1896The first motor car, a Benz Velo, is imported into South Africa.
1897On 4 January 1897, the Benz Velo is exhibited by the owner, John Percy Hess, at Berea Park in Pretoria. President Paul Kruger attended the trail run but declined to be a passenger.
1948East London is chosen as the home for Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (Pty) Ltd.
1950Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (Pty) Ltd officially opens its doors to assemble various brands, including Nash, Fiat, Renault, Land Rover, Hino Briska, Prince Miller and Commer.
1952Mercedes-Benz exhibits commercial vehicles at Van Riebeeck Festival in Cape Town.
1954Daimler-Benz opened its first office in South Africa to provide local distributors with assistance on sales and service.
1958Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (Pty) Ltd (in East London) is contracted by Daimler-Benz to assemble Mercedes-Benz products – W120, W121 and W180.
1962South African Auto Union acquires the franchise for Mercedes-Benz products in South Africa and United Car and Diesel Distributors (UCDD) (Pty) Ltd is appointed sole distributor. Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) is contracted to undertake assembly and the first truck rolls off the line in East London.
1966Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (Pty) Ltd becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Car and Diesel Distributors (UCDD) (Pty) Ltd.
1967West Bank site is acquired.
1973Mercedes-Benz passenger car engines are made out of Germany for the first time when production starts at the engine plant at Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (Pty) Ltd.
1979Daimler-Benz AG grants a licence to Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE) to manufacture Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle engines.
1981The first multi-racial technical training facility is opened in East London.
1982The assembly of Honda cars starts at Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) (until 2000).
1984Daimler-Benz AG acquires 50.1% of the shares in United Car and Diesel Distributors and in April the name of the local company is changed to Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Ltd. The other shareholders are Ernst Göhner Foundation in Switzerland (23.4%) and Volkskas (26.5%).
1986Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) is renamed Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Ltd, East London.
1990Nelson Mandela is released from prison and the workers at the plant build him a red S-Class in a “Labour of Love” (AV material available). Powerliner, Ecoliner and Speedliner are assembled at the East London Plant.
1992Daimler-Benz AG purchases the shares held by Volkskas and pushes up shareholding in the local company to 76.6%.
1994January: The first C-Class is assembled. Colt L200 1-ton pick-up manufacture commences with the first global joint venture between Daimler-Benz AG and Mitsubishi Motor Corporation. First women work on the assembly line for Colt.
1996Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Ltd offices move from central Pretoria to Zwartkop. The first Consignment of C-Class is exported to Australia.
1997Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Ltd offices move from central Pretoria to Zwartkop. The first Consignment of C-Class is exported to Australia.
1998Daimler-Benz AG merges with Chrysler Inc. to become DaimlerChrysler. Shares are listed simultaneously in New York and Frankfurt stock exchanges. debis Fleet Management (Pty) Ltd is established. November 17: Day One campaign to market the merger is launched. November 25: R1.4 billion investment in South Africa by DCAG is announced in the East London Imbizo attended by President Nelson Mandela.
1999Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Ltd becomes DaimlerChrysler South Africa (Pty) Ltd (DCSA). Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (Pty) Ltd becomes DaimlerChrysler Financial Services (Pty) Ltd.
2000The new DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) plant facility in East London is inaugurated for the production of the W203 by President Thabo Mbeki and DaimlerChrysler AG Chair Jürgen Schrempp. In this year the Honda assembly contract ends. September: The first right-hand drive C-Class models leave South Africa for Japan.
