Mercedes expands Romania transmission plant, worth EUR 300 M

An important milestone at Daimler and the Romanian subsidiary Star Transmission was celebrated last Friday, in Sebes, Alba County, an event that marked the beginning of a new phase of an investment worth more than EUR 300 million, with the project to generate over 500 jobs. According to the German carmaker Daimler officials, starting 2016, the new Mercedes-Benz 9G – TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission will be assembled here.
“The additional assembly capacities in Sebes supplement our production operation at the Mercedes-Benz Unterturkheim plant optimally. They also are an important contributing factor in the economics and the flexibility of our international production network of Mercedes-Benz. With this set-up we will successfully satisfy the continuing increase in demand for automatic transmissions,” said Markus Schafer, Divisional Board Member Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management who attended the opening ceremony.
The Daimler Subsidiary Star Transmission was founded in 2001. Since then, gearwheels, shafts as well as machined components for engines, transmissions and steering systems are being produced at the Cugir location. Moreover, the technology center which contains a production of prototypes and a training center is located here. According to a press release, the Sebes location started the assembly of 5-speed automatic transmission in 2013. The start of the assembly of 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmissions in Sebes this year provides additional capacities beyond the manufacturing operations previously concentrated exclusively in Stuttgart. Currently, the company employs a total workforce of more than 1,200 people.
What about a Mercedes-Benz made in Romania?
“The expansion of the Sebes location and the connected further investments of Daimler underline that we are on a good way in Romania and have created an attractive investment climate. With this, we aim to further extend out position as an important automotive manufacturing location in Europe and to create further new jobs”, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said in his turn and continued: “‘Of course that, as any Romanian, I wish that Mercedes cars would be produced in Romania at a certain point, besides transmission systems. Thus, my ministers, who I told to drive only cars manufactured in Romania, will be able to get back to the Mercedes cars their predecessors used to drive. Until then, they drive made in Romania cars. I’ll be very happy to know that around the world there are Mercedes cars with transmissions made in Sebes”.
“There are no differences of quality between a gearbox manufactured in Germany and one produced in Romania,” Star Transmission general manager Bernd Krottmayer said.
Also PM said he is committed to the Government that in 2015, from the 80,000 sq m factory in Sebes to the Hungarian border it will go on highway. Moreover, according to the Prime Minister soon, Sibiu and Timisoara airports will Schengen airports.
With a EUR 37.4 million state support from the Romanian Gov’t, Star Transmission is one of the first Romanian companies to offer a dual education system modelled after the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Ponta added that in exchange for this aid, the investors bring to Romania technology investments and create jobs, pay taxes and help the dual education development. Since September 2013, the plant has been training young people in technical professions, such as electrical mechanics or model founder, for example.
Daimler is displaying its confidence in Romania
By this expansion investment, Star Transmission, and particularly the people of this Romanian region, can also look forward to the future in a happy and trustful manner. “What is being born today has resonances that go beyond the project at Sebes. The world’s first class brand Daimler is displaying also this way its confidence in the location called Romania, and this adds another highlight to the economic ties between Germany and Romania,” said Germany’s ambassador to Romania Werner Hans Lauk.
“Daimler and STC have already proved they are ready to act to the benefit of the Romanian economy as well, beyond their economic and entrepreneurial commitments. They are ready, as many other German companies operating in Romania also are, to be long-term investors and good members of the Romanian society,” the ambassador added. He said the laying of the foundations for the Sebes facility is an excellent expression of the economic relations between Germany and Romania.
The world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission with torque converter for premium vehicles impresses with outstanding comfort and barely perceptible gear changes.
The event was also attended by Peter Schabert – Head of Powertrain Production Mercedes-Benz Cars and Head of the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant, Romanian businessman Ion Tiriac, Sebes Mayor Alexandru Dancila, Transports Minister Dan Sova, Economy Minister Constantin Nita.
Mercedes, the world’s third-biggest producer of luxury cars, has posted sales jumps exceeding 10 percent for nine consecutive months, including a 13 percent increase in March, as new compact cars and variants of the S- and E-Class sedans win buyers.

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