Daimler lays foundation stone for $280 million Mercedes-Benz plant in Russia

Bense, von Fritsch, Schaefer, Manturov, Ruess and Vorobyov attend a new Mercedes-Benz plant's cornerstone laying ceremony in the town of Esipovo outside Moscow
Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Rus CEO Axel Bense, Germany’s Ambassador to Russia Ruediger von Fritsch, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars Markus Schaefer, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, head of production planning of Mercedes-Benz Cars Rainer Ruess and Moscow Regional Governor Andrei Vorobyov attend a new Mercedes-Benz plant’s cornerstone laying ceremony in the town of Esipovo outside Moscow, Russia earlier this week. Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva

By Jack Stubbs, Reuters

Daimler began construction of a new Mercedes-Benz plant near Moscow this week, following through on the first new investment by a major foreign automaker in Russia since Western sanctions were imposed three years ago.

Daimler said in February that it will invest more than $280 million in the factory, contrasting with widespread wariness among international investors after a prolonged downturn brought on by sanctions and a collapse in global oil prices.

But Russia’s economy has recently shown signs of recovery, while its car market is returning to growth after four years of decline.  Continue reading Daimler lays foundation stone for $280 million Mercedes-Benz plant in Russia

Manufacturing: Trump tempts Toyota with tax break if it builds cars in US instead of Mexico

toyota mexico
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto with Toyota North America CEO James Lentz last year during the start of building the facility in Guanajuato

lockAfter apparently pressuring Ford to change its plans to expand its manufacturing operations in Mexico, President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly putting pressure on Toyota to follow suit. 

Ford had intended to build a plant in Mexico, but is now applying the brakes on those plans, according to the Economist.

A couple of days ago, Ford said it would cancel its $1.6 billion project in San Luis Potosí, Mexico and instead invest $700 million in its plant in Michigan, in the US.  Continue reading Manufacturing: Trump tempts Toyota with tax break if it builds cars in US instead of Mexico

Mercedes replaces robots with humans

Mercedes-Benz_SLR_McLaren_2_croppedWith all the current talk of robots taking over the world, and replacing millions of workers everywhere, laying waste to economies and societies everywhere, it is surprising that a company known for its advanced technology is replacing robot workers with human workers. 

Prestige auto brand Mercedes has been employing more humans and fewer robots at its car factories because apparently its customers want vehicles with a high degree of customisation which is beyond the capabilities of robots, no matter clever they are.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Markus Schaefer, the German automaker’s head of production, says: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”

Full story at Bloomberg Business.