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Now, a Finnish Mercedes

A for effort: Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchbacks will be built in Finland to help satisfy global demand.

Daimler outsources some Benz A-Class production to Finland to meet huge demand

25 Jul 2012

DAIMLER has called in Finnish contract car builder Valmet Automotive to expand production of its all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback as orders pile up ahead of the September launch in Europe.

But Mercedes-Benz Australia has told GoAuto that all A-Class stock destined for Australian customers will be pure-bred German cars, made at Daimler’s own plants.

MBA corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said the move to expand production to Finland probably would not have much affect on supplies of A-Class for Australia, where the new model is due to enter showrooms in the first quarter of next year.

“It might relieve some pressure, because of the world-wide demand, but our (Australian) supplies will come from Germany,” he said.

Mr Stamoulis said MBA was not ready to disclose its sales targets for the A-Class, and had yet to be advised of final stock allocations.

“We hope to grow our numbers with A-Class, but it is too early to talk specific numbers yet,” he said.

The previous A-Class, with its tall-boy MPV design, was discontinued in Australia in June 2010 as sales declined, but MBA has much higher hopes for the new-look vehicle with its more conventional small hatchback design.

4 center imageFrom top: Mercedes-Benz A-Class in production Valmet Automotive factory in Finland.

Globally, Daimler already has 40,000 orders for A-Class ahead of launch and, even with moving its Rastatt factory to 24-hour production, it is unlikely to meet demand.

The A-Class is also made in Hungary, at Daimler’s Kecskemet factory, but neither factory has the capacity to build more.

Both factories also build the new B-Class, which is similarly based on Mercedes’ new MFA compact car platform, which is about to spawn two new models to be shared between Rastatt and Kecskemet – a compact GLC SUV and a small four-door CLA ‘coupe’.

Daimler has done a deal with Finland’s Valmet to outsource part of its A-Class production from next year, adding 100,000 extra units between 2013 and 2016.

As well, Daimler has indicated that its new line of compact cars will go into production in China, to help meet growing demand in the company’s biggest market by building the cars “close to the customers in the future”.

Announcing the production plans, Daimler board member Wolfgang Bernhard said the A-Class was so popular with customers that both the existing plants were at capacity.

“We thus signed Valmet as an experienced production specialist who will provide us with additional A-Class capacities as of 2013,” he said.

“Our aim is to optimally serve customer demand and keep delivery times of our new A-Class as short as possible in the interest of our customers.”

Valmet was established as a joint venture with Sweden’s Saab in 1968, building a range of Saab cars until 2003.

It has also made Renaults, Porsches, Ladas, Opels and – more recently – Fisker, Think and Marussia vehicles.

Although Daimler has not said where the Valmet-built cars will be sold, eastern European countries such as Russia and Poland might be the logical destination.

Earlier this month, BMW announced it was in talks with Mitsubishi-owned Dutch car-maker Nedcar to expand production of its Mini.

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