The Hanseatic City of Bremen has a long tradition in automobile construction. It began with the founding of the Carl F. W. Borgward Automobil- und Motorenwerke in the Sebaldsbrück district. After the Borgward era came to an end in 1961, and the period of producing commercial vehicles, the first Mercedes-Benz car was produced here in 1978: a T model in the 123 series. Today, we produce eight models with the star at the site – and the six millionth Mercedes-Benz car “Made in Bremen” has in the meantime rolled off the assembly line. We have developed into the largest private employer in the region with about 12,800 employees. We created 350 new and permanent jobs in 2011 alone.
The Bremen site plays an important role in the Mercedes-Benz production group. We are the competence centre for the next generation of the C-Class which is to hit the streets in 2014. We manage the start-up and production of this high-volume series in the overseas plants in Tuscaloosa/USA, Beijing/China and East London/South Africa. We already have colleagues from the USA, China and South Africa with us at the plant to prepare themselves for the start-up of the new series – and who will pass on the knowledge they have gained as so-called multipliers. In turn, colleagues from the Bremen automobile plant are visiting the overseas plants to prepare for the start-up. And at the same time we are preparing our plant for the future. Specifically this means that we will be investing over one billion euros in the Bremen site by 2014. We set the standard for automobile production by preparing our assembly facilities for the next product generation and by using state of the art technology. We are changing and expanding much of the plant. Our body shop is currently being expanded to nearly four times its current size and it will total 145,000 square metres of space after construction has been completed. Right next door we are constructing a logistics building. Here structural components will be stored which will then be supplied directly to the body shop for further processing. We have built a car park on our production site which offers space for about 2,000 vehicles. Our employees’ vehicles as well as new cars for the customer centre can be parked there. We have moved and enlarged the distribution area of our plant so that it can now accommodate about 1,000 vehicles. We will virtually double the space for the pressing plant and a new single-acting hydraulic press will be installed. We have also devised an innovative, fully aluminium frame for the new SL that was introduced in spring of this year. The lightweight construction makes this roadster up to 140 kilogrammes lighter than its predecessor model.
You see, we are making things happen – and have big plans. Bremen provides us with excellent conditions to make it happen. Not the least of which is the proximity to Bremerhaven which is a tremendous advantage. We ship our vehicles around the world from there. In addition, more than 30,000 customers came to the Hanseatic city in the past year alone to pick up their new vehicles from our customer centre.
At the heart of the automobile construction in Bremen are the people who day in and day out build each and every car with the passion as if they were their own. I am convinced that we will continue the site’s success story together with this team.
The author, born in 1957, has headed Daimler AG’s Bremen plant since 2010. The trained carpenter, who also studied wood and plastics engineering, was among other things managing director of the Daimler subsidiary HIB (interior production) in Bruchsal. Kellermann has held a top management position at the Bremen plant since 2003. He is married and has two sons.