The Truth About Cars » Mercedes-Benz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mercedes-Benz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Daimler Boss Calls For Safety Standard Harmonization http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-boss-calls-safety-standard-harmonization/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-boss-calls-safety-standard-harmonization/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:47:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909738 Daimler head Dieter Zetsche called on regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to approve a US-EU free trade agreement, and along with it, called for a harmonization of vehicle safety standards. Speaking to the Detroit News, Zetsche said “Take the example of U.S. and European automotive safety regulations. Both are the strictest in the world. However, […]

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Daimler head Dieter Zetsche called on regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to approve a US-EU free trade agreement, and along with it, called for a harmonization of vehicle safety standards.

Speaking to the Detroit News, Zetsche said

“Take the example of U.S. and European automotive safety regulations. Both are the strictest in the world. However, the crash tests we carry out still vary. On top of that, different required equipment — think of taillights, turn signals, mirrors, etc. — makes the standardization of our cars, SUVs and trucks impossible,” Zetsche said. “Even small differences in safety regulations result in huge extra costs: We do research twice. We develop twice. We tool, procure and certify twice.”

 

The differing standards between the United States and virtually every other world market has long been a sore spot for foreign auto makers, who must deal with the cost issues outlined by Zetsche. Homologating vehicles for America’s FMVSS standards can be extremely expensive, and is often cited as a barrier that prevents America from getting many lower volume specialty vehicles that are sold in other locales. However, others argue that FMVSS contains more rigorous safety standards in certain areas.

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Brazilian Truth Commission May Sue Auto Makers For Crimes Against Humanity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/brazilian-truth-commission-may-sue-companies-crimes-humanity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/brazilian-truth-commission-may-sue-companies-crimes-humanity/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:30:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909674 João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that […]

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João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that no other company would hire him after he lost his job, and hge was constantly threatened by police. His crime? Being a union member at a time the military considered strikes as subversive communist movements.

Oliveira declares that he and many other union members suspected that private companies, including many auto makers collaborated with the state’s repressive forces. Apparently, his suspicions have been borne out.

Last Monday, September 8th, the Truth Commission, an organization installed by the federal government as an attempt to investigate human rights violations during those dark years, called the press to clarify and give their position on the rumors and news that have been circulating for days about companies collaborating with the State in its repression of labor movements.

According to the Commission, recently unearthed documents confirm that almost 70 Brazilian and multinational companies acted as “information sources” on union members and workers who were suspected of leading strike movements and of belonging to left-wing organizations. These documents contain name and addresses of the suspects as well as the names of companies that monitored their workers “in order to collaborate with the censorship and repression system during the last years of the civil-military dictatorship” in Brazil.

Sebastião Neto, executive secretary of the work group in charge of investigating collaboration between civilians, companies and military claims that, “Volkswagen, according to the documents, functioned as a sort of intelligence central of that group”. That group included other companies like Brazilian Petrobras, Engesa, Confab and multinationals like Ford and Ericson. They collaborated by keeping tabs on who showed up at union meetings, and exchanged information on worker movements and their plans for strikes and demands on working conditions.

Perhaps the most damning document as it hurt people on a personal level, was one found in the public archive of the state of São Paulo, dated 1981. In it are the names and addresses of some 450 workers and union members and the names of at least 67 companies that gave the information.  Among the auto sector companies charged with giving names are Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Chrysler, Scania, Westinghouse, Rolls Royce, Toyota and Toshiba, among other Brazilian corporations.

Lawyer Rosa Cardoso, coordinator of the Commission affirms that, “what happened in Brazil were selective arrests based on information given by companies. Almost 40 percent of those who were dead and disappeared at the time were workers.” According to her, even though the companies were not directly involved in the disappearances, these companies may be accused of crimes against humanity. “Arbitrary and illegal arrests and in places where torture happened are also considered torture in international law”. Such was the case as these illegally detained workers didn’t even have arrest warrants expedited against them.

The lawyer affirms the Commission will present in its final report by December 16. It will include two chapters reporting the persecution of workers and the unions, and the relations between companies and the dictatorship. To help clarify this aspect, Cardoso promises a public hearing where representatives of the companies mentioned in the documents will be called upon to present their testimony.

Being accused as a sort of coordinator of the collaboration between military and companies, Volkswagen has declared that they will conduct their own investigation. According to them, Volkswagen is the only large-scale company in Brazil that, so far, has made a public commitment to “investigate any and all traces” of collaboration between its employees and the military regime. According to a release given to the press, Volkswagen claims they are, “internationally recognized as a company that treats seriously its corporate history”. In Brazil, Volkswagen claims, “the company will deal with this matter in the same way”.

