Mercedes starts Romanian output of 9-speed auto
Daimler's Romanian subsidiary Star Assembly has started production of the 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. "With the expansion of transmission production in Sebes, we are able to respond more flexibly and efficiently to the growing demand for automatic transmissions," says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management.
Daimler is investing more than EUR300m in the expansion of its production capacity in Sebes and is creating around 1,000 new jobs.
"With the expansion of transmission production in Sebes, we are able to respond more flexibly and efficiently to the growing demand for automatic transmissions. The development of our transmission production in Romania is an ideal addition to our global powertrain production network with its lead plant in Untertürkheim," said Schäfer.
Daimler said the new production area covers the size of around ten football pitches. Some 500 kilometres of cables and 5.000 tonnes of metal went into its construction.
"Today's start of production, together with the associated investment in the site in Sebes, offers excellent future prospects for the region. We are thus writing another chapter in the success story of cooperation between Daimler and Romania as a production location," said Costin Borc, Romanian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy.
Daimler currently employs over 1.800 people at the two sites operated by its Romanian subsidiaries Star Transmission and Star Assembly. Founded in 2001, Star Transmission's plant in Cugir manufactures gearwheels and shafts as well as machined components for engines, transmissions and steering systems. It is also home to the technology centre and a training establishment. Its sister company Star Assembly was set up in 2013 in Sebes, with production of the five-speed automatic transmission launching in the same year. The first seven-speed automatic transmission left the assembly line in 2014.
"Our two Romanian subsidiaries are an important part of our global powertrain production compound. They produce reliably, flexibly and in top quality. The start of production of the high-volume 9G-Tronic transmission in Romania increases the competitiveness of our international production network," said Frank Deiß, Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz plant Untertürkheim. Mercedes-Benz manufactures automatic transmissions in a flexibly integrated production network in which Untertürkheim is the lead plant, with transmissions being assembled in Romania. The employees at the Romanian subsidiary were trained intensively in all assembly processes for several months as part of a qualification programme at the transmission-production facility in Untertürkheim.
Mercedes says 9G-Tronic is the world's first nine-speed automatic transmission for premium vehicles with rear-wheel, all-wheel, hybrid or plug-in hybrid drive and comes with smooth operation and "scarcely perceptible gearshifts", which has a particularly beneficial effect on efficiency and noise levels.
All new E-Class drive variations available at market launch are now equipped as standard with the new 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes says the 9G-Tronic will be used in almost all model series with a longitudinally mounted engine.