The sharp rise in sales of the two models in the mid-size van and MPV segment that Mercedes-Benz Vans manufactures in Vitoria, the Vito and V-Class, has encouraged the company to expand the production capacity of this plant.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is to invest 41 million euros to update the plant, a figure that far exceeds the 14 million euros invested in 2015. This amount will mainly be allocated to adapting the body shop, paint shop and assembly lines. A third shift will also be introduced from October in order to achieve the planned production. In addition, for the first time, the two regular shifts will be maintained during the summer months.
At present, 540 vehicles roll off the production line in Vitoria every day, compared to 470 at the end of 2015. To achieve this, the company hired 800 new employees at the beginning of 2016, increasing the workforce to the current 4,600. The introduction of a third shift, as from October this year, will mean significant new recruitment and raise production to 660 vehicles per day. To date, Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested a total of 190 million euros in the start-up and expansion of production of the latest generations of the Vito and V-Class models in Vitoria.
In the first quarter of 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans sold 76,000 units, showing growth of 20%. The strongest sales drivers behind this increase were precisely the two models assembled in Vitoria. Sales of the Vito van rose 61%, to 21,300 units, compared to 13,200 sold the previous year. 9,300 units of the V-Class multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) were sold, compared to 5,900 in the first quarter of 2015, representing an increase of 58%. Mercedes-Benz Vans expects this significant growth in demand to continue throughout 2016.
The Vitoria plant plays a pioneering role within the group in the use of innovative production systems that help to accelerate and improve processes, such as the LED-based light tunnel for automated paintwork inspection, developed in cooperation with the University of Valencia.