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While it has often been contested, Karl Benz is said to have created the first automobile in January 1886. Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's original Mercedes automobile in 1901 while the first Mercedes-Benz vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company. The creation of AMG, their in-house tuning facility and the revival of the Maybach brand as well as a partnership with McLaren has allowed Mercedes-Benz to become much more than simply a luxury car maker.
Few vehicles offer the snob appeal and image enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but seriously wealthy Benz buyers interested in comfort are going to hire a private driver and purchase something with a Maybach badge. Of course, that limits them to a tarted-up S-Class, or so it was before the introduction of the G650 Landaulet — which is, quite possibly, the dumbest vehicle currently entering production.
While the Landaulet’s forward-most occupants are treated to the nice but relatively unchanged interior from the G-Class, the rear is an extravaganza of luxury to be enjoyed in or out of the elements. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, it is a convertible. Unlike the Cabrio, however, the only person to benefit from the folding top is the multi-millionaire riding in the back. Read More >
It looks like mustachioed, jeans-loving Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche will have to look elsewhere for a successor to the company throne.
Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Trucks & Buses, was thought by many a likely candidate to take on the top job once Dr. Z retires. Announced today, Bernhard is stepping down from his post and leaving the company he joined in 1994, even before his contract expires.
Infighting and age could have a lot to do with it. Read More >
Daimler AG’s Car2Go has been a great way for the company to dump Smart Fortwos on urban areas and turn a profit while the itty-bitty city car’s popularity wanes. However, with only the single small offering, Car2Go is the only vehicle-sharing service that forces subscribers to decide which of their two children will have to be left behind to fend for themselves every time they take a trip somewhere.
In response, Mercedes-Benz is providing its CLA and GLA to C2G’s North American fleet — reuniting families, allowing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single run, and making its service substantially more competitive with rival ZipCar. Read More >
Mercedes-Benz is giving the world an artful taste of its next generation of compact cars with its “Aesthetics A” design study. The updated design adopts a rounded, flowing look without the complete abandonment of hard edges. Benz claims the new aesthetic is the evolution of the current “Sensual Purity” design’s organic and tapered shapes. Great marketing, but it just makes the next design philosophy sound less intricate and involved. It sounds a little boring, although we won’t know for sure until we see a finished car.
In the abstract, however, the study hints at the general shape of eight new compact models coming from Benz over the next three years. The new A-Class, B-Class, GLA, and CLA will all be touched by the less curvaceous styling identity, which includes an imposing grille. A new compact sedan will arrive to rival Audi’s A3, along with an additional crossover to serve as an alternative to the GLA. All of the vehicles will make use of Benz’s modular front architecture platform (MFA) and move closer to in shape to company’s larger sedans.
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Just as geese fly south in the winter, metal conducts electricity, and tides rise and fall at the will of the moon, a luxury-laden SUV that rivals yachts for sticker price is guaranteed by all of science to become a premium brand’s best-seller.
After seeing the stunning success of the once-unthinkable Bentley Bentayga, what other conclusion could the folks at Mercedes-Benz draw? Carving out a stratospheric utility vehicle niche well above a brand’s high water mark means money falling from the sky. Period.
Naturally, Stuttgart wants in on the action. Like any rational competitor, the company now plans to tart up an existing SUV, slap on a Mercedes-Maybach badge, and sit back to await the arrival of the money train. Read More >
Russia, the country where Shoviet Shub captain Sean Connery learned to fish, might be on the verge of a modest economic rebound.
After tanking hard in the wake of collapsing oil prices, the country’s rickety economic state prompted many automakers to abandon plans for production growth or pull up stakes altogether. General Motors was a noted casualty, though Lada sailed through the turmoil in fine shape.
Early last year, it seemed as if parent Daimler would head west instead of building a Mercedes plant in the Motherland. However, that’s no longer the case, according to the country’s trade and industry minister. Read More >
Mercedes-Benz has a total of seven model series in the SUV/crossover playing field, ranging from its granddaddy G-Wagen to the compact GLA. Given SUVs and crossovers are enjoying record sales numbers, it should be no surprise manufacturers are wont to outdo their competitors by keeping them as fresh as possible.
Applying their considerable engineering might, the boffins in Stuttgart will kick off 2018 with a neue version of the GLA — with some new bumpers.
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How many small sedans from one manufacturer can the market handle?
That’s the question being asked in the wake of a report that claims Mercedes-Benz has a new small sedan planned for both overseas and North American markets. According to Autocar, the German automaker will soon debut an A-Class sedan to fill the narrow gap between the CLA and C-Class.
Low-end Mercedes buyers are about to be spoiled for choice. Read More >
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluations in response to complaints that Smart ForTwo engines are catching fire before quickly engulfing the car in flames. Eight complaints have found their way to NHTSA about fires in 2008-2009 Four Twos, with six of the incidents occurring while the cars were being driven.
According to the agency, the incidents began with the illumination of the vehicles’ check-engine light, followed by smoke and odd noises. In every occurrence, owners claim the fires quickly spread to the entire car. Read More >
Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.
BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.” Read More >
There isn’t an overabundance of luxury coupes on the market these days. It’s good to see the company that does them best is actually still doing them.
Occupying the wide middle ground between the S-Class and C-Class, the new E-Class has more in common with the latter model. Minus the badging, there would be a moment of difficulty telling the two apart. Eventually, you would conclude the new E-Class was subtly better in every conceivable way. It’s larger, more attractive, and sports a better engine than the C-Class — and avoids the massive fee commanded by the S-Class. Read More >
Countless hours of development, design and construction. Exacting details wrought in boardboardrooms and wind tunnels. Exotic materials, experimental engine designs, hand crafted bodies. The goal?
Simple. Make the fastest car in the world.
But even if a designer or firm achieves that goal, they don’t necessarily have a winner on their hands. Even when the facts and figures support one supercar design over another, intangibles often decide which one will be a success.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some superlative automobiles over a few decades and see how fate played out.
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We have, perhaps unfairly, categorized German automakers as far more calculating and efficient than their American counterparts. While there is certainly a case to be made for this positive stereotyping, there are also plenty of examples calling this perceived Germanic precision into question. One such instance is the absolutely ridiculous lengths Mercedes-Benz have been going to avoid the chicken tax on its imported vans. Read More >
Though it may seem hard to believe, we’re only a month away from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Wedge Era in automotive designs.
To those of us who still think of the Countach as a sharp enough design to be considered cutting edge, this is a sad reality. Yet the prototype of what would become the 1980s poster child was first shown in a hard-to-conceptualize 1971.
The influence of the angle extended far beyond the Countach in the 1980s. It also started before the scissored doors opened on the stand in Geneva in 1971 and was seen in many more marques than just those wearing the Raging Bull. Even more impressive than its age is the reach of these designs, some of which are still being refined today. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and influential doorstop shapes and where they later found a home.
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In 1978, Mercedes-Benz made the decision to expand its efforts in rally competition. But its choice of platform to enter into the World Rally Championship was, to say the least, unique.
At the time, the WRC was dominated by small sedans like the Fiat 131 Abarth and Ford Escort RS1800 — cars that finished first and second in the championship that year. Mercedes-Benz took a decidedly different route, as it had no small sporty sedan.
What it did have was a large, heavy and expensive personal luxury coupe in the C107 SLC. While the choice would seem unnatural, under the direction of Erich Waxenberger the premier 450SLC was prepared and developed over the next few seasons into a rally winner. Read More >