Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) launched its first batch of the keenly awaited high-performance AMG C43 at its East London plant yesterday.
The launch, which saw Buffalo City Metro injecting millions to revamp the infrastructure of the West Bank industrial area, was welcomed with excitement by all employees and management.
Cameras clicked as the first five V6 engine-powered sporty cars rolled off the line.
MBSA spokesman Asanda Fongqo said the car giant was delivering on a promise made in March when they said the plant would be ready to manufacture the MGs from their award-winning East London plant.
“It is the first time that a W205 C-Class AMG had been built in Africa. This model is an addition to our current C-Class family, and paves the way for the C63 and C63 S – V8 sedans, which are planned to be produced later in 2017,” Fongqo said. The company invested more than R200-million in its East London plant for the production of C43 as well as C63 and C63 S sedans.
The C43 has a three-litre turbo-petrol V6 engine that pumps 270kW and 520Nm to both axles via 4Matic all-wheel drive, and a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic sports transmission, and adaptive air suspension with comfort and sport settings.
Buffalo City mayor Xola Pakati said yesterday that the metro had set aside R49-million to replace the old water mains and water meters in West Bank, Woodbrook, Braelyn and North End industrial areas “to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the businesses”.
“This is to ensure that water to key investors such as Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Nestlé, who are the major users of water in the city, are not interrupted as this could result in huge financial losses to the businesses,” the mayor said.
The metro has also committed a sum of R13-million to build a new restitution reservoir in West Bank, construction of which mayoral committee head of engineering services, Ncedo Kumbaca, said began three weeks ago.
In addition, BCM spokesman Sam Ngwenya said the council had resolved to lease a portion of Erf18870, West Bank, East London to MBSA, along Dr Zahn Road, for parking.
Mercedes-Benz has also invested in the development of these parking facilities and landscaping of municipal-owned land that is situated within the road reserve of Military Road and Dr Zahn Road.
Ngwenya said: “MBSA is in the process of preparing for investment in expansion and upgrade of its manufacturing plant in East London. The Buffalo City spatial development framework recognises the area around the land in question as part of West Bank industrial area”.
This is in addition to the decision to also sell Erf19025 in Military Road to MBSA. — firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com