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R3-billion investment by Mercedes-Benz in South Africa

Mercedes-Benz has announced a R3-billion investment into its East London production plant.

In preparation for the production of the new C-Class, the factory had to undergo numerous upgrades – which included the addition of more environmentally-friendly equipment.

“South Africa is an important location in our global Mercedes-Benz production network,” said Jorg Burzer, member of the board of Mercedes-Benz cars, responsible for production and supply chain management.

“With our additional investment of R3 billion in the East London plant, we underline our commitment to contributing to the South African economy and the Eastern Cape region.”

East London plant upgrades

Since a R10-billion investment in 2018, the Mercedes-Benz East London production plant has seen a host of upgrades and new additions.

This comprises a new body shop with more than 500 IoT robots, a new paint shop, three additional C-Class assembly lines, and a new logistics warehouse.

With all the upgrades included, Mercedes-Benz added approximately 100,000 square metres of buildings and more than 700 tonnes of steel to the East London plant.

“This reflects an addition of two-thirds of the already existing buildings for the passenger vehicle production,” said the company.

The new R3-billion investment will go into reaching Ambition 2039, Mercedes-Benz’s goal to have a carbon-neutral fleet of products.

“In support of Ambition 2039, locally, the Mercedes-Benz Plant in East London has embarked on numerous initiatives to help preserve the environment for future generations,” said the company.

The new paint shop is now 25% more efficient than before, the new buildings have been equipped with LED lighting which uses 90% less energy, and the entire plant now saves over 16MWh of electricity per year.

“Additional plant sustainability initiatives include battery storage containers, rainwater recycling with a water storage of 1 million litres, green areas which have been installed on the corridors and the roof, as well as soluble labelling.”

According to Mercedes-Benz, every company-owned production plant will also be carbon-neutral from 2022.

“[We] will ensure the replacement of liquefied petroleum gas with liquefied natural gas through compensations,” added the company.

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