The 100 000th Mercedes-Benz C-Class rolled off the production line at DaimlerChrysler South Africa's East London plant last week.

The 100 000th Mercedes-Benz C-Class rolled off the production line at DaimlerChrysler South Africa's East London manufacturing plant last week.

The silver Mercedes-Benz C180 with grey leather interior was handed to Zanele Mbeki, wife of President Thabo Mbeki. She indicated that the car would be raffled for charity.

"The Mercedes-Benz C-Class export programme is one of this country's major success stories," said DCSA's management board member of manufacturing Dr Hansgeorg Niefer.

"Our initial R1,4 billion investment, together with the investments by the suppliers we attracted to the region, not only brought billions in foreign investment to the region, but also created hundreds of new job opportunities and necessitated the transfer of state-of-the-art technology to this country.

"Since the start-up of C-Class production in September 2000, we have exported more than 75 000 units, earning several million rands in foreign exchange for the country," Dr Niefer said.

"The fact that we are now capable of world-class quality and production standards is borne out by the fact that our cars have gained unconditional acceptance in some of the most demanding markets in the world, including Japan and the United Kingdom.”

DCSA East London works two shifts five days a week, producing about 200 units per day. Total production for 2002 was 56 153 units (47 665 C-Class and 8 488 Mitsubishi Colt), an eight per cent increase over the 52 171 units produced in 2001, and the highest total ever for the plant.

Exports of right-hand drive C-Class models from East London also reached record levels in 2002. Of the 36 000 units that left via East London's harbour, 44 per cent were destined for the United Kingdom, 11 per cent for Japan, and 11 per cent for Australia. The South African market accounts for about 25 per cent of the plant's output.

Original article from Car