East London - Mercedes-Benz is set to inject R10 billion rand into its South African plant in East London, which will be expanded and upgraded to produce the next-generation C-Class.

This will entail the construction of new body and paint shops as well as an upgraded assembly shop and new logistics warehouses - essentially expanding the plant’s floor space by two thirds.

The new body shop will have a higher capacity, while the assembly shop will get three new lines, although it has yet to be disclosed just to what extent volumes will increase. The plant currently exports around 10 000 C-Class models a month. Various initiatives will also make the factory more environmentally friendly.

There’s no official word on when the new C-Class will be introduced, but given that seven-year production cycles are the norm for Mercedes sedans, early 2021 is a good bet.

“With the investment of 600 Million Euro, we are significantly expanding our plant in East London and equipping it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz South Africa,” said Divisional Board Member Markus Schäfer.

Schäfer was joined on stage by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the announcement ceremony in East London on Monday.

IOL Motoring