Daimler says it will make Mercedes C-Class in S. Africa
German luxury car maker Daimler said Tuesday it would invest in a South African plant to produce the popular Mercedes-Benz Class C auto, of which a new generation is planned for 2014.
The group's best-selling family saloon (sedan) is to be manufactured in China, Germany, South Africa and the United States, and Daimler will invest two billion rand (217 million euros, 290 million dollars) in a plant in East London as part of that strategy, a statement said.
"We have had immense success in South Africa with the C-Class, and we have exported to left-hand drive markets since 1998 and to right-hand drive markets since 2000," the group's director in South Africa, Hansgeorg Niefer, was quoted as saying.
Exports from the plant, designed to have annual capacity of 65,000 vehicles, would be shipped to other countries in Africa and to the Asia/Pacific region, the company said.
IHS Global Insight auto analyst Christoph Stürmer noted that hourly wages were lower in South Africa than in Germany and said the country "is in a very strategic spot for production, because being in the same time zone as Europe helps decisions to be taken more quickly."
© 2010 AFP