Valmet, Daimler reach deal to make Mercedes


HELSINKI–Independent Finnish car manufacturer Valmet Automotive said Tuesday it has struck a deal with Daimler AG to produce more than 100,000 of the German automaker’s latest Mercedes-Benz model, the A-class, to satisfy high demand ahead of the launch.

The value of the agreement was not disclosed, but Valmet spokeswoman Teija Ahlman described it as “significant.”

Under the deal, Valmet will manufacture the cars at its Uusikaupunki plant in southwestern Finland between 2013 and 2016.

Daimler began building the new A-class model, a small family car, at its Rastatt plant in Germany in July. Due to the popularity of the model, the automaker says it needs help to build more. Some 40,000 orders have already been placed for the cars that are due for launch in September.

Valmet Automotive, established in 1968, currently produces the Fisker Karma hybrid car for Fisker Automotive Inc. and the Marussia B2 sports vehicle for Russia’s Marussia Motors. It has previously manufactured cars for Germany’s Porsche AG, Opel and Sweden’s Saab.

Valmet President Ilpo Korhonen said the deal allows the company to call back up to 400 temporarily laid off workers and hire “some hundreds of new employees.” The company currently has staff of 1,700.

The Helsinki-listed engineering and technology group Metso Corp. owns 60 percent of Valmet Automotive.