2001DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) acquires 75% shareholding in Sandown Motor Holdings – currently stands at 62.5%. In September Western Star is incorporated into DCSA. In October the first R1bn bond issued by DCSA is also the first bond issued by a foreign company in South Africa. April: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) is granted full Mitsubishi franchise for South Africa. Pajero joins Colt to become Mitsubishi Motors. June: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) acquires a 75% share of Sandown Motor Holdings. September: Western Star is incorporated into DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA)
2002February: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) outsources commercial vehicles CKD assembly to Ikhwezi Trucktech, the first BBBEE assembly company in South Africa. (Insourced again in 2006) March: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) is the first DaimlerChrysler Company to launch the Mitshubishi Canter truck in the new Freightliner/Mitsubishi Trucks and Bus division. June: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) HIV/Aids Workplace Policy Programme honoured by the UN. July: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) becomes the official transport supplier of the World Summit on Sustainability Development in Johannesburg.
2003February: 100 000th C-Class is built. It is the first time such a quantity of a single model series has been built by the company in South Africa. May: The plant’s Environmental Management System is certified to ISO 14001 standards. July: The East London manufacturing plant’s Safety Health and Environment system is chosen by the National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA) as the best for the manufacture of transport equipment among companies audited by NOSA globally.
2004DaimlerChrysler AG confirms that the next C-Class will also be manufactured in the East London plant. April: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) wins the prestigious International Stevie award, equivalent to a business Oscar, for the company’s benchmark HIV and AIDS Workplace Programme.
2005March: Durban sees the opening of the 1st Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars Lifestyle Centre. DaimlerChrysler Financial Services in South Africa records a turnover of more than one billion for the 1st time.
2006debis Fleet Management shareholding changes to 35% owned by Kagiso Trust and 65% by DaimlerChrysler Financial Services. DaimlerChrysler Financial Services signs 10 000th finance and 100 000th insurance contracts. July: With an investment of over R800 million, a new bodyshop facility is completed at the manufacturing plant in East London. This includes the installation of new innovative robots and laser-welding equipment. August: DaimlerChrysler adds the Dodge brand to its South African portfolio. October: In a first for the motor industry, DCSA launches a heavy duty commercial vehicle driver learnership programme to provide skills for unemployed people. November: True Class Consortium (BBBEE consortium) buys 40% stake in Sandown Motor Holdings. November: A broad-based black economic empowerment agreement is reached with True Class Consortium (Pty) Ltd acquiring a 40% shareholding in Sandown Motor Holding (Pty) Ltd. DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) retains 50.1% and Mr Roy McAllister holds 9.9%.
2007DaimlerChrysler AG sells Chrysler. August: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) launches the new C-Class (W204), produced locally. November: The first left-hand drive models of the W204 C-Class are exported to the USA. December: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) is renamed Mercedes-Benz South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
2008Mercedes-Benz South Africa group of Companies registers its tenth year of consecutive growth of 13.5% for 2007 with a turnover of R37-billion.
2010An announcement is made that the latest C-Class (W205) will also be manufactured in South Africa and that this will come with significant investment into the plant and its technologies and skills development. November: The first left-hand drive models of the W204 C-Class are exported to the USA. December: DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) is renamed Mercedes-Benz South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
2012The Technical Training Centre in East London expands and now also offers a certified Trade Test Facility.
2014This year marked the 30th anniversary of the first acquisition of shares in Mercedes-Benz South Africa (Pty) Ltd by Daimler AG. Production of the W205 C-Class model commences in South Africa. An investment totalling more than R5bn from 2011 to 2015 was made in the East London Plant. The W205 model is exported to more than 80 countries.
2015May: The 1 millionth Mercedes-Benz passenger car rolled off the assembly line at the East London Plant December: The 125 000th truck rolled off the assembly line at the East London Plant December: The East London Plant built more than 100 000 C-Class units - a record number in the history of the plant
2016February: Daimler opens new Regional Centre for Commercial Vehicles in Southern Africa to serve South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland March: Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy official opening in East London April: Mercedes-Benz South Africa achieved a record number of more than 10 000 exports September: The first C 350 Plug-in Hybrid rolled off the assembly line October: Mercedes-Benz South Africa is certified as Top Employer for 2017
201711 May: Previously Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) that were fully imported as Fully built-up (FBU) units are now assembled in the East London Plant