Daimler's Billion-Dollar Bet on Hungary

Its new factory near Budapest has wages a fifth of those in Germany
Dedicating the Mercedes assembly plant in Kecskemét last month: Factory Director Frank Klein, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and CEO Dieter Zetsche Photograph by Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

The campaign by Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand to regain the global luxury sales crown it ceded to rival BMW in 2005 will ultimately be won or lost in dealer showrooms in China, the U.S., and Russia. And of course, Hungary. Daimler on March 29 began production at its €800 million ($1.07 billion) factory, located in Kecskemét, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southeast of Budapest, that will make the Mercedes B-Class compact.

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