Ever since Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) set up its production base at Pekan, Pahang in 2004, the brand with the three-pointed star has been driven by a growing range of locally assembled models which had cemented its position as the best-selling premium brand in Malaysia. Fifteen years on, MBM is celebrating the production milestone of 100,000 units.
Beyond celebrating the landmark, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia also took the opportunity to announce the commencement of exports (within August) to the Philippines in the shape of the C-Class C180 saloon; making MBM the first right-hand drive country in the region to be assembling a left-hand drive (LHD) model for a left-hand drive market.
On top of that, MBM has also been busy updating and prepping its production facility not just for the LHD assembly but also to shift to an adjacent building which will now house three lines (previously two and a half), upgraded body shop and paint shop with higher complexity to handle the assembly of the C-Class (including the 43 AMG variant), E-Class, GLC-Class (SUV and coupe) and the flagship S-Class plug-in hybrid – models which contribute more than 80% of all units sold in Malaysia. For the record, MBM sold over 13,000 cars in 2018.
President and CEO of MBM, Dr. Claus Weidner was coy as to the number of cars to be exported (to the Philippines) or whether there are additional export models planned, but he did reveal that while MBM isn’t bound by a particular volume (for export), the organisation is flexible enough to be able to increase production if and when required. Dr. Weidner also points to the ‘positive effects’ of exporting in that it creates more jobs with new skill sets involved, apart from just additional investments on the hardware.