Mercedes opens first center in Asia

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Mercedes opens first center in Asia

The first training center in Asia for the German automaker Mercedes-Benz opened in Yongin, Gyeonggi, on Friday.

“Korea is a market that will grow beyond the size of Japan or China for Mercedes-Benz,” said Kim Ji-seop, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Korea at the ceremony marking the opening of the company’s third training center, following ones in Germany and France.

The center is a professional facility capable of educating up to 12,000 technicians each year. Current CEO Dimitris Psillakis, who took office just last month, said he will provide services that create professional technicians with world-class skills.

The center is 5,274 square meters (56,769 square feet) in size, and costs 25 billion won ($21.1 million) to build. It is the biggest among the existing training centers in Korea operated by foreign automakers.

Each of the center’s three floors have spaces for professional instruction, including spaces focused on the repair and sale of sedans and commercial vehicles.

There are 20 trainers at the center, all of whom were trained at the company’s headquarters in Germany. All of the courses offered are based on programs conducted at the headquarters.

One of the most notable programs is a course that focuses on corporate social responsibility, which will be available to both students and corporate employees.

Another program on offer is the “Mobile Academy,” a hands-on course that started last year before the center opened. The program provided field experience to about 100 students in automobile-related majors from 10 universities in the country last year.

The audacious investment in the center is due to steep growth in the Korean market. Through this August, annual sales of Mercedes-Benz were about 30,500 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 32.5 percent.

CEO Psillakis said the company is aiming to improve the quality of its services to match the growth in domestic sales.

BY YIM JI-SOO [kim.heejee@joongang.co.kr]

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