Saturday 31 May 2014

€190 million for new Vito production

Daimler has invested €190 million to upgrade its van plant in Vitoria, Spain to produce the next generation Vito.

Following the summer shutdown, production will begin of the next generation Mercedes-Benz Vito at the facility, which has also just seen another model changeover for the new Mercedes-Benz V-Class factory. The new MPV goes on sale in June.

In recent years, Daimler AG has introduced a series of modernization measures at the Vitoria plant, the most important of which were preparations to produce the next generation of medium-sized vans.

Production of the new Mercedes-Benz V-Class MPV, launched in March 2014, will be followed this fall by production of the new Vito, the company's top-of-the-line model for commercial customers.

The latest project has involved upgrading and retooling the body shop, the paint shop and final assembly of the new medium-sized vans.

King Juan Carlos I of Spain (who abdicated on 2 June, several days after his visit to Vitoria) recently visited the plant to obtain first-hand impressions of the plant's optimised logistics processes.

King Juan Carlos was welcomed by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, who said: “We have invested €190 million here to create the foundation of a bright future in Vitoria."

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, added: "Our plant in Vitoria plays an important role as a competence centre and a leading production plant for our medium-sized vans.”

The Vitoria plant employs 3,500 and indirectly generates about 13,000 jobs in the region.

Emilio Titos is head of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Vitoria while Frank Klein is head of production at Mercedes-Benz Vans. José Luís López-Schümmer is chairman and managing director of Daimler’s Spanish subsidiary. 

This year the plant, located in the heart of the Basque region in north-western Spain, celebrates its 60 years as a vehicle production location. The first vehicle rolled off the assembly line in 1954, when the plant was part of Auto Union. The former Daimler-Benz AG acquired the facility in 1981.

Today the plant site, which covers 600,000 square metres, has a production space of 370,000 square metres and produces 75,000 vans annually for world-wide. The Vitoria plant is the second-largest Daimler van production plant in the world and, being the latest to come on atream, is probably the most advanced.

The Vitoria van plant is also one of the most important industrial centres in the Basque region. In 2012 it accounted for 2.4 per cent of the Basque region's GDP and 7.4 per cent of export volume.

Both Renault (with the Trafic) and Opel/Vauxhall with the Vivaro have launched new van products.

Meanwhile, it would be mentally rewarding to know the real hours per finished van bodyshell at Vitoria, Sandouvile and Luton for the Vito, Trafic and Vivaro respectively, as well as those for the finished product; not to mention the hourly labour rates for line workers at each plant. For good measure the results could be teamed with figures yielded by Nissan's van plant in Barcelona and Ford's Transit van plant in Turkey to provide a more throughout analysis of line performance and costs. 

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