Last month's opening of a second assembly line for the Mercedes-Benz E class in Austria increases complexity for the E-class body shop in Sindelfingen, Germany.
The body shop makes the bodies for all E-class models. But DaimlerChrysler's contract for Magna Steyr to assemble 112 E classes a day in Graz means the body shop must feed production lines 500km apart.
From Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, between 100 and 120 bodies in white are shipped daily by rail to Graz in southern Austria.
Magna Steyr paints and assembles regular rear-drive sedans and stations wagons to meet demand on two shifts, hitting full line-speed by March.
By mid-summer, Magna-Steyr will start production of E-class all-wheel-drive 4matic versions of the E class as well. The 4matic drive units are produced in another Graz plant by Magna-Steyr Powertrain.
About 950 employees are assigned to the E-class assembly, which runs through 2010. The powertrain subsidiary employs another 100 producing the 4matic units, which are used on Mercedes-Benz C-, E- and S-class models.