Germany - Mercedes-Benz has started series production of the second model in its newest compact car generation - the B-Class - at its plant in Rastatt. The car is being built alongside the GLA SUV and the A-Class compact sedan, which is also made in Kecskemét (Hungary), Uusikaupunki (Finland) and Aguascalientes (Mexico).

"A start of production is always a highlight for a plant," said Thomas Geier, site manager of the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant. "For this one particularly, we have prepared ourselves intensively. Among other things, a hall was completely rebuilt. Thanks to our experience with the A-Class we are optimally acquainted with the production architecture and can use synergies."

News of the B-Class production comes three years after the OEM said it was investing €1 billion (US$1.14 billion) in the Rastatt plant in order to make compact cars. Around 6,500 workers are now based at the facility, making it the largest employer in the region.

Mercedes has also been busy in Poland. It is due to start making four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines at a new plant in Jawor in 2019, some of which will likely be shipped to Rastatt for use in the B-Class, A-Class and GLA SUV.

AMS recently published a feature on Daimler's wider production strategy, examining its activities in several countries such as India.