Daimler has decided to produce parts of the electric powertrain (eATS) for the next electric vehicles in the EQ family at their Untertürkheim plant in Germany. This was agreed after long negotiations between the management and the works council at the site.
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The employee representatives have managed to convince the carmaker to manufacture the electric drives for its electric cars themselves. So far, for example, the drive for the EQC has largely been supplied by ZF – although Daimler has always enjoyed boasting that they build their own (combustion) transmissions, while BMW buys them from suppliers such as ZF and Getrag.
Although most details resulting from the decision have not yet been revealed, both sides want to announce more details about the agreement on Thursday. “The production of the eATS is a commitment to the traditional Mercedes-Benz site in Untertürkheim and a forward-looking signal for the employees,” said Plant Manager Frank Deiß and Works Council Chairman Michael Häberle in advance.
According to German trade news outlet Handelsblatt, Daimler boss Ola Källenius said in October during negotiations with the works council that it was “quite unlikely” that Daimler would manufacture the eATS itself in Untertürkheim. In the short term, Källenius will also be right, because the agreement stipulates that the next generation of the eATS will be partly manufactured in Untertürkheim – from 2024. According to German automotive magazine Automobilwoche, the assembly of the powertrain will initially secure 350 jobs.
Just one month ago, the group and the works council had agreed to stop the production of diesel engines in Untertürkheim and at the engine plant in Bad Cannstatt. Instead, the share of gasoline engines is to be increased as far as possible to ensure capacity utilization. Daimler’s main plant in Untertürkheim does not build whole vehicles but rather engines, transmissions, axles (also for trucks) and cast parts. With a higher proportion of electric cars, some of the components produced will either be in less demand or eliminated altogether – just under 11,000 employees work in this particular production facility, with a total of 22,000 employees at the site.
Update 12.12.2019: In the meantime, the company and the works council have provided further details in the announced announcement. It states that “the power-transmitting wheelset and other components such as the electrohydraulic control system […] will be manufactured in Untertürkheim in the future”. The assembly of the components into a complete system will also take place at the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant. Even if it is expressly not mentioned: The electric motors themselves and the power electronics will probably continue to be purchased and then assembled with the components manufactured in-house.
“Right from the start, it was a major concern for the company management to produce the eATS with our Untertürkheim team – the prerequisites for this were long-term profitability and competitiveness,” says Frank Deiß, Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars and responsible for the Untertürkheim Mercedes-Benz plant. “I am pleased that we were able to agree on a sustainable framework after intensive discussions with the works council. To produce the eATS at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim is the consistent continuation of our transformation in the Neckar Valley”.
In addition to the planned production and assembly of the eATS, the works council and the company agree that the agreed measures are aimed at “being able to react even more flexibly to changes in the market and at further expanding the Untertürkheim plant as a competitive location for electromobility as well,” according to the press release.
By the way: Daimler CEO Ola Källenius was not mentioned in the announcement.
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