Auto industry reactions: Mercedes-Benz

BY ASANDA FONGQO - FEBRUARY 22, 2016

In 2015, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has once more confirmed its status as the leader in automotive manufacturing in South Africa, despite the country being faced with various challenges.

These challenges ranged from a deteriorating currency position, interest rate hikes, the inflation rate rising and other macro-economic concerns. MBSA has been able to surmount these hurdles and thus maintain its undisputed status of being a pioneer in the automotive industry.

The company remains committed to its goals of sustaining production excellence, being number one in customer service excellence and becoming one of the most inspired automotive brands in South Africa.

The multi award-winning MBSA East London manufacturing plant this year produced a record-number of passenger car units following the target set by the plant to surpass the accomplishments of the past, whilst maintaining high levels of excellence in light of the surging international demand for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Its Commercial Vehicle assembly line also continued to produce top-quality trucks and bus chassis for the local market.

One of the key highlights of 2015 was the production of the one millionth Mercedes-Benz passenger car, a new model C-Class, which rolled off the line in May marking the company’s proud history of excellence spanning over six decades in South Africa.

In spite of the challenging year, the plant has seen a volume increase in production with excellent target achievement in both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Skills development remains central to the company’s agenda, with the revamped MBSA Learning Academy set to open in March 2016. The Learning Academy, co-funded by MBSA and National Treasury through its Jobs Fund, will address the skills shortages faced in high-technology industries in the region and in the country.

MBSA is confident to continue on its sustainable growth path in 2016 with positive certainty provided through the government policy framework particularly on the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) until 2020. The recent announcement on the APDP Review Outcome by government should go a long way to support increased localisation and sustainability of the industry.

With the global economy facing a downturn, flowing through into the South African context as well, MBSA is geared to face the headwinds as its leadership team and governance structures for customer and product dedication are in place. The company also continues to engage with key external stakeholders to create relationships for its sustainable growth.

As part of MBSA’s commitment to South Africa, which has been seen over the years, is to continuously evaluate its future growth path in the country in line with its global network.

We look forward to yet another challenging but successful year in 2016.