Mercedes-Benz South Africa five-fer consolidates top world plant ranking

  • East London manufacturing facility takes silver in 2013 JD Power and Associates IQS Survey
  • Superlative quality, efficiency and disciplined commitment keeps MBSA production staff at the top of the game

Mercedes-Benz South Africa

The result of the annual JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) is eagerly anticipated by motor manufacturers the world over, as a definitive indication of supremacy in the automotive industry. In the 2013 survey of new car buyers in the United States, the Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) production plant in East London put on a sterling show, with an unprecedented fifth consecutive placement amongst the top assembly plants in the Europe-Africa region in terms of new vehicle production quality.

MBSA is once again the only African manufacturer on this years’ winner’s podium, and now boasts one platinum, two gold and two silver awards over a five year period.

The East London plant produces the W204 C-Class for both the local and US markets, and registered only 24 problems per 100 vehicles (24PP100) surveyed.  The gold award winner in the category performed only one point better, at 23PP100 vehicles. MBSA’s sister plant in Sindelfingen, Germany received a third-place bronze commendation for its production of the CL-Class and the S-Class, with score of 25PP100.

JD Power’s IQS, now in its 27th year, is based on responses from more than 83, 000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed, after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement.

The MBSA performance in the 2013 survey is an improvement on the score of 28PP100 in the previous year, when the plant also registered a silver award. In the 2011 survey this score for MBSA stood at 31PP100, worthy of a gold award winning performance at the time. Vice-president for manufacturing at MBSA, Arno van der Merwe says: “the score is an indication of the consistent and sustainable strides we are making as a local manufacturer to create products of the highest build quality, that  are safer and more carbon-friendly.”

Mercedes South Africa

“This progression also clearly shows the rate at which the global industry is improving, and the pressure to run a tight ship at our plant in terms of reliability, efficiency and quality in order to remain competitive,” van der Merwe adds.

The East London plant is currently in full implementation mode, gearing up for the introduction of the next generation C-Class in 2014. As one of only four Daimler AG plants world-wide selected to produce the luxury vehicle, MBSA will inject in excess of R2.5 billion into the local and national economy as it prepares facilities, infrastructure and human capital for the new model launch.