Mercedes-Benz South Africa Ltd.

Buffalo City is an important automotive production centre in South Africa with Mercedes-Benz at its core.

Mercedes-Benz has been in South Africa since 1954 and produces the C-Class, among other vehicles, in East London. From the W121 Mercedes-Benz 190 to the new C-Class – 2015 World Car of the Year, more than 20 models have been produced in East London over the last 57 years.

The story of the C-Class, since the W202 came off the line 21 years ago, has become one of pride and success not only for MBSA and its employees, but also for the Buffalo City Metro Municipality and for the Eastern Cape.

The international success story of locally produced C-Class models started with the first export C180s being loaded for Australia in 1997: Out of Africa, for the World.

The multi-award winning manufacturing plant is one of four plants in the world producing the C-Class (East London in South Africa, Tuscaloosa in the USA, Bremen in Germany and Beijing in China) – four continents, one passion).

On the 28th May 2015 Mercedes-Benz produced its one millionth passenger car in Buffalo City, a white Mercedes-Benz W205 C-Class.

The tradition of MBSA in Buffalo City shows how the city enables manufacturing for a world-class car manufacturer. MBSA is the anchor for the associated automobile industry. Many associated component suppliers have settled in the nearby industrial West Bank Industrial areas. 

During 2019, MBSA East London celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the first C-Class that was built within their plant. In addition, MBSA seeks to build a C-Class plant in East London during 2021. MBSA will invest R10-billion for the new generation C-Class plant in East London. It is said, this investment is the single largest investment so far within the South African Automotive Industry. 

For more information on MBSA, click here

Find out more about MBSA Investor Relations

The East London IDZ Automotive Supplier Park (ASP)

The ASP houses world renowned automotive suppliers that conduct business with industry leaders such as Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, and General Motors.
With a world class ASP, the East London IDZ has positioned itself as an ideal location for an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Over 80 hectares of land have been set aside as a location for an OEM within the ELIDZ. From this location, the OEM will have ease of access to all different aspects of the automotive value chain that are all conveniently within a 10km radius to the East London IDZ.

Benefits to component manufacturers

• Dedicated utilities and other services that are designed to assist and stimulate auto sector industrial productivity, expansion and export   competitiveness.
• Time and cost savings arising from shared logistical and supply chain arrangements
• Comprehensive package of industry support assistance, including substantial national trade & export promotion incentives
• Close proximity to local OEMs with easy access to road, rail and air transport
• Established base of automotive skills in the Eastern Cape Province.

In-house metal surface treatment plant

In 2012, the East London Industrial Development Zone established the Metal Surface Treatment (aluminium treatment and E-Coating) facility which is located at its Automotive Supplier Park (ASP). This became the first facility of its kind in the greater Border area. The establishment of the facility has increased the competitiveness of East London as an investment destination particularly for the automotive sector.

Upon completion, the organisation appointed a proficient operator (Linde + Wiemann RSA) to oversee the day-to-day runnings of the facility.

The establishment of a facility at the ELIDZ has installed value adding services to the automotive sector, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the IDZ by creating shared services, through enabling infrastructure which can be used by multiple investors. The facility is also touted as one of the key facilities within the zone which will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the mooted Multi-Model Original Equipment Manufacturers (MMOEM) plant becomes a reality. The MST facility offers its services to MBSA and various other component manufacturers and has in turn created a total of 42 direct jobs.

Current companies in the ASP are:

TI Automotive Fuel Systems SA – Assembles fuel tanks for MBSA
MC Synchro – assembles tyres and rimes for MBSA
Feltext Automotive Trim – supplier of acoustic and trim component
Fehrer Automotive – produces seat pads and head rests for MBSA
Futuris Feltex – tuffed carpets for supply to sister company
Feltex Caravelle automotive carpets
Foxtec Ihkwezi – supplies high-volume forged non-ferrous products for automotive and engineering industries
Johnson Controls – produces coackpits, overhead systems and seats for automotive industry
TI Automotive – assembles brake and fuel pipes for MBSA
Molan Pino – manufactures polypropylene foam components, cold cured polycreathane components and cut foams for OEMs
Voestalpine – develops and manufactures structural parts, welding parts and assemblies for motor industry
RG Brose – manufactures door systems for MBSA W205
Boysen – develops and manufactures exhaust manifolds, catalytic converter silencers and exhaust systems

Investment opportunities

The ELIDZ has set aside a zone in close proximity to the ASP to house 2-3 OEMs where leaner operations can be realised as well as greater efficiencies and cost savings. With a world class ASP, the East London IDZ has positioned itself as an ideal location for an Original Equipment Manufacturer. Over 80 hectares of land have been set aside as a location for an OEM within the ELIDZ. From this location, the OEM will have ease of access to all different aspects of the automotive value chain that are all conveniently within a 10km radius to the East London IDZ.

The following benefits would be realised:
• Multi-brand production with shared services thereby reducing costs
• Focus on niche products with low volumes where applicable
• Lowering of infrastructure investment and increased flexibility
• Improved and stable supply chain process
• Decreasing inventory and holding cost as the ASP is within a kilometre.

Download: ELIDZ – Multi Model Original Equipment Manufacturer 

Buffalo City Metro (BCM) Automotive Aftermarket Incubator in Mdantsane 

The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC)  facilitated the launch of the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) Automotive Aftermarket Incubator in Mdantsane in February 2016. Click on the video to hear from BCMM's Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi as well as from the incubatees that are based in the BCM Automotive Aftermarket Incubator.

The incubator is not only servicing a growing robust and economically viable market, but will develop the economy within Mdantsane, where formal business development has lagged. The vision for the future is that 3 more automotive incubators will open up across the Eastern Cape, transforming communities in Mthatha, Queenstown and Butterworth.


Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS)

Useful documents

Useful links

Contact details

Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Mr. Marius Coetzee

Sector Manager: Manufacturing

Tel: +27 (0) 43 605 7062


Contact details

Mercedes Benz South Africa Ltd

Feliciano G. Janneker

Manager Corporate Affairs Production

Tel.: +27 43 706 9532
Cell: +27 79 882 8537
Fax: +27 43 706 2202

Contact details


Mrs. Cyndi-Lee Perils

Sector Manager: Automobile

Tel: + 27 (0) 43 702 8254

Cell: +27 (0) 79 873 1481


Mercedes Benz social engagement
AIDC EC Incubator Launch
Mercedes-Benz South Africa Hyprid Models Launch

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