Mercedes-Benz is taking the next step in the modernisation of Untertürkheim, the lead plant for the powertrain production worldwide. With a joint agreement, company and Works Council are creating the framework for further growth of conventional powertrains while preparing for electric mobility at the same time. The agreement has long-term effects for safeguarding the employees at the site and gives the transformation of the tradition-rich plant in the Neckar Valley a new aspect in terms of electric mobility.
“We shape the future in the powertrain production of Mercedes-Benz Cars by establishing ground-breaking production technologies in the lead plant Untertürkheim. This is a further step to ensure our competitiveness in the new age of electric mobility,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management.
Part of the agreement is a new e-technology centre where prototypes for electric powertrains will be constructed. The so called “E-Technikum” will become the ramp-up factory for key technologies. The plant will also make first steps in the assembly of electrified powertrain modules and start producing components for electric vehicles. At the same time, the agreement paves the way for a further capacity expansion of combustion engines, e.g. for the new generation of high-efficient in-line engines. The production of engines, transmissions and axles will remain an integral part of the Untertürkheim product range. The foundry at the site Untertürkheim will also produce components for future engine generations. To make space for electric mobility components, products such as fuel system components and turbine housings will be relocated. The employees affected by the relocation will be offered equivalent jobs primarily in similar areas or in the new fields of electric mobility.
“The Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant actively tackles the challenge of electric mobility from a position of strength. We need our employees to produce combustion engines and transmissions in growing numbers and top quality. At the same time we prepare for the electrification of the powertrain,” says Frank Deiß, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant and Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars.
With the agreement the company and works council updated a joint transformation plan from the year 2015. The so called “Zukunftsbild” was a framework for the Untertürkheim plant and its employees towards higher flexibility and efficiency. It included also the transformation of the plant into a high-tech location for CO2 technologies comprising the production of high-efficiency combustion engines, plug-in hybrid powertrains and locally emission-free driving with fuel-cell technology.
”This agreement is an important signal for the future. We aim to set the course for alternative and emission-free powertrains. We want to produce the electric powertrain in the Neckar Valley. Today the Untertürkheim plant is producing the heart of our vehicles. And that is how it should be in the future and we are working hard for this goal,” says Wolfgang Nieke, Chairman of the Works Council Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant.
About the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant
The Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant looks back on more than 110 years of tradition. It is the lead plant in the global powertrain production and the home of the Daimler headquarter. With more than 19,000 employees, the plant produces engines, axles, transmissions and components. The tradition-rich plant is a high-tech location and a centre of competence for high-efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and the production of fuel-cell systems. Research and Development is also located here with a test track. The site comprises of six facilities which are all located in the Neckar Valley next to Stuttgart. While Untertürkheim and Bad Cannstatt produce engines and also host forging activities, the transmissions are produced in Hedelfingen. The axle production and the foundry are located in Mettingen. The training centre is based in Brühl, the flexible production facilities are in Esslingen.
Powertrain production network is ready for the future
The company and the works council have already initiated several transformation plans for the German powertrain plants of Mercedes-Benz Cars and set a framework towards higher flexibility and efficiency. For example, the Berlin plant was transformed into a high-tech location for components featuring technologies for CO2 reduction. In future, the Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant will also produce electric components in addition to the traditional portfolio comprising axles, axle components, steering columns, and lightweight-construction structural components. Batteries for electric Mercedes-Benz and smart vehicles are produced by Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, a fully owned Daimler subsidiary, which is part of the global powertrain production.