The Mercedes-Benz location in Sindelfingen has held a grand ceremony to celebrate its 100-year anniversary. Dr Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG, Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of the State of Baden-Württemberg and Michael Brecht, Chairman of the General Works Council of Daimler AG was invited to the event along with around 700 representatives of the political and business communities and company employees. „Sindelfingen stands for the origins and the future of the automobile like virtually no other city,“ noted Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. „Investments of billions of euros emphasize the fact that here in Sindelfingen we aim to be at least as successful in the coming 100 years as we have been over the past century. Another milestone fits in with this picture: this year will see us produce our 20-millionth passenger car in Sindelfingen. But the significance of this location is greater than this figure alone may suggest: Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development and Design are located here – the nucleus for pioneering technologies culminating in autonomous driving.“
An entertaining and informative programme presented in the form of street theatre under the banner „People who make the future happen“ provided the guests at the ceremony with insights into the plant’s past, present and future. In addition to Dr Dieter Zetsche, the event was also attended by Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management, Dr Willi Reiss, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council. The major ceremony took place in the new machinery and equipment building within in the new Technology Factory which is currently under construction. This plant serves as a centre of competence for innovative production technologies and is closely interlinked with the area of development.
What began in 1915 with a Daimler factory for aircraft engines is now an automotive plant pooling the most diverse disciplines: Research, Development and Design for Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars are all based in Sindelfingen. In addition to the largest factory worldwide for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, Sindelfingen is also home to Purchasing, Quality Management, Central Production and Logistics Planning and the Mercedes-Benz Cars development centre for new production technologies. Such close integration of different fields of specialisation is without parallel anywhere else in the world. Daimler AG is the largest employer in the greater Stuttgart region, with a workforce of some 77,300.
Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of the State of Baden-Württemberg: „As a think tank and centre of competence, the Sindelfingen plant sets benchmarks in technology and innovation. This is where people make the future happen. As demonstrated by my new official car, for example. With CO2 emissions of 65g per km, the S-Class 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID which is produced in Sindelfingen is driving sustainable mobility in the truest sense of the word. As Prime Minister, I am delighted that Daimler AG is undertaking substantial investments as a demonstration of its commitment to the location in Sindelfingen, the region’s biggest employer, and to its future.“
The global research and development network of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars is headquartered in Sindelfingen. Substantial funds are thus also being invested in the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center. This is where technologies for safe and sustainable future mobility are evolved.
Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, explains: “Emission-free, connected and autonomous driving are the key areas of research and development at Mercedes-Benz. Here at the Mercedes-Technology Center in Sindelfingen, we are therefore investing a total of approximately 600 million euros in new large-scale test stands as well as research and development equipment. This means that Sindelfingen is, and will continue to be, at the heart of our research and development, especially for vehicle-related topics.”
Within the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sindelfingen serves as the centre of competence for passenger cars of the upper-range and luxury segment. Last year, Mercedes-Benz put together an investment package of over 1.5 billion euros in order to ensure the plant’s future viability up to 2020 and beyond. Overall, Mercedes-Benz Cars set new records last year, producing over 1.75 million vehicles and reporting sales in excess of 1.72 million units.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, elaborates: „With our investment package for Sindelfingen we are placing production on a completely new, competitive and future-viable foundation. We will be installing a new bodyshop and a cutting-edge paintshop, for example. For the new generation of the E-Class and its successors we are building a new assembly shop and a new logistics centre.“
The so-called Technology Factory (TecFabrik), which will serve to influence products and production processes across the board, forms part of the Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations (MO) division. The TecFabrik will drive future-oriented production technologies and develop flexible factory concepts appropriate for efficient production worldwide. „The Technology Factory will interlink production and development, thereby playing an instrumental role in ensuring high product and production quality. It will make production markedly more flexible and even more economically efficient through modularisation andstandardisation,“ says Schäfer. The Technology Factory will be headquartered in Sindelfingen, in addition to which it will also be represented at other Mercedes-Benz production plants in Germany and abroad. The TecFabrik serves as the central point of contact for the partners involved in planning, vehicle development and product strategy for production and product concepts and will ensure the necessary maturity levels. The TecFabrik is the centre of competence for purchased parts, tools, production plants, pilot plant and press shop.
The workforce in Sindelfingen provides a good example of thriving diversity, currently comprising some 35,000 employees from over 90 nations. Dr Willi Reiss, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, explains: „Over the past 100 years, we in Sindelfingen have played a major role in shaping the history of the automobile, be it with the production of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL full-wing sports car, the invention of the safety cell by Béla Barényi or the crash test. Such an illustrious past also brings with it a responsibility for the future. We would like to thank our entire workforce today for their dedication and continual commitment. These are the people who continue to make the future happen.“
Since the plant was established, some 21,600 apprentices and trainees have completed their vocational training here. Daimler Motorengesellschaft introduced an apprenticeship programme for body craftsmen shortly after the plant was opened. For many decades now, the Sindelfingen plant has been offering apprenticeships for a highly diverse spectrum of trades and professions. In the plant’s anniversary year, its programme comprises 13 commercial and technical occupations and five dual study courses. The location in Sindelfingen currently has 850 trainees and students at the Cooperative State University, making it one of the largest training establishments in the region.
Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council, notes: „The workforce has shaped the Sindelfingen plant’s success story which culminates in today’s 100-year anniversary celebration. The best cars are built at the location in Sindelfingen, and this is only achievable with a motivated workforce operating in the best possible working conditions. The works council is committed to ensuring that these conditions are maintained so that the people who work here can help to shape the next 100 years in a similarly successful manner.“
Also based in Sindelfingen is the headquarter of Mercedes-Benz Cars‘ global procurement organisation headed by Dr Klaus Zehender, Divisional Board Member Procurement and Supplier Quality Mercedes-Benz Cars. The division, which is responsible for an annual purchasing volume in the two-digit billion range, has a remit covering the procurement of production materials and quality assurance for purchased parts for passenger cars of the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands and the vans of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Worldwide, a staff of around 1,400 manages all commercial and quality aspects concerning business relations with some 1,500 suppliers.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at 26 locations around the world as part of a flexible and efficient production network involving more than 70,000 employees. This includes the central functions of planning, logistics and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 1,754,000 Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the fourth record in a row.
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 network (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production networks is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance.
The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.
About the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen
The Mercedes-Benz location in Sindelfingen currently has a total workforce of some 35,000. The location is one of the leading centres of competence for safety, innovation and design in the global automotive sector. 367,313 passenger cars of the Mercedes-Benz C-, E-, S-Class, the CLS, the CLS Shooting Brake, the SLS AMG and the Mercedes-AMG GT rolled of the production line here last year. Over 250 vehicles are handed over every day at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz Customer Center alone.