Strong demand for Mercedes-Benz’s new range of compact cars has forced the automaker to call on independent vehicle manufacturer Valmet to help supply more cars. Based in Finland, Valmet has built luxury cars for a number of automakers including the Boxster and Cayman for Porsche, the B2 sports car for Marussia, and most recently the Karma electric sedan for Fisker.
According to its latest agreement with Mercedes-Benz, Valmet will produce more than 100,000 units of the A Class
from 2013 through 2016.
Mercedes already has two plants for its small cars, one in Rastatt, Germany, and the other in Kecskemét, Hungary, but with more than 40,000 orders for the new A Class to date, sales of the B Class
remaining steady, and three more compact cars in the pipeline, it’s clear why additional capacity is required.
The latest B Class rolled off the line as the first product of the new generation at both of Mercedes’ small car sites late last year, while the new A Class has been built at Rastatt since July 2012. The next product from the Rastatt plant will be a compact SUV, likely to be called a GLA Class
, and the next one from the Kecskemét plant will be a four-door coupe that will likely be called a CLA Class
While neither the A Class nor the B Class will be offered in the U.S. anytime soon, the CLA Class has already been confirmed for sale in local showrooms from next year onwards, and it’s likely the GLA Class will come too. Mercedes is yet to reveal what its fifth compact will be, though most are tipping it to be a new roadster
Mercedes’ small car ambitions don’t end there, however. The automaker also confirmed today that it will be expanding sales of its compact cars in new markets, particularly in China, and that it plans to build close to its customers in the future, meaning we could soon hear of yet another production site for the automaker’s new range of compact cars.