Other companies so far have not commented or have downplayed their responsibility. According to this article, dated Friday, September 5, Mercedes Benz claims that the company “does not confirm” the alleged collaboration and is “non-partisan and zeals for the confidentiality of employees’ data”.  Ford has refused to comment. Toyota and Fiat, who now owns Chrysler through FCA, stated they have no registers of the “possible abuse” that occurred back in that time. Toyota, thorough its local Public Relations department wrote, “We would like to remind others that we are discussing something that happened over 30 years ago”.

Reviewing all the information available a cynic might think the Truth Commission is only interested in reparations. A more generous person might believe that people are interested in revisiting the past to point out mistakes and not repeat them in future. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle and it seems evident that at the time there was a struggle in Brazil between those who wanted to keep the status quo and those who would subvert it. Workers and unions probably helped the re-democratization of the country along, while many in the military and civil society believed such actions were fundamental in thwarting a Communist takeover. Companies may have helped the military out of fear or ideology. It is terrible that people got killed or hurt. In the end, relations between civil society, labor movements and government will be better understood because of the efforts of the Commission and hopefully mistakes, on both parts, will be avoided going forward.

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Mercedes-Benz Reveals Their 911-Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-reveals-911-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-reveals-911-fighter/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:17:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909466   Mercedes-Benz launched the replacement for their SLS AMG sports car, dubbed the AMG GT. Out go the gullwing doors and naturally aspirated 6.2L V8, with a new turbocharged 4.0L V8 and a 7-speed DCT backing it up. The base GT (if you can call it that) puts down 456 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque […]

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Mercedes-AMG GT (C 190) 2014Mercedes-Benz launched the replacement for their SLS AMG sports car, dubbed the AMG GT. Out go the gullwing doors and naturally aspirated 6.2L V8, with a new turbocharged 4.0L V8 and a 7-speed DCT backing it up.

The base GT (if you can call it that) puts down 456 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque (good for a 3.9 second sprint to 60 mph and a 189 mph top speed) , with the top-spec GT-S making 503 hp and 479 lb-ft and shaving .2 seconds of the 60 mph dash and a top speed pf 193 mph.

The GT-S also adds a variable exhaust, electronic dampers and an electronic LSD (the base car gets a mechanical unit) and variable engine and transmission mounts that can stiffen or flex depending on driving conditions. The higher spec model also gets 15.2 inch brakes all around.

The base GT will start at around $130,000 USD in Europe, but pricing and content for North America have yet to be announced. Expect the new 4.0L V8 to show up in the new AMG C63 (and likely in both trims, with a higher power S model following as well). Hopefully some of the GT’s styling migrates to the rest of the range as well.

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456 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque or 503 hp and 479 lb-ft 

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Daimler: Unionization Is For The Employees To Decide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908697 Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala. According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the […]

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Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala.

According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the plant, adding that, “As long as a company does what they should do with their workers: treat them respectfully and treat them correctly, they are never going to unionize.” He also noted the plant’s employees have opted not to unionize over the past two decades.

At the state level, Alabama governor Robert Bentley claimed that if the UAW did win the Mercedes facility, he would have trouble recruiting more foreign companies to his state, especially those who call Japan and South Korea home.

Meanwhile, the UAW is still pursing its Southern strategy, having already established a new local near the Volkswagen AG factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. in August with the aim of attracting its workers to voluntarily unionize. Union president Dennis Williams said the UAW would “respond to concerns raised by pro-union workers” at the Mercedes plant, as well.

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Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG Arriving In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-g65-amg-arriving-in-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-g65-amg-arriving-in-2016/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:52:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904617 After years of Stateside consumers being denied the most vulgar AMG offering, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the G65 AMG, a twin-turbo V12 G-Wagen, to North America, starting in the 2016 model year. Automotive News reports that the G65 will have an MSRP of roughly $250,000. The G65 is powered by a 604 horsepower V12 with a top speed […]

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After years of Stateside consumers being denied the most vulgar AMG offering, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the G65 AMG, a twin-turbo V12 G-Wagen, to North America, starting in the 2016 model year.

Automotive News reports that the G65 will have an MSRP of roughly $250,000. The G65 is powered by a 604 horsepower V12 with a top speed limited to 143 mph. Look for the G65 to appear on a Kardashian-centric reality TV show shortly after launch.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-mercedes-benz-250c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-mercedes-benz-250c/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901313 Mercedes-Benz W114s lasted forever and held their value pretty well, which means that plenty of them still show up in self-service yards nearly 15 years into the 21st century (though most of the time I skip photographing the sedans). So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, this ’73 280CE, […]

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09 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMercedes-Benz W114s lasted forever and held their value pretty well, which means that plenty of them still show up in self-service yards nearly 15 years into the 21st century (though most of the time I skip photographing the sedans). So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, this ’73 280CE, and this ’74 280C, and now I’ve found this coupe in Denver.
12 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sun has not been kind to this car’s vinyl roof.
04 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior has been picked over deeply, to the extent that this may have been a parts car that was scrapped after all the useful stuff was gone.
06 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo shortage of these engines in wrecking yards, so it’s unlikely that this one will be rescued from The Crusher’s jaws.
01 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor some reason, 95% of 1960s and 1970s Mercedes-Benz cars in self-service wrecking yards have the model-number emblems removed. Are they worth big money, or just favored garage decorations?

