The FINANCIAL — Stuttgart –More than 700,000 B-Class cars have been delivered to customers worldwide since the vehicle was launched on the market in 2005.
“The B-Class enabled Mercedes-Benz to set new benchmarks in the premium compact segment,” says Dr. Joachim Schmidt. “Although its successor is about to be introduced, the B-Class is still extremely popular with customers. Since the beginning of the year, the vehicle has been posting especially strong growth in its two main markets, Germany and China.”
The future B-Class, which Mercedes-Benz will present at the IAA in September will be the first vehicle of a new generation of compact cars. The first units of the new B-Class will be delivered to customers in Western Europe later this year. “We want to further increase our market share in this segment through the launch of the successors to the current A-Class and B-Class as well as of two other sporty and emotional variants,” adds Dr. Schmidt. “We also want to tap new customer groups and additional markets. In the process, we will demonstrate that premium status is not a matter of external dimensions; it is primarily a question of perceived value, quality, and style. We will also be setting new benchmarks in the premium compact segment when it comes to safety. The new B-Class, for example, will be fitted with an emergency braking assistant as standard.”
With regard to comfort, safety and perceived value, the future B-Class will meet the customers’ premium requirements in every way. In addition, the latest Mercedes-Benz powertrains will ensure that the car is equipped with an extremely effective and appealing range of engine and transmission variants.
Current B-Class continues to be successful on the market
A total of 52,640 customers worldwide have opted to buy a B-Class car since January, representing an increase of 26.8% from last year. In Germany, sales rose by 31.5% during the first five months of the year, to 17,826 units. The most important market for the B-Class is Germany, which accounts for about one third of the series’ sales worldwide, followed by China and Italy. In 2009, the B-Class was introduced to China, where it has met with great success, with sales rising by 140.3% last year, to 12,217 units. Sales have continued to be very dynamic this year as well, rising to 5,966 units (January-May 2010: 3,030).
Production of the B-Class
Since June 2005 the B-Class has been produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt, which is Daimler Group’s competence center for compact vehicles. The A-Class has been rolling off the assembly line there since 1997. The approximately 6,000 employees at the plant produced a total of 238,351 vehicles last year. “The great demand for the B-Class also reflects the outstanding performance of the team at the plant,” says Peter Wesp, Head of the Mercedes-Benz plant Rastatt. “We are now focusing on the production of the new B-Class with the same passion.”
The new compact cars from Mercedes-Benz will be manufactured in a production network encompassing the Rastatt plant and a new facility in Kecskemét, Hungary. Three of the four new models will roll off the production line in Rastatt, while two will be manufactured in Kecskemét. The new B-Class will be produced at both locations. This approach significantly increases the production network’s flexibility, as it enables capacity to be optimally utilized at both plants. Production of customer vehicles will commence in Rastatt this fall and in Kecskemét in the first quarter of 2012.