DaimlerChrysler's supplier base for the new Mercedes-Benz CL luxury coupe is smaller than the one for the S class, but it has a higher degree of interior-parts integration.
For example, Draexlmaier, the family-owned German wiring and interior specialist, supplies the wood inner door panel as well as the instrument panel and the wiring for the vehicle.
Draexlmaier, of Vilsbiburg, got the contract to supply wood trim after it bought the former DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Holzindustrie Bruchsal GmbH last year.
The CL is based on the S-class platform, although it shares only 30 percent of the components with that vehicle.
Although DaimlerChrysler set new production targets for each supplier, the company did not outsource more parts than normal. Project manager Wolf-Dieter Kurz said DaimlerChrysler's close involvement in the development of the car gave it an advantage.
In particular, he said, it would be some time before a competitor could offer a similar active body control system on a production car, because Mercedes-Benz integrated the system itself.
Within DaimlerChrysler's Sindelfingen plant, the company has separated production of the CL from the S-class line. Part of the reason is that equipment levels on the CL are generally higher than those on the S class. For example, the V-6 and diesel engines are only fitted to the S class, not the CL.
In addition, the low volumes of 10,000 units a year mean the production line is relatively short, with cycle times on each station of 20 to 30 minutes. Production has been set up on a former pilot production line.
Production began in mid-June, and full production will be reached at year end. Sales started in Europe on Oct. 9, and U.S. sales will begin at year end.