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Capsule Review: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-mercedes-benz-cla250-4matic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-mercedes-benz-cla250-4matic/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901154 If it looks like a Benz and goes like a Benz, it’s probably a Benz. And if it’s missing some of the trademark Benz-like qualities you noticed in your friend’s well-off uncle’s W124 300E in the late 80s, it’s still a Benz. So much a Benz, in fact, that numerous neighbours refused to believe that […]

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MaticIf it looks like a Benz and goes like a Benz, it’s probably a Benz.

And if it’s missing some of the trademark Benz-like qualities you noticed in your friend’s well-off uncle’s W124 300E in the late 80s, it’s still a Benz.

So much a Benz, in fact, that numerous neighbours refused to believe that the bright red CLA250 4Matic that visited us in mid-August was Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level car. None of those neighbours visited the inside of the car.

When told that it’s a lesser car than the CLS or E or S or even C, those neighbours warm to a notion created over time, both by marketing and in their own aspirational minds, which says they could have all that inherent Mercedes-Benz goodness with an affordable price tag.

It sounds so easy: big brand, little car, the loss of some frivolous luxuries, the removal of a few horsepower, and a deep discount.

It’s not so easy.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic red frontMany a luxury item has been removed, and I’m alright with that, but then again, many such features have been added back into this particular Mercedes-Benz Canada car, which would cost slightly more than $40,000 in the U.S. if it could be equipped identically.

But with the loss of luxury features like massaging seats and air suspension from high-end models, and even with the re-insertion of premium features like navigation and Bi-Xenons and a big glass roof, the attractive CLA250 interior is let down by a large amount of cheap plastic through the centre console and a screen that’s unconvincingly tacked on.

The best aspect of the CLA’s interior is the look of it, from the vents to the seatbacks to the simple but elegant layout of the controls. As much as the centre-mounted screen isn’t attractively placed, it is functional, requiring very little removal of the driver’s eyes from the road. I’ll always prefer a control knob mounted between the front seats, as in the CLA, compared with a long reach forward to touch a screen.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MaticThere’s even room in the rear of the CLA. It’s not abundant, but we crammed three adult males back there for a short back road jaunt. Something about the shape of the seats also makes the installation of a rear-facing car seat surprisingly easy, too, so long as you remember to watch your head (and the baby’s) when loading through the narrow rear door aperture.

With five adult males aboard and with the heavier all-wheel-drive configuration, the CLA250’s 258 lb-ft of torque still comes on strong. Soon enough. Whether you blame the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission or the turbo’s lag or Mercedes-Benz’s traditional lack of immediate throttle response, there’s a distinct pause at first. It’s easy enough to become accustomed to the engine, as it seems to punch above its weight once up to speed.

The DCT, however, is easily confused in Sport mode and overly interested in fuel economy when left in Eco, racing through the gears like it’s, well, a race. “What’s wrong with the car?”, my brother asked from the back seat when we accelerated away from an intersection in Sport and the CLA groaned under the weight of first gear as though I was unwilling to perform an upshift in Manual mode. He also chuckled when the CLA shot up to seventh under light acceleration in ECO, almost in an immature panic, although the rate with which the DCT can snap off shifts is oddly impressive.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic interiorOdd is also how you’d describe the CLA’s mixed bag of suspension movements. The CLA has the ability to eliminate road imperfections, but it struggles to maintain composure when the surface is full of small elevation changes. At the same time, there’s a sense of initial agility, but it’s followed by a surprisingly early onset of understeer when you’re encouraging the CLA to impress your teenage nephews, and the CLA then becomes too uncommunicative.

It’s difficult to say when they’re not driven back-to-back – my time with the CLA250 4Matic came nine months after a week I spent with the front-wheel-drive CLA – but the AWD CLA250 seems to ride better, handle worse, and draw more attention to the DCT’s deficiencies. We also saw no fuel economy penalties with the all-wheel-drive, a 29.4 mpg car in our mostly urban driving, compared with the 28.7 mpg we saw on similar drive routes when the temperature was admittedly cooler last November.

