Each year more than 400,000 vehicles roll off the assembly line at Bremen's Mercedes-Benz plant. This is a vast logistical operation, since all the individual parts have to be delivered to the plant beforehand. Over 1,000 external companies supply the plant, which sees thousands of delivery trucks come and go on a daily basis.
Many of these suppliers have based themselves in close proximity to the automotive giant, with more than 700 located within a 200 kilometre radius. In Bremen itself there are over 40 companies specialising in vehicle components, parts logistics, automotive engineering and plant engineering. Together they employ more than 4,000 people.
Impressive figures that attest to Bremen's standing as an automotive city. The suppliers are integral to all stages of the production process – from steelworks and logistics right through to electronic systems and roof systems. The majority have opened facilities in Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate, close to the Mercedes-Benz plant. Our article on the industrial park explains how this set-up runs so smoothly.
The following overview demonstrates the wide range of companies and technologies that make up Bremen's automotive supply chain.
1. BLG Logistics Group AG & Co.
This logistics giant is one of the world's biggest service providers in the automotive logistics sector, as evidenced by the AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven – Europe's biggest car park. BLG Logistics Group also undertakes important tasks for the Mercedes-Benz plant, such as the distribution of car parts in the factory. The company oversees goods coming in and out of the plant, and organises the repacking and storage of parts as well as the production processes (sequence planning). It also operates several huge storage facilities in Bremen – in logistics depots near the Cargo Distribution Center and in halls at Neustadt harbour.
2. Hella Fahrzeugkomponenten GmbH
If a part in your car moves or lights up, then it probably came from Hella. The company's Bremen plant, which employs more than 500 staff, produces actuators, wash systems, engine pumps and switches. Bremen is also Hella's flagship plant for sensors.
3. Lear Corporation GmbH & Co. KG
The Lear Corporation is one of the biggest automotive suppliers in the world. The American company acquired a plant in Bremen in 1997, from which it produces car seat units and seating systems for Mercedes-Benz on a just-in-time basis. The company has more than 850 staff working in close proximity to the Mercedes plant.
4. Magna Car Top Systems GmbH
Magna puts a roof over drivers' head – and takes it away again. The company produces fabric and metal folding roofs for convertibles and roadsters for various car manufacturers. Its Bremen facility produces, among other things, retractable hardtops.
5. KUKA Systems GmbH Assembly & Test unit
KUKA is a leading manufacturer of automotive robotics, which are now indispensable in the industry. Inside the company's assembly and test centre in Bremen, it designs and manufactures robots for use in the factories of major vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers. There is a particular focus in Bremen on components such as drive trains, engines, cylinder heads, axles, transmissions and steering mechanisms.
6. DRÄXLMAIER GmbH
DRÄXLMAIER produces instrument panels, on-board power supply systems and integral electric and electronic components for premium car manufacturers all over the world. In November 2016 the company opened its new logistics facility in Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate, having outgrown a smaller site with insufficient capacity for their just-in-time and just-in-sequence processes. As of May 2017 the new facility will employ around 60 people.
7. Wagon Automotive Bremen GmbH
Wagon Automotive hails from Nagold in Baden-Württemberg, south-west Germany, but since early 2017 the supplier has been producing mudguards, doors and boot lids from its new 10,000m² facility in Bremen. Bremeninvest was integral to the company's arrival in Bremen, as one of Wagon's managing partners Thomas Eisseler explained to a local newspaper in the Black Forest: "The close collaboration between the city council and the regional development agency made our decisions much easier and helped us greatly with this strategically important project in Bremen."
8. ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH
This Bremen-based steelworks also plays an important role in the city's car industry. With a workforce of more than 4,500 people and an annual production volume of 3.5 million tonnes, the plant is one of Bremen's biggest employers. Some of the steel produced here is used by local automotive suppliers to manufacture components.
9. LOREL Logistik GmbH
In more than 100,000m² of warehouse space at its Hansalinie site, LOREL Logistik GmbH gathers together components from over 200 parts manufacturers from around the world. The parts are then prepared for delivery to the assembly line on a just-in-time basis. The company is far more than an interim storage facility. In its supplier logistics centre, it oversees stock deliveries and splits them into new sets ready to be used straight away on the production line. This ensures the assembly line never stops. 400 LOREL employees work in up to three shifts every day. Read our article for more information on LOREL: Many strings to its bow – Innovative Logistics at the Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate
10. Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Bremen GmbH
Wherever you want to go, you need a steering system to get there. Established in 1969, the Robert Bosch Automotive Steering plant in Bremen and its workforce of nearly 300 people produce more than a million steering columns per year. This internationally operating company also manufactures intermediate shafts and universal joints.
For further information on the automotive and logistics sectors, please contact Kai Stührenberg, tel: +49 (0)421 361-32173, firstname.lastname@example.org
Working on your laptop while the car takes care of the steering? This could well be the future for car travel. Teams in Bremen are working towards this end goal, with scientists from the university taking their first test car out on the road. Their expertise in aerospace comes in handy here too.
Formula Student is a world-wide competition for self-built racing cars, with the season’s final race held at Hockenheim. A Bremen-based team has been taking part in the competition with an electric racing car since 2013, and their ambitious goal is to break into the top ten.
An engine under the bonnet drives the wheels – this is the configuration that has been powering cars for over a hundred years. However, wheel hub motors – i.e. motors in the hub of the wheel, not under the bonnet – promise many advantages. Electric drive systems make this possible.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
No fewer than ten Mercedes-Benz models proudly bear the seal 'Made in Bremen'. They range from standard saloons to sports cars and SUVs. Which one do you like best?
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
Whichever C-Class model the German or European customer chooses, one thing is for sure: it will be manufactured in Bremen, the centre of excellence for the C-Class. Fans of open-top driving will also be delighted to see that the new C-Class convertible ...