Mercedes-Benz South Africa is looking for an additional 600 employees in preparation for the start of production of the new C-Class, which it will build in East London from 2014.

MBSA exports the bulk of its output (LHD) to the US, with the balance (RHD) being sold locally. However, its parent company, Daimler, is upgrading its SUV factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, so it can manufacture the next generation C-Class for North America.

Daimler announced in 2009 that the 2014 C-Class would be built in four locations: Beijing, Bremen, Tuscaloosa and East London which will likely switch its export focus back to the right hand drive markets of Japan and Australia it has served with previous generations.

MBSA said it would move to a three-shift model and the plant would operate 24 hours a day once production of the new C-Class is under way. With more complex technologies, existing staff are receiving extra training with many being sent to Germany for instruction.