The CLA250 is therefore a relatively quick and efficient car with a premium badge and decent interior space. Although I’m personally not convinced that the stylistic themes work on a product with the CLA’s dimensional limitations, it’s an obviously design-oriented car. Thus, for those who love the car’s appearance and the fact that it screams, “I’m expensive!”, the appeal of a CLA is not difficult to comprehend.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic screenCLA pricing begins at $30,825 including destination; 4Matic adds $2000. Is Audi’s A3 the CLA’s key rival? Or is the un-optioned $41,325 C300 4Matic, a dramatically improved car for the 2015 model year, a competitor for properly-equipped entry-level Benzes, CLAs with 18-inch wheels, heated seats, a rear view camera, and dual zone automatic climate control?

Regardless, Mercedes-Benz has carved out a space for the CLA in America. U.S. sales have slowed noticeably since the car’s arrival late last year, but that’s due in large part to the CLA’s global successes. Yet with 2378 July sales (its best month since January), the CLA accounted for 13% of Mercedes-Benz’s passenger car sales last month. It’s not a rare car. On the other hand, it’s no C-Class, which even in this transition year has averaged 5500 monthly sales.

Yes, more consumers prefer the more costly C-Class, even the old, outgoing C-Class. And though the CLA is appealing in theory, it’s not hard to see why the C-Class is more appealing in practice.

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Mercedes Bringing AMG To The Masses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:09:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899306 Just as BMW launched their “M Sport” line of mass-produced vehicles bearing the M Badge (think 335i M Sport and the Euro-spec M550d diesel performance sedan), Mercedes-Benz is about to get in on the action with AMG-badged versions of more pedestrian models. According to Automotive News, a C450 AMG will debut as a more performance oriented […]

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Just as BMW launched their “M Sport” line of mass-produced vehicles bearing the M Badge (think 335i M Sport and the Euro-spec M550d diesel performance sedan), Mercedes-Benz is about to get in on the action with AMG-badged versions of more pedestrian models.

According to Automotive News, a C450 AMG will debut as a more performance oriented C-Class above the C400 and below the more hardcore C63 AMG. Less hardcore AMG versions of the CLA, E-Class and GLK are also expected to follow. In addition to more hardcore performance improvements, true AMG models will get more radical visual enhancements like fender flares and a wider track.

The move comes in response to Audi moving their “S” models to a more mainstream position, and positioning their RS lineup as the ultimate performance models, as well as the aforementioned move with BMW’s M cars. Cadillac is also following suit, creating a “V-Sport” line below their more extreme “V” models.

Of course, the proliferation of AMG models through the Mercedes range has led to AMG vehicles becoming less about outright performance, and more about becoming the most expensive example of a particular Mercedes model. Buyers of the ML63 AMG SUV for example, may opt for it because of the status it conveys, rather than its performance capabilities. The new AMG-lite range should capitalize on that desire, but likely won’t move the needle for buyers who must have the most expensive M-B, or nothing else.

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Pullman Muzik http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/pullman-muzik/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/pullman-muzik/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:56:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881202 Those of you among the B&B that listen to rap – so, myself and the assorted friends of mine who read the site – better get used to a new name in luxury automobiles: Pullman. These patent renderings show what the new million-dollar Mercedes Pullman will look like. I can’t decide whether it’s more or less […]

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Those of you among the B&B that listen to rap – so, myself and the assorted friends of mine who read the site – better get used to a new name in luxury automobiles: Pullman.

These patent renderings show what the new million-dollar Mercedes Pullman will look like. I can’t decide whether it’s more or less ostentatious than the outgoing Maybach 62, which looked like a Korean OEM’s idea of a European luxury car. This, on the other hand, looks like that same vision but interperted through the eyes of a Middle Eastern monarch. And the fact that it’s 21 feet long and covered in armor plating does little to disuade that notion.

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Utilities, Automakers Collaborate On Smart PHEV Charging Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877810 A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs. Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric […]

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A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs.

Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a demand charging platform where the PHEV and the utility exchange information that would reduce the former’s charging during peak hours, then boost it back up during off-peak.

In turn, such a system would allow for increased service reliability for all customers “by helping to mitigate the impact of strain on the grid during peak periods and could contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.” Further, utilities would better be able to manage usage without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, with the savings passed on to their customer base.

As for when this project would get off the ground, no timeline was given as of this time.

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Generation Why: A Sub-$30k Car “Wouldn’t Be A Lexus” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/generation-sub-30k-car-wouldnt-lexus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/generation-sub-30k-car-wouldnt-lexus/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:45:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877265 Mercedes and Audi all have a sub-$30,000 entry in their American model ranges. BMW’s cheapest model is just a few hundred dollars above that price point. Infiniti will likely have their own model in that space. So why not Lexus? Speaking to Automotive News, Lexus boss Mark Templin said “We could go down and build a […]

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Mercedes and Audi all have a sub-$30,000 entry in their American model ranges. BMW’s cheapest model is just a few hundred dollars above that price point. Infiniti will likely have their own model in that space. So why not Lexus?

