What does the end of A and B classes mean for the Rastatt Mercedes plant?

What does the end of A and B classes mean for the Rastatt Mercedes plant?

factory unrest

Mercedes wants to do without the A-Class in the future. The news has once again created unrest in Rastat. What does the coming end of classes A and B mean for the plant?

The product range is tested at the Rastatt Benz plant.

Photo: Hans-J├╝rgen Colette

Even Mercedes owner Ola Kalenius made no secret of the fact that Mercedes’ compact cars are no longer under as good a star as they were before. But where there was mainly speculation about the end of the B class, now there is talk of leaving the A class as well. Exactly 25 years after the first “Baby-Benz” assembly line debuted in Rastatt, there is talk of leaving the product range.

This news has once again caused unrest in the cradle of the compact. In a press release on Monday, Green Member of Parliament Thomas Henschel expressed hope that “everything will be done at the plant to obtain contracts for new products from the Mercedes range”. And: the group must be “committed to rastat”.

Central Baden CDU members of the Bundestag Kai Whitaker were “irritable” and asked for “compensation” for the plant.

The local Benz plant employs approximately 6,500 workers; In addition, there are more than 1,000 other workers directly in the industrial park and suppliers in the Rastat area. Until recently, the factory was rocked anyway, as production faltered over and over again due to a lack of production parts.

The union’s primary goal: to keep the number of jobs stable

Just five years earlier, excitement had spread when Mercedes announced that it would relocate the industrial park to the south (Rastadter Bruch, Ottersdorfer Strae) and expand to the south-east (along with Oberwaldstrasse). The company has also roped in environmental organizations for these plans. Its purpose was to make room for the production of electric cars.

Then in 2019 there was a surprise break on the plans. The carmaker succumbed to economic pressure and put on hold its expansion plans for the Rastat plant for the time being. For the time being, they want to focus on condensing the factory premises to prepare the ground for the production of electric cars.

In employee representatives and IG Metal circles, people are exercising restraint in the current phase of the turmoil – not least because there are still many unanswered questions and talks are underway.

In any case, there is always a lot of panic about upcoming model changes; It should be no less that Mercedes wants to focus solely on luxury cars. Will electronic compact cars with EQA and EQB be canceled as well? And what about the recognition of the Rastatt plant as a “capacity center for compact cars” within the group?

The union strongly believes that e-cars will come to Rastat. It is heard that the preparation of the plant is also being done for this. The union’s primary goal: to keep the number of jobs stable.

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