The previous-generation W204 C-Class was sourced from Germany, but the new C-Class range will include sedan models sourced from the African nation. However, the imminent C-Class estate, the C300 hybrid and the forthcoming C63 AMG will continue to be sourced from Germany.
The initial batch of C-Class models to go on sale at Mercedes-Benz dealerships this weekend (including sedans), will be a mix of German and South African built models, but long-term, all sedan models are expected out of the East London plant in Eastern Cape.
Mercedes-Benz Australia’s manager of public relations and product communications, Jerry Stamoulis, told CarAdvice that all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, regardless of country of origin, have to meet the same stringent build quality standards for the brand.
“We are expecting a high quality of build in South Africa at our east London plant, it’s one of our highest-rated [manufacturing] plants in the world.”
Industry source JD Power has awarded the East London plant numerous awards, with Mercedes-Benz vehicles coming out of South Africa even scoring higher than some of those from Germany, which Stamoulis says will mean Mercedes is “expecting similar quality [from South Africa] if not higher [than German built cars]” for C-Class.
In 2011 the plant was awarded J.D. Power’s initial quality survey gold award for highest ranked manufacturing plant supplying U.S. from Europe and Africa while it got a second ranked silver award in 2012.
With global manufacturing now an almost common practice for all brands, it’s unlikely the C-Class’ origin will have any significant impact on its expected sales success, but does it affect the overall experience of buying and owning a “German” car?