Speaking to Automotive News, Lexus boss Mark Templin said

“We could go down and build a car under $30,000, but it would be decontented, and you’d be cutting corners. It wouldn’t be a Lexus…To be honest with you, you can’t build a Lexus with the quality, the durability, the reliability, the craftsmanship, the content that we put in a Lexus and sell it profitably under $30,000. You just can’t do it.”

Templin’s comments are about as clear a swipe at the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA as one can get. While CLA sales have been big for Benz (as much as 11 percent of the brand’s total, by AN‘s count), reviews have been mixed.

Mercedes-Benz, like other European luxury brands, face an additional dilemma beyond the usual matters of scale, volume and profitability requirements associated with those issues. In many mature markets, their buyers are getting older, while a new generation of buyers is both moving away from cars, and arguably less able to afford a new luxury car. Products like the CLA and A3 offer an affordable entry-point into the brand, while also appealing to the aesthetic, environmental and economic tastes of the Millennial generation. Lexus doesn’t necessarily have this problem in the same way that the Germans do, but they also don’t have much of a presence in Europe either.

What Lexus is doing, as AN pointed out, is attempting to stake out the “high ground” by keeping the price floor above $30,000 (the entry-level CT hybrid starts at about $32,000), which will ostensibly further entrench their “luxury” position. But Lexus, for all its success, has never achieved true global success as a luxury brand, which is something that only the Germans have managed to earn. And as we all know, it’s easier to reach downmarket than try and move up. The A-Class was a hit for Mercedes, but Volkswagen didn’t fare well with the Phaeton. And Audi is just finally turning the corner after a decades long climb to Tier 1.

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Versatile 2015 Mercedes Vito Van Puts Power To Front, Rear Or All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876185 If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you. Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ […]

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If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you.

Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ V-Class — can be had with RWD and AWD — like the V-Class — as well as optional FWD. The previous Vito had FWD for only the EV variant, while the new one puts diesel power to the front of the line alongside the rest of the family.

Autoblog adds said power comes turbocharged through four-pots ranging from 1.6 liters to 2.1 liters, with anywhere from 136 to 190 horsepower pushed to wherever it’s meant to go through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

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NLRB: Mercedes Violated Labor Act In Alabama Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nlrb-mercedes-violated-labor-act-in-alabama-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nlrb-mercedes-violated-labor-act-in-alabama-facility/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876081 The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that the U.S. branch of Mercedes-Benz violated the right to organize among its employees at the automaker’s Vance, Ala. plant by prohibiting the distribution of union literature in common areas outside working hours. Automotive News reports Judge Keltner Locke found for the plaintiffs on one complaint out […]

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The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that the U.S. branch of Mercedes-Benz violated the right to organize among its employees at the automaker’s Vance, Ala. plant by prohibiting the distribution of union literature in common areas outside working hours.

Automotive News reports Judge Keltner Locke found for the plaintiffs on one complaint out of a number of complaints made against MBUSI regarding its violation of the National Labor Relations Act. In his decision, Judge Locke determined the areas where the subsidiary considered off-limits to dissemination were mixed-use areas — and thus, areas where material could be distributed freely — and that by “maintaining a solicitation and distribution rule which employees reasonably could understand to prohibit all solicitation in work areas,” MBUSI was in violation of the act.

Though no penalties were levied in the decision, the ruling ordered MBUSI to amend its rule so that off-the-clock employees may solicit other such employees. Mercedes stated that while they were pleased with most of Judge Locke’s ruling, citing his affirmation of its neutrality with regard to its employees, they disagreed with some aspects and were “evaluating next steps.”

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Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875425 With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market. Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable […]

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With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market.

Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable segments for OEMs. Take some normal car underpinnings, add a bit of cladding, a higher ride height and a two-box body and all of a sudden, you can charge a hefty premium over what you’d normally have to sell a sedan for. And what better way to lower your CAFE rating than to sell a ton of “light trucks” that get the kind of fuel economy that you’d normally find in a compact or mid-size car? These little trucklets/wagonlets are going to float the ability of the German brands to keep making AMG, M and RS cars by keeping things kosher with the Feds. Remember that when you bemoan the lack of wagons on sale today.

Audi’s Q3 starts at $33,325, versus $29,900 for an A3, though the Q3, unlike the A3, does come standard with AWD .  The Q3 is front-drive, but it does have a 2.0T engine, unlike the A3′s 1.8T mill. A Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $32,225 for a front-drive model versus $29,900 for a front-drive CLA. The one wildcard is the BMW X1, which is both rear-wheel drive and $30,900, making it the cheapest BMW in the entire model range.

I’m going to put my money on the Q3 taking the crown, just because Audi is very much the brand of the moment. This segment is a fickle, fashion-driven one, and products live and die by how cool they are. The Audi A3 quickly toppled the Mercedes-Benz CLA from the small sedan sales charts, and this won’t be any different.

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Mercedes Debuts B-Class Electric Drive To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871330 If the upcoming Smart ForTwo isn’t quite to your liking, yet you do want something about as small with a tri-pointed star on its nose, Mercedes has brought over its B-Class Electric Drive. Autoblog Green reports the EV compact made its world showroom debut in the United States last week, appearing in 10 coastal states […]

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If the upcoming Smart ForTwo isn’t quite to your liking, yet you do want something about as small with a tri-pointed star on its nose, Mercedes has brought over its B-Class Electric Drive.

Autoblog Green reports the EV compact made its world showroom debut in the United States last week, appearing in 10 coastal states at first before heading inward toward the heartland down the road. Price of admission begins at $41,150, which will net the driver an 87-mile single-charge range and 84 MPGe, about the same as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

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Daimler, BMW Collaborate On Wireless Charging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-bmw-collaborate-on-wireless-charging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-bmw-collaborate-on-wireless-charging/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866826 Daimler and BMW just announced a collaboration to help speed up development for wireless charging of both EVs and PHEVs, with the former’s Mercedes S500 PHEV as the test subject. Autoblog Green reports the system in question will use coils in both the vehicle and charging platform, the latter installed in a garage floor or […]

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Daimler and BMW just announced a collaboration to help speed up development for wireless charging of both EVs and PHEVs, with the former’s Mercedes S500 PHEV as the test subject.

Autoblog Green reports the system in question will use coils in both the vehicle and charging platform, the latter installed in a garage floor or other stationary point. The system will charge an EV or PHEV at a rate of 3.6 kW, with an efficiency rating of 90 percent.

As for the guinea pig, the S500 PHEV will come with 436 horsepower and around 480 lb-ft of torque between its twin-turbo V6 and hybrid powertrain. In turn, the sedan can travel up to 20 miles on electric-only power, and net the chauffeur 84 mpg on the way to and from his employer’s private resort. The S500 PHEV is due in showrooms this September.

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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT: Unimaginatively Named Product, Wildly Wacky Paint Scheme http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-benz-amg-gt-unimaginatively-named-product-wildly-wacky-paint-scheme/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-benz-amg-gt-unimaginatively-named-product-wildly-wacky-paint-scheme/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:23:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863177 Mercedes is doing the slow burn on the AMG GT, successor to the gullwinged SLS, ahead of its debut at the Paris Auto Show in September. Even though this is just a camo wrap job, it’s not too hard to imagine this look appearing on a future customer car. Thanks to increasingly stringent regulations, the […]

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Mercedes is doing the slow burn on the AMG GT, successor to the gullwinged SLS, ahead of its debut at the Paris Auto Show in September. Even though this is just a camo wrap job, it’s not too hard to imagine this look appearing on a future customer car.

Thanks to increasingly stringent regulations, the glorious AMG V8 displacing 6.2L will die, and in its place, a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 will power future AMG models. Without the gullwing doors, some of the visual drama is lost – but perhaps we’ll get that wrap as a factory option instead. After all, something has to draw excessive attention to you and your car, now that you can’t just pop the gullwing doors open at leisure.

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Mercedes: Maybach Trim To Potentially Grace GL-Class http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-maybach-trim-to-potentially-grace-gl-class/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-maybach-trim-to-potentially-grace-gl-class/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861473 Not content with only the S-Class receiving the Maybach treatment for a potential shout-out in Lorde’s next jam, Mercedes-Benz wants to take the Maybach trim line to the next level: The GL-Class. Motoring.com.au reports the automaker wants to give a super-luxury makeover to the seven-passenger premium SUV as it seeks to make Maybach to luxury […]

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Not content with only the S-Class receiving the Maybach treatment for a potential shout-out in Lorde’s next jam, Mercedes-Benz wants to take the Maybach trim line to the next level: The GL-Class.

Motoring.com.au reports the automaker wants to give a super-luxury makeover to the seven-passenger premium SUV as it seeks to make Maybach to luxury what AMG is to performance. Should this indeed follow the upcoming S-Class by Maybach — based upon the two-row W222 sedan over the three-row pullman at the top of the class — the GL will retain its architecture while receiving styling tweaks and S-Class technology, such as semi-active suspension with body-roll control.

Mercedes board member in charge of research and development, Dr. Thomas Weber, sees potential in the growing super-luxury SUV segment — led by the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini — for his employer to mount its own offensive, opining that it’s only a matter of “how fast and how parallel” Mercedes can bring the GL-Class by Maybach into production.

As for where the new SUV would turn up, the Middle East, Russia and the United States are among the key markets up for consideration.

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BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857249 Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States. Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 […]

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Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.

Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 billion ($1.36 billion USD) investment, and may either be located in the state of Hidalgo just north of Mexico City, or in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The plant — following on the heels of a new Daimler-Nissan small-car factory to be built in Aguacalientes, as well as an Audi factory in San Jose Chiapa — will likely be used to build MINIs and the FWD 1 Series, with localized 3 Series assembly also speculated based on the automaker’s potential need to better compete against the U.S.-assembled Mercedes C-Class on price.

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Daimler, Nissan To Co-Operate On Mexican Factory http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-to-co-operate-on-mexican-factory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-to-co-operate-on-mexican-factory/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:59:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853161 Daimler and Nissan have agreed to a joint-venture that will see front-drive Infiniti and Mercedes models built at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Reuters is reporting that the deal is the largest between the two entities. The deal gives Infiniti a range of front-drive cars, including a sedan, coupe and SUV, based on the […]

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Daimler and Nissan have agreed to a joint-venture that will see front-drive Infiniti and Mercedes models built at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Reuters is reporting that the deal is the largest between the two entities. The deal gives Infiniti a range of front-drive cars, including a sedan, coupe and SUV, based on the same architecture underpinning the Mercedes A, B, CLA and GLA-Class models.

In return, Mercedes will get a low-cost, NAFTA zone production site for these models, which tend to have lower profit margins.

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Mercedes-Benz Offers “Range ” For B-Class EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-offers-range-for-b-class-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-offers-range-for-b-class-ev/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=851857 Mercedes-Benz is offering a range extender option for the new all-electric B-Class, but it’s not what the name suggests. The Mercedes-Benz “temporary range extender” is “A suite of options to further increase your driving range includes added insulation of the doors and roof for to increase climate-control efficiency, along with an electrically heated windshield and […]

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Mercedes-Benz is offering a range extender option for the new all-electric B-Class, but it’s not what the name suggests.

The Mercedes-Benz “temporary range extender” is

“A suite of options to further increase your driving range includes added insulation of the doors and roof for to increase climate-control efficiency, along with an electrically heated windshield and a range-extending charge function. By pressing a button on the console prior to charging, the maximum charge level for battery will increased for the next charge cycle. The higher-capacity charge can provide up to 17 additional miles of range…Electric heating of the windshield glass offers quick defogging of the windshield, even on very cold or humid days. Its energy-efficient operation also helps to extend your driving range compared to using the climate control to clear the windshield.”

While the option package is a novel way to maximize available battery capacity, it’s a bit of a misnomer, given that “range extender” is usually given to mean an on-board internal combustion engine that helps increase the driving range of an electric vehicle.

 

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Daimler-Nissan JV To Build Next-Gen CLA, Unnamed A-Class At Mexican Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850794 Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to […]

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Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to Mexico originally, insiders claim that the CLA and the unnamed A-Class will take its place.

Production is set to begin in time for exportation to the United States in 2017, with an Infiniti compact — built upon Mercedes’ FWD bones — to join the CLA and A-Class. Annual output is expected to be around 100,000 to 150,000 units.

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Adventures in Downmarketing: Mercedes-Benz Goes Nintendo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/adventures-in-downmarketing-mercedes-benz-goes-nintendo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/adventures-in-downmarketing-mercedes-benz-goes-nintendo/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 16:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=848762 From the department of brand-killing marketing ideas comes Mercedes-Benz’s latest venture: in-game product placement for popular Nintendo game Mario Kart. Why? Because Millennials, that’s why! For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Mario Kart is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. There’s been at least one game on every […]

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From the department of brand-killing marketing ideas comes Mercedes-Benz’s latest venture: in-game product placement for popular Nintendo game Mario Kart. Why? Because Millennials, that’s why!

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Mario Kart is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. There’s been at least one game on every Nintendo system since the days of the square-controller Super Nintendo. It’s easily one of the company’s most valuable franchises, right up there alongside perennial moneymakers like the Zelda and Super Mario Brothers series.

Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, Nintendo’s current-generation home console, sold over a million copies in four days after its late May release. True to the Mario Kart tradition, MK8 is a zany, fast-paced arcade style racing game with broad appeal. Unlike Forza, Gran Turismo, or other serious simulator-type racing games, MK8 is all about casual play online and amongst friends. Comic explosions and crazy items abound, including banana peels, turtle shells, mushrooms that make you go faster, and squids that cover the screen in digital ink. Into this atmosphere steps Mercedes, which in partnership with Nintendo has announced it will sponsor a “GLA-class” kart as a piece of downloadable content (DLC) for the game sometime later this summer. That means it will most likely be a free, voluntary addition to the game, but the announcement already has many Mario Kart players steamed.

The GLA, and its CLA sedan cousin, are aimed squarely at the entry-level buyer demographic that luxury brands are currently chasing with wild abandon. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and other luxury brands all want younger blood in their dealerships, as they try to set up a new class of lifelong repeat customers. Millennials make up a huge chunk of the player demographic for the Mario Kart series, so from a pure exposure standpoint the Mercedes sponsorship seems to make sense. Even so, the context of the game wildly clashes with Mercedes’ brand image in North America. That’s partly because this particular venture is something of a digital leftover.

It’s important to note that the GLA kart wasn’t originally intended for the North American market. Instead, it’s the fruit of a Mercedes tie-in with Nintendo in Japan. That includes a classically bizarre Japanese TV commercial (viewable in the link), where a chiseled Mario steps out of a GLA in front of a windswept castle before accidentally stepping on a Goomba. For the Japanese market, though, this is positively vanilla. Freaky ads for luxury goods and virtually everything else are pretty much the norm in the Land of the Rising Sun (if you don’t believe me, waste an afternoon on this Youtube channel). So are tie-ins between seemingly unrelated categories of products, like a German luxury automaker and a homegrown electronic entertainment conglomerate. For the American market, though, this JDM import seriously risks getting lost in translation.

At the heart of the problem is Mario Kart’s overall aesthetic. As explained earlier, it’s the kind of game where crazy power-ups coexist alongside cartoon animals and giant flowers used as parachutes. There’s absolutely nothing realistic about it, and none of the karts resemble actual vehicles in the slightest. It’s a game that exists entirely inside the made-up Nintendo universe; that’s part and parcel of the appeal. Where does a chunky, semi-realistic rendering of a Mercedes-Benz trucklet fit into this?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. Gamers are already complaining that in-game product placement of this type is completely out of line with the spirit of the series. Pessimists will counter that many of these complainers are likely to be twelve-year-olds and basement dwellers whose opinions don’t matter, and they might be right. But this product tie-in encapsulates everything that Millennials hate about marketing targeted at them: a heavy-handed attempt to make something look “cool” and “hip” by sticking it where it doesn’t belong. To those potential customers, Mercedes will now be known as the company that ruined Mario Kart by sticking a fugly CUV inside of it. For everyone else, they’ll just be a laughingstock.

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Mercedes Will Expand Alabama Factory With ML-Coupe Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-will-expand-alabama-factory-with-ml-coupe-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-will-expand-alabama-factory-with-ml-coupe-production/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=847849 Good news for the people of Alabama: Mercedes-Benz is hiring. Bad news for car enthusiast. This abomination is going into production. Mercedes will expand capacity at their Alabama plant, from about 185,000 cars, to an undisclosed level. Automotive News Europe reports that BMW is expanding American production to 450,000 units, though there’s no indication if […]

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Good news for the people of Alabama: Mercedes-Benz is hiring. Bad news for car enthusiast. This abomination is going into production.

Mercedes will expand capacity at their Alabama plant, from about 185,000 cars, to an undisclosed level. Automotive News Europe reports that BMW is expanding American production to 450,000 units, though there’s no indication if Mercedes-Benz will follow suit, though the expansion will apparently be a “significant number” above current levels. With the addition of the C-Class and the new ML Coupe (shown in concept form above), Mercedes will likely expand in a big way, since these models offer the potential for big volume and big profit. Mercedes once built the R-Class in Alabama, but the new models should have no trouble absorbing that capacity.

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US Nissan Plant To Supply Engine For Euro-Special Infiniti Q50 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-nissan-plant-to-supply-engine-for-euro-special-infiniti-q50/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-nissan-plant-to-supply-engine-for-euro-special-infiniti-q50/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842922 In its fight against the big premium brands in Europe, Infiniti is calling upon some German-designed American firepower for its Japanese-made, Euro-market special Q50 sedan. Automotive News reports the Q50 will receive a 2-liter turbo-four from an $319 million Infinti-only line inside Nissan’s engine plant in Decherd, Tenn.; total overall production is expected to reach […]

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2014 Infiniti Q50

In its fight against the big premium brands in Europe, Infiniti is calling upon some German-designed American firepower for its Japanese-made, Euro-market special Q50 sedan.

Automotive News reports the Q50 will receive a 2-liter turbo-four from an $319 million Infinti-only line inside Nissan’s engine plant in Decherd, Tenn.; total overall production is expected to reach 250,000 annually while employing 400. The same engine will be used by Mercedes in its next-generation C-Class launching this year from the German automaker’s factory in Vance, Ala.

The plan, set to begin in late June, is part of a product-sharing agreement between parent companies Renault-Nissan and Daimler, as well as a checkbox for Infiniti’s to-do global portfolio expansion list.

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