East London - Mercedes-Benz South Africa is to invest more than R200 million in its manufacturing plant in East London this year for the production of high-performance AMG C43, C63 and C63 S sedans.
The C43 has a three-litre turbopetrol V6 that pumps 270kW and 520Nm to both axles via 4Matic all-wheel drive and a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic sports transmission, and adaptive air suspension with comfort and sport settings.
The C63 and C63 S have a four-litre biturbo V8 rated at 350kW and 650Nm in standard trim, and 375kW and 700Nm in the case of the 'S' version, driving the rear wheels via a specially tuned AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic transmission with up to five drive modes and a double-clutching function on downshifts.
Cornering is entrusted to AMG Ride Control sports suspension with three levels of damping adjustment and there's a mechanical rear differential lock (electronically controlled in the case of the C63 S) to reduce inner wheel slip without the need for braking intervention.
Chief executive and executive director for manufacturing Arno van der Merwe said on Monday the three AMG models would be manufactured for the domestic and export markets.
The plant exports about 90 percent of the passenger cars it produces to about 80 markets.
Van der Merwe said the investment of more than R200 million was predominantly to integrate the AMG models into the production facility and that production of the models would result in the creation of new jobs, but it was difficult to say how many at this stage.
Van der Merwe said the East London plant continued its record production in MBSA’s 2016 financial year by producing more than 114 000 passenger cars, a 12 percent increase on the previous year, and more than 4500 commercial vehicles.
Despite a challenging year for the local passenger-car market, Mercedes-Benz Cars increased its market share slightly to seven percent.