The sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz S Class, the W222 series, has just entered production at a plant in Sindelfingen, Germany. On hand to celebrate the start of production of the latest model was Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche as well as new manufacturing head Andreas Renschler.

Sales of the new S Class commence in the U.S. this fall. It will arrive initially in S550 guise, with more variants including high-performance AMG models, coupes and convertibles, and a plug-in hybrid to be launched within the following year.

The S Class is the single most important model for the German automaker. This year alone, Mercedes has invested around 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) in its Sindelfingen plant to help improve efficiency as well as the quality of the cars being churned out.

The investments are a key pillar of Mercedes’ plan to reduce production costs of all its plants by as much as 2 billion euros ($2.66 billion) by the end of next year.

New technologies and processes are being utilized, such as new join casting of aluminum alloys required for the 2014 S Class’ lightweight components. Energy efficiency was also factor: energy consumption per vehicle has been lowered by around 20 percent, in part through improvements to the building engineering.

The staff have also received new training and are using a new 'pick-by-projector' system for logistics, where they pick parts by signalling the storage unit that contains the required piece. This will prove especially critical once additional S Class variants (six in total) enter production.

Many of these variants, if not all, will be produced in an efficient and flexible process on one assembly line. And the range of optional extras is so varied that it is unlikely any S Class will be entirely identical to another.

For a closer look at the 2014 S Class’ features, click here.

And, for a video of the car’s official launch in Hamburg, Germany last month, click here.


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