KECSKEMET, Hungary Jan 25 Daimler
said it would build a new four-door Mercedes coupe, one of three
new compact models it is launching in a bid to win back its
premium car crown, at a plant in Hungary.
Daimler is rolling out three new compact models by 2015 on
top of its A and B series, part of its effort to beat rivals BMW
and Audi and regain the top spot in the
premium auto segment by the end of the decade.
The new CLA model, which will be manufactured exclusively in
Hungary at a plant in the central Hungarian town Kecskemet, will
be available from April 2013 and is the second Mercedes model to
be made in the central European country after the B series.
Mercedes launched serial production of the B series in
Kecskemet last year after an 800 million euro investment, one of
the largest of its kind in Hungary in recent years.
Mercedes rolled out over 40,000 B series vehicles from its
first plant in the region last year, giving Hungary's 100
billion euro economy a boost.
However, that still failed to stop the country from slipping
back into its second recession in four years.
The carmaker added 500 new jobs at the plant, bringing its
total workforce to over 3,000, to accommodate the new model.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government is pinning hopes of
a recovery on carmakers such as Mercedes and Audi boosting
output at their Hungarian plants as domestic demand is stifled
by austerity measures to keep the deficit under control.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Helen