Mercedes seeks to cut production costs

Increased standardization of processes is the goal

Stuttgart. Mercedes Car Group CEO Eckhard Cordes has ordered more economy measures in the automaker's production plants.

Mercedes will increase standardization of all processes within industrial construction, automation engineering and conveyor systems.

At the same time Cordes is looking for further synergies with the Chrysler group in the United States.

Bernd Wanner, head of Mercedes' plant planning, said: "In automation engineering we are currently inviting interested parties to tender for a contract to supply a few thousand robots for the Mercedes Car and Chrysler groups. Our aim is save about 10 percent."

He also said that the group is looking actively to reduce the costs of conveyor systems. All of the group's car factories worldwide should be using the same systems by year-end.

"We will also coordinate more with our commercial trucks sector," Wanner said.

According to Wanner, Mercedes saved up to 25 percent of the originally planned investment in industrial construction during the past three years. Savings within automation engineering were about 20 percent.

Wanner said: "We have already skimmed most of the cream here."

But the sector showed further savings, he noted.

"For the new C class, we will use the same body shell systems at all locations for the first time," he said.

Mercedes has requested bids for delivery in 2007 for new wielding and gluing robots for its plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen, Germany, and its South African plant.

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