The milestone vehicle assembled in the People's Republic is an E-Class.
2005. That was the year when Mercedes-Benz set up shop in China by opening a manufacturing facility to cater the local market. Fast forward to present day, Beijing Benz Automotive Co., a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor with more than 78,000 employees, is happy to celebrate the roll out of vehicle number 1,000,000.
The model in question is an E-Class, which coincidentally was actually the very first model built 11 years ago in China. In 2010, Mercedes introduced its first “Made in China, for China” long wheelbase version of the E succeeded earlier this year by the all-new E-Class L unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show.
Also in China, the company with the three-pointed star logo is making the C-Class, itself a model that has received the long wheelbase version since rear legroom is very important in the People’s Republic. The two sedans are being built alongside two crossovers, the GLA and GLC. Interestingly, Mercedes mentions the factory in China’s capital is actually its biggest passenger car plant in the world in terms of land size.
Mercedes is also making a variety of four- and six-cylinder engines in China powering the local models as well as the vans produced by Fujian Benz Automotive, yet another local joint venture. A total of around 250,000 engines were built last year and the number is set to grow in the years to come following an investment of more than $530 million (€500M) to boost production capacity.
Besides putting together cars and engines, BBAC also has its own research and development center opened in 2014 and it’s actually the biggest R&D center of any Daimler joint venture.
Speaking of Daimler joint ventures, Mercedes' parent company has also teamed up with BYD in China to create Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd. (BDNT). The latest product is called “Denza 400” (pictured above) and takes the shape of an electrified BYD Denza featuring a 62-kWh battery pack with enough juice for 249 miles (400 kilometers).
Gallery: Long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Production milestone in China: Beijing plant manufactures one millionth car with the three-pointed star
- Mercedes-Benz passenger cars made locally in China since 2005
- Local production of four models: Mercedes-Benz C- and E-Class, GLA and GLC
- Hubertus Troska: “This occasion is a milestone for our successful partnership with BAIC and another solid proof of our ‘ Made in China, for China’ commitment.”
- Xu Heyi: “It marks not only a breakthrough in scale for BBAC, but also the realization of a qualitative leap in the systemic development of quality, craftsmanship, technology and procurement.”
- Peter Schabert: “The offline of the one millionth vehicle is both a recognition and incentive for us. This production milestone shows how much experience and expertise our local specialists have now built up."
Beijing – The one millionth vehicle rolled off the production line today at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC). This joint venture between Daimler and BAIC has been in place for over ten years and undertook tremendous development over the last decade. “ This occasion is a milestone for our successful partnership with BAIC and another solid proof of our ‘Made in China, for China’ commitment,” said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Daimler Greater China. “ BBAC is key to the long-term and sustainable development of the Mercedes-Benz brand in China, and we will continue developing it into one of the most pioneering manufacturing sites in Daimler’s global production network.”
Xu Heyi, Chairman of BAIC Group and its subsidiary BAIC Motor, noted: “It marks not only a breakthrough in scale for BBAC, but also the realization of a qualitative leap in the systemic development of quality, craftsmanship, technology and procurement."
In 2015, China became the biggest sales market for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. That is a key reason local production volumes are continually rising. “The offline of the one millionth vehicle is both a recognition and incentive for us. This production milestone shows how much experience and expertise our local specialists have now built up. The fact that our vehicles are received so favorably by Chinese customers is the best praise for our colleagues at the plant,” said Peter Schabert, President and CEO of BBAC.
The milestone vehicle is an E-Class. In 2005, the E-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle to be manufactured locally, and the first “Made in China, for China” long wheelbase version of E-Class started production in 2010. In June 2016, the third generation of locally produced E-Class rolled off the production line at BBAC and the new long wheelbase version is expected to become a growth driver for Mercedes-Benz in China. With more than 13 million E-Class Saloons and Estates delivered to customers worldwide, the E-Class is the highest volume Mercedes-Benz model of all time. In the first 10 months of this year more were sold in China than in any other market.
About Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC)
Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor, has been producing Mercedes-Benz passenger cars since 2005 and engines since 2013. In 2015, over two-thirds of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in China were made in the country. Thanks to the great success of the locally built E-Class, C-Class, GLA and GLC SUV, BBAC’s total local production output has passed the 1,000,000-unit mark. In terms of land size, BBAC is the largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car plant worldwide.
The Mercedes-Benz 4- and 6-cylinder engines manufactured by BBAC are used in cars produced by BBAC, as well as in vans made by Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC), another local Daimler joint venture. The BBAC production line is flexible by design. Approximately 250,000 engines were manufactured in 2015. Earlier this year, Daimler and BAIC signed a strategic framework agreement on the joint investment of RMB 4 billion (more than €500 million) in further expanding the Beijing-based engine plant.
BBAC’s Research and Development Center went into operation in 2014. It is the largest R&D center of any Daimler joint venture worldwide.
BBAC is part of Mercedes-Benz's flexible and efficient global production network with over 78,000 employees. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance.