São Bernardo do Campo plant began its production on September 28, 1956 with only 862 employees. The first model which was produced in Brazil was L312. Four years after, workers of the plant had surpassed 5,600. The history of Mercedes-Benz in Brazil epitomizes the pioneering spirit of the automaker. The majority of the Mercedes-Benz parts for trucks and buses incorporate the use of diesel engines. At that time, 2 percent of the trucks available were powered by diesel fuel.
Whereas the first engines manufactured by Mercedes-Benz do Brasil (OM 321, 326, and 324) still used indirect injection, the company made a big technological leap in 1969 when it introduced the OM 352 with direct injection. Mercedes-Benz do Brasil has also been very active in the field of alternative drives for a long time. After conducting initial tests with alternative fuels in gasoline and diesel engines in 1977, the company launched the M 352 G natural gas engine in 1985. In 1998, Mercedes-Benz launched the first electronically-controlled diesel engine produced in Brazil. Nowadays, the plant employs about 11,500 workers.