Group.
Plant manager Peter Wesp added: "The two millionth vehicle is a milestone in the fifteen-year history of the Rastatt plant. This production figure impressively demonstrates the plant's potential."
The comet-gray A 160 CDI is equipped with a sports package and Avantgarde features and combines sporty and environmentally friendly driving. This engine variant of the A-Class comes with the automotive environmental certificate awarded by the renowned Öko-Trend institute. According to the institute, the A 160 CDI not only has the best performance figures for fuel consumption and emissions of exhaust gas and noise, but also stands out thanks to its environmentally friendly production methods, choice of materials, and logistics. In the institute's words, this makes the model "one of the most environmentally friendly vehicles with a conventional drive system." The A 160 CDI consumes 4.9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, which translates into 128 grams of CO2.

The Rastatt success story
The inauguration of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Rastatt on May 25, 1992, marked the beginning of a success story. The facility initially employed 1,700 people who assembled Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans. In 1993 the plant was chosen as the production plant for the A-Class. From that point on, the facility was steadily expanded. After the assembly line had been restructured and two new production areas - the body shop and the paint shop - had gone into operation, Rastatt became a full-fledged production plant. The last E-Class rolled off the assembly line in 1996, and series production of the A-Class commenced in June 1997.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class
More than 1.1 million units of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class were sold in its production period from 1997 to 2004. The 1.5 millionth unit of the A-Class series rolled off the assembly line in Rastatt at the end of 2006. The A- and the B-Class, which is also produced at the Rastatt plant, have made Mercedes-Benz the global leader in the premium compact segment. Especially in Germany and Italy, Mercedes Benz has been successfully defending its market leadership in this segment for years. Other key sales markets include France and the UK.

The Mercedes-Benz customer service center
The opening of the Mercedes-Benz customer service center in Rastatt coincided with the market launch of the A-Class in October 1997. At the center, customers can directly receive their new A- or B-Class vehicles, take a tour of the plant, and view exhibitions on automotive topics. Today, 25 percent of customers pick up their A-Class or B-Class vehicles directly at the plant. The customer service center also organizes numerous events, ranging from "children's university" and lifestyle seminars to concerts and theme-based events for the entire family. Altogether the customer service center welcomes approximately 180,000 visitors every year.

Suppliers and the industrial park
At the same time as production of the A-Class began, several suppliers established a presence on the plant grounds. Today, nine companies located in the plant's industrial area supply components for A-Class and B-Class vehicles directly to the assembly line via conveyor bridges and conveyor technology. This just-in-sequence delivery reduces supply vehicle traffic and warehousing periods. More than 50 percent of the volume of components needed for the assembly line comes from the partners located in the industrial park. A total of 330 suppliers provide components for the vehicles produced at the Rastatt plant. In addition, components also come from the five DaimlerChrysler sister plants in Gaggenau, Sindelfingen, Untertürkheim, Hamburg, and Bremen. A railroad track leading directly into the plant grounds conveys 75 percent of the freight by rail directly into the production hall.

Around €900 million invested in the Rastatt plant since 2000
The second major phase of expansion at the Rastatt plant began in 2002, the year the plant celebrated its tenth anniversary. The company created the capacity for producing the second model series by expanding the effective area by about 160,000 square meters, including more than 60,000 square meters for the body and paint shops. A new production hall was built at the location for final assembly of the B-Class. Since 2000, DaimlerChrysler has invested approximately €900 million in the Rastatt plant for the production launch of the new A-Class and B-Class, including measures for expansion of the adjoining industrial park.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class
The Mercedes-Benz B‑Class has surpassed the mark of 250,000 vehicles sold just two years after it was launched on the market in June 2005. The most important market for the B-Class is Germany, which accounts for about one third of the series’ sales worldwide, followed by Italy, France, Japan, and Spain. Of the majority of B-Class customers who have opted in favor of diesel models, one third have purchased the B 180 CDI and 20 percent have selected the B 200 CDI. In March of this year, the Öko-Trend institute awarded its automotive environmental certificate to the B-Class.

Tenth anniversary of the A-Class at DaimlerChrysler’s Rastatt plant
DaimlerChrysler’s Rastatt plant turns 15 this year. It has been producing the Mercedes-Benz A-Class for ten years now. That successful model was joined by the B-Class in 2005. Last year, the Rastatt facility built over 285,000 A-Class and B-Class vehicles - the highest production figure in the plant’s history. More than 6,000 men and women work at the Rastatt plant. That makes DaimlerChrysler the biggest employer in the region today.