Original: There was a time when buying an expensive luxury car meant you were paying for the knowledge your car was designed and built to a standard beyond that of cars manufactured by mainstream makes. Today, however, the people who designed and engineered a particular model aren’t always the same people putting it together. In other words, the badge on the front of the car doesn’t always guarantee the company behind the badge is the same company responsible for building it.
A number of carmakers are outsourcing production to smaller companies that either specialize in particular models (such as Karmann and convertibles) or simply to build them cheaper (such as Finnish company Valmet, who builds the Porsche Boxster and Cayman). Mercedes is now considering outsourcing production of the CLS to either Karmann or Magna Steyr in the future.
Speaking with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes COO Rainer Schmueckle revealed officials were considering the option but were worried that quality may not be up to scratch. Schmueckle said a decision would be made within the next six months.
This would be a major deal for a company like Karmann, which has been forced to lay-off hundreds of staff recently due to dwindling contracts with other carmakers and increased competition from newly emerging markets such as China and India. In fact, we could soon see the day when premium badges like BMW and Mercedes starting exporting vehicles from cheap labor centers like India for sale in global markets.