KECSKEMET, Hungary, Jan 25 (Reuters) - 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 Massy-Beresford)