The supply chain issues for Mercedes’ EQC electric SUV have presented a steep learning curve, according to Mercedes R&D board member Markus Schafer, but he says the maker is back on track to produce 50,000 EQCs this year.
Issues with Mercedes’ battery supplier, LG Chem, had led to widespread reports that Mercedes would not fulfil its production goals this year, but Schafer said it was, once again, on course to achieve targets.
“It’s definitely a new game, dealing with new platforms, dealing with an EV. The issue was not driven by the factory or production process but rather from the battery factory and battery equipment. For sure, this was a learning curve and in a new field. But this is one out of 45 [models] and is not the rule.
“The ramping up of the battery plant with €700m investment in LG Chem (which supplies EQC batteries) was definitely a challenge and limiting factor. So far, we have overcome the issues and are planning significant numbers for the EQC - returning to the initial number of 50,000 we expected for this year.”
He added that he could not predict world events such as the coronavirus or natural disaster - “I don’t have a crystal ball” - and their possible effects on production but said: “Everything that is in our hands has been done to secure stable output of the EQC.”