KECSKEMET, Hungary, March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Daimler started production at its new passenger car plant in Kecskemet today. Passenger cars are now rolling off the assembly line in Hungary less than four years after the location decision was made in summer 2008. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Plant Manager Frank Klein and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban welcomed around 600 Hungarian and German guests at the opening ceremony. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080409/NYW017LOGO) At the press conference, Dr. Dieter Zetsche stressed the importance of the new location: "With the start of production in Kecskemet, the Mercedes-Benz offensive in the premium compact segment is shifting up a gear. With the production network of the Rastatt and Kecskemet plants, we now have the capacity to meet the demand from many existing – and new – customers in the premium compact segment." In this respect, Zetsche announced that another model series would also be coming to the new location – the 4-door coupe of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars. As part of the ongoing plant development, headcount is to be increased from around 2,500 to more than 3,000 by the end of this year. Zetsche expressed his special thanks to Daimler's Hungarian partners in the political, administrative and social areas: "They welcomed us like a friend and actively supported us through every stage of the plant development. Their tireless commitment was one of the main reasons for the positive outcome of this project, and will continue to be a key factor in the success of the Mercedes-Benz Kecskemet plant." Zetsche also praised the outstanding work of the Hungarian, German and international employees in developing the new plant: "This team has provided the perfect example of how we will expand our passenger car production capacity in the years ahead. We are thus laying the foundations for implementing our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy."