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. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:15:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 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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Der neue Vito / The New Vito

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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Mercedes S 500 PHEV

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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Mercedes-Benz Employees Tell The UAW To Get Packing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-employees-tell-the-uaw-to-get-packing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-employees-tell-the-uaw-to-get-packing/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 13:46:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=835657 Frustrated by the lack of results brought by the UAW, a group of Mercedes-Benz employees located at their Alabama factory is seeking to replace the UAW as their partner in organizing the plant. AL.com is reporting that two Mercedes employees who are leading the push for unionization have come out publicly against the UAW, after […]

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28_Millionth_Vehicle_at_Plant_Tuscaloosa

Frustrated by the lack of results brought by the UAW, a group of Mercedes-Benz employees located at their Alabama factory is seeking to replace the UAW as their partner in organizing the plant.

AL.com is reporting that two Mercedes employees who are leading the push for unionization have come out publicly against the UAW, after a long organization drive failed to produce any results. According to AL.com, as many as 30 percent of hourly workers had signed union cards, but the number was insufficient for the UAW.

Mercedes employee Jim Spitzley was critical of the union, stating

“It’s all about the image with the UAW, and it’s not about the workers,”

Spitzley and colleague Kirk Garner are courting other unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, but the AFL-CIO has granted the UAW with exclusive jurisdiction over the Alabama facility, which means that other unions can’t take over the UAW’s organization drive. Both Spitzley and Garner have asked for a change, but have received no response.

According to the two men, the UAW’s efforts have been mismanaged, but they remain committed to organizing the plant – without the UAW. After failing to organize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant as well as other Japanese-owned plants in the South, this development is hardly a vote of confidence for the UAW, even though the desire to organize may be alive and well.

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Junkyard Find: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1966-mercedes-benz-230/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1966-mercedes-benz-230/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=825482 The Mercedes-Benz W110 makes a good endurance racer, and plenty of examples are still on the street. I see a few of these tailfin-equipped cars in wrecking yards, but most of them are so picked over and/or obliterated by 500,000 miles of hard use that I don’t bother photographing them. Here’s one that’s still pretty […]

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15 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mercedes-Benz W110 makes a good endurance racer, and plenty of examples are still on the street. I see a few of these tailfin-equipped cars in wrecking yards, but most of them are so picked over and/or obliterated by 500,000 miles of hard use that I don’t bother photographing them. Here’s one that’s still pretty complete, spotted in a Denver yard last week.
03 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMuch of the interior is gone, but the seats are still present and in very nice condition.
06 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEither these were recovered at some point or Mercedes-Benz was using some very impressive upholstery materials in these cars.
08 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith 118 horses, the M180 I6 was not going to propel this car to many dragstrip victories, but it was smooth and reliable.
16 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many cars still had tailfins in the second half of the 1960s.
14 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe bubble-style rear glass was also becoming dated.
05 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWould the threat of a $200 reward scare off a potential car thief today?
10 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot worth restoring, even in rust-free condition, but it’s still saddening to see a solid car like this get crushed.

01 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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European-Backed UN Amendment Brings Autonomous Vehicle Future Closer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/european-backed-un-amendment-brings-autonomous-vehicle-future-closer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/european-backed-un-amendment-brings-autonomous-vehicle-future-closer/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=826642 While autonomous vehicles are still in the early stages of testing, a few of the European members of the United Nations have laid the groundwork for the self-driven future to come sooner than later. Reuters reports the U.N. Working Party on Traffic Safety received last month an amendment to Article 8 of the 1968 Vienna […]

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Mercedes-Benz S500 Autonomous Limo

While autonomous vehicles are still in the early stages of testing, a few of the European members of the United Nations have laid the groundwork for the self-driven future to come sooner than later.

Reuters reports the U.N. Working Party on Traffic Safety received last month an amendment to Article 8 of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic backed by Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Austria that would allow drivers of autonomous vehicles to take their hands off the wheel so long as as the vehicle’s system “can be overridden or switched off by the driver” at any time.

Should the amendment pass through the myriad of red tape within the organizing body, 72 countries — the United States, China and Japan withstanding — would have to work the new legislation into their law books.

The European-backed amendment now means automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW can move beyond testing their autonomous and semi-autonomous offerings toward delivery to showrooms throughout the continent, all without waiting for Google and other U.S. interests to bring the technology to market. Mercedes in particular delivered an S-Class limo in response to the search engine giant’s own efforts last August which drove the Bertha Benz route between Mannheim and Pforzheim, Germany without driver input.

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Morocco’s Cash For Clunkers Means Discounted Dacias http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/moroccos-cash-for-clunkers-means-discounted-dacias/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/moroccos-cash-for-clunkers-means-discounted-dacias/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 12:48:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=819457 Fans of the W123 Mercedes better book the next flight to Marrakech. If the Moroccan government has its way, the country’s ubiquitous fleet of W123 taxi cabs will be scrapped, in favor of Renault and Dacia minivans. Around 55,000 W123 taxis (the vast majority 240D models) are set to be targeted under the program, with […]

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Dacia Lodgy

Fans of the W123 Mercedes better book the next flight to Marrakech. If the Moroccan government has its way, the country’s ubiquitous fleet of W123 taxi cabs will be scrapped, in favor of Renault and Dacia minivans.

Around 55,000 W123 taxis (the vast majority 240D models) are set to be targeted under the program, with Morocco’s Interior Ministry citing safety and environmental concerns. Instead, drivers will be pushed towards two models – the Renault Trafic, which is a large commercial van, and the locally-made Dacia Lodgy compact minivan.

According to Ran When Parked

The government will pay around 50,000 Dirhams (roughly $6,100 / €4,400 / £3,600) per w123 and Renault – Dacia will provide up to 10,000 Dirhams (approximately $2,700 / €2,000 / £1,600) towards the purchase of a new car or van.

A brand new Lodgy costs about $18,000 USD, while a Trafic retails for about $27,000 USD. The subsidies would drastically reduce the price of a new Lodgy, which would also have the benefit of supporting a locally made vehicle. Both the Trafic and Lodgy will provide a safer alternative to the standard practice of shoving 7 passengers in a five-seater vehicle (that is now 30 years old, at minimum), while also offering much cleaner diesel engines.

(Correction: the currency rates cited are incorrect. 10,000 Dirhams works out to about $1,277 USD. Thanks to reader minivanman for the tip-DK)

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1977-mercedes-benz-450slc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1977-mercedes-benz-450slc/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=817017 The value of a Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 goes down to a hair’s-breadth over scrap price once it becomes non-perfect, and so it’s no surprise that these things have been quite common in American self-serve wrecking yards for the last couple of decades. We’ve seen this ’80 450SL, this ’74 450SL, and this ’78 450SLC so far […]

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10 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe value of a Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 goes down to a hair’s-breadth over scrap price once it becomes non-perfect, and so it’s no surprise that these things have been quite common in American self-serve wrecking yards for the last couple of decades. We’ve seen this ’80 450SL, this ’74 450SL, and this ’78 450SLC so far in this series, and here’s a ’77 450SLC that I spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area last year. Such luxury, such status! It almost makes me want to pick up a cheap SLC for myself.
01 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you were a fairly successful cocaine dealer in Los Angeles, circa 1977, this was the car made for you. About the only competition was the new BMW E24.
05 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car racked up a mere 182,138 miles during its 36 years on the street. The body is completely rust-free and the interior probably wasn’t bad before junkyard customers started prying parts off it.
06 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNobody ever buys these OHC V8s at junkyards. Poor unloved old Mercedes.

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Shudder To Think: New Transmissions, Bad Friends and the DaimlerChrysler Merger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/shudder-to-think-new-transmissions-bad-friends-and-the-daimlerchrysler-merger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/shudder-to-think-new-transmissions-bad-friends-and-the-daimlerchrysler-merger/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 20:38:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=817698 I never would’ve known about the WA850/NAG1 transmission if it weren’t for that dead-beat roommate I had in Miami. It was desperate times for Chrysler and myself —we both just needed a friend. 16 years ago today, the Chrysler Group found an abusively negligent partner in Daimler AG. The “merger of equals” proved to be […]

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Dodge Challenger chromed T-shifter automatic transmission knob

I never would’ve known about the WA850/NAG1 transmission if it weren’t for that dead-beat roommate I had in Miami. It was desperate times for Chrysler and myself —we both just needed a friend.

16 years ago today, the Chrysler Group found an abusively negligent partner in Daimler AG. The “merger of equals” proved to be anything but, as the German camp rapidly oscillated between ignoring the American’s input and engaging in full-blown Teutonic pedantry. Rumor has it they even insulted the American’s taste in typeface by forcing them to get new business cards.

My friendship wasn’t nearly as toxic. I had been living in Miami for a few months, but had failed to adapt to the social scene. He was also a transplant from the North Atlantic so he understood my pain. He had friends that I admired, so I stuck by him. Despite his professed love for the BMX bike and only the BMX bike, he was in possession of a hand-me-down 2003 Mercedes-Benz E500. This example was a former Enron fleet-car his mother had purchased at auction in late 2006, just months before Daimler offloaded their American bedfellow. He didn’t keep up with the maintenance; it was in poor shape but I loved it. It was everything my Miata wasn’t: heavy, powerful and smooth.

It was equipped with the WA850 transmission, or as it is more commonly known, the 5G-Tronic. A five-speed automatic of Mercedes design, one of Daimler’s first acts after the merger was to force this part on Chrysler. It was clearly a superior gearbox than Chrysler’s ubiquitous 545RFE, but it was the principle of the matter. Chrysler was saddled with what they perceived to be needless logistical complications. The official Chrysler designation for the part was “New Automatic Gearbox Version 1” or NAG1. Very funny Chrysler.

In theory it was an excellent transmission, but there were serious qualms about its reliability on American roads. It wasn’t about road quality; rather it was its needy maintenance schedule and complex service that was out of line with American ownership habits. Anything less than perfectly precise handling by a tech and the thing would shudder and shake for the rest of its days.

Like Chrysler, My friend had forced something on me as well: the pointless pursuit of fun at a time in my life when I should have been saving money, exercising, and improving my craft. An apt comparison because like the WA580, a life of partying works on paper, but without the discipline to perform proper maintenance you are end up shuddering and leaking fluid in public.

The Daimler-Chrysler merger was a clear failure, and so was my friendship. Both partnerships could’ve been successful, but they required more compromise and hard work than either party was prepared for. That’s not to say the respective mergers were complete failures. Chrysler walked away with an excellent transmission that’s still in use today, and I learned how to have fun and not take myself so seriously. What we both learned was that in business like life, you can only rely on yourself for meaningful improvement.

 

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2017 Mercedes G-Class To Be Effectively “All-New” After Major Makeover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/2017-mercedes-g-class-to-be-effectively-all-new-after-major-makeover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/2017-mercedes-g-class-to-be-effectively-all-new-after-major-makeover/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816665 For 35 years, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has seen tours of duty with United Nations peacekeepers, the Pope, various hardened soldiers from Germany to Canada, and a few celebrities now and again. In that time, the SUV has changed its overall appearance once, when the W463 began leaving the factory in Graz, Austria in 1990; the […]

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2013 Mercedes-Benz G550

For 35 years, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has seen tours of duty with United Nations peacekeepers, the Pope, various hardened soldiers from Germany to Canada, and a few celebrities now and again. In that time, the SUV has changed its overall appearance once, when the W463 began leaving the factory in Graz, Austria in 1990; the previous W461 is still available for military and civil service. However, the current Geländewagen will get its second major revision come 2017 while retaining the W463 chassis code.

Autocar reports the changes will be so extensive that Mercedes claims the new G-Class will effectively be a new SUV, though it will still retain its classic look according to SUV chief Andreas Zygan:

We have to be careful with our heritage. We offer something really special. Last year — the 34th — was the best ever for G-class sales. It’s amazing, and one of our idols.

Changes for the 2017 W463 include a wider track for greater stability on- and off-road, more aluminium to reduce around 440 pounds from the current model, and a new front three- or four-link suspension setup mated to a modern electro-mechanical steering system.

Under the bonnet will either be a 3-liter diesel producing over 300 horsepower or 3-liter gasoline engine pushing over 360 horses, all going through Mercedes’ nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic as standard as a way to improve overall fuel economy. The two engines will debut a year earlier under the hood of the 2016 E-Class.

As for inside, more space will be offered alongside increases in comfort and quality, with a boost in technology for improved safety and assistance.

Finally, AMG variants — which account for half of all G-Class sales — are set to follow the newly revised SUV sometime down the road.

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FCA, Daimler Buy Greenhouse Credits To Meet EPA Emission Limits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/fca-daimler-buy-greenhouse-credits-to-meet-epa-emission-limits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/fca-daimler-buy-greenhouse-credits-to-meet-epa-emission-limits/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=811506 The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler and Ferrari divisions, as well as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit, bought greenhouse gas (GHG) credits to remain in compliance with the agency’s 2025 twin goals of 54.5 mpg and halved greenhouse gas emissions. The Detroit News reports Honda and Tesla sold 90,000 and 35,580 greenhouse credits — […]

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Ferrari_458_Speciale

The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler and Ferrari divisions, as well as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit, bought greenhouse gas (GHG) credits to remain in compliance with the agency’s 2025 twin goals of 54.5 mpg and halved greenhouse gas emissions.

The Detroit News reports Honda and Tesla sold 90,000 and 35,580 greenhouse credits — each one measured in 1 metric ton of emissions, or megagram — to Ferrari and Mercedes respectively for the 2010 model year, while Chrysler bought 500,000 such credits from Nissan for 2011. In addition, Mercedes purchased 250,000 credits from Nissan and 177,941 credits from Tesla for 2012; the EPA does not disclose how much the automakers paid for the compliance credits.

As for what the three divisions are doing to come into compliance with EPA and CAFE standards outside of the credit market, Ferrari — which FCA petitioned the agency to classify as an independent automaker, allowing the brand to enjoy the same conditional exemptions as Aston Martin, Lotus and McLaren due to its low production output — “is working to boost fuel efficiency while improving performance,” while Mercedes is looking into stop-start and other fuel-saving technology. Chrysler, for its part, is experimenting with flex fuels and using turbocharged four-cylinders in some of its offerings.

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New York 2014: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe Debuted http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mercedes-benz-s63-amg-coupe-debuted/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mercedes-benz-s63-amg-coupe-debuted/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:34:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799778 For the well-moneyed customer who likes the Accord but prefers a German badge, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the S63 AMG Coupe at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Under the bonnet lies a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 driving 577 ponies through all four wheels while providing 644 lb-ft of torque to any driver feeling the need to take […]

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2015-Mercedes-S63-AMG-Coupe-01

For the well-moneyed customer who likes the Accord but prefers a German badge, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the S63 AMG Coupe at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

Under the bonnet lies a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 driving 577 ponies through all four wheels while providing 644 lb-ft of torque to any driver feeling the need to take down a redwood forest or two. Air suspension, lighter weight and optional ceramic brakes add to the performance alongside the usual AMG enhancements.

As for how much to pay for this experience, look forward to spending somewhere around $150,000 when the S63 AMG Coupe arrives in showrooms.

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Mercedes-Benz To Support First Responders With “Rescue Assist” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mercedes-benz-to-support-first-responders-with-rescue-assist/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mercedes-benz-to-support-first-responders-with-rescue-assist/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:15:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793425 With little fanfare Mercedes-Benz recently announced a claimed first-of-its-kind program designed to help firefighters and EMTs at sites of severe accidents involving Mercedes-Benz vehicles.  With Rescue Assist, the company is installing QR code stickers on their cars so First Responders will be able to use a Smartphone to bring up a schematic of the vehicle […]

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Benz Jaws Of Life Demo Courtesy www.autoevolution.comWith little fanfare Mercedes-Benz recently announced a claimed first-of-its-kind program designed to help firefighters and EMTs at sites of severe accidents involving Mercedes-Benz vehicles.  With Rescue Assist, the company is installing QR code stickers on their cars so First Responders will be able to use a Smartphone to bring up a schematic of the vehicle showing where airbags, the fuel tank, and other critical structural components are located. Their intent is to make the accident scene safer for rescue folks and passengers, particular in cases where the “Jaws Of Life” are needed.

The QR code stickers will be applied to the inside of the fuel filler cover and the B-Post on the opposite side of the fuel tank. All Mercedes-Benz vehicles produced after October 31, 2013 have had the QR code adhesive labels installed at the factory. Rescue Assist retrofit kits were shipped to U. S. Mercedes-Benz dealers last week. Owners of 1990 to present models will be offered the product for free when they come in for service while more enterprising Benz stores may reach out to its eligible customers via direct marketing campaigns.

The following video includes supposedly unscripted comments from firefighters about Rescue Assist.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Naturally, the ultimate assessment of the validity of Rescue Assist will be to hear from the B&B, particularly those of you who are employed as First Responders…

 

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Mercedes Debuts Concept Computer Mouse In Its Latest Niche Play http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mercedes-debuts-concept-computer-mouse-in-its-latest-niche-play/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mercedes-debuts-concept-computer-mouse-in-its-latest-niche-play/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:40:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791625   This is apparently Daimler’s rival to the BMW X6. It’s called the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe. I think it looks like an ergonomic computer mouse.

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This is apparently Daimler’s rival to the BMW X6. It’s called the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe. I think it looks like an ergonomic computer mouse.

The post Mercedes Debuts Concept Computer Mouse In Its Latest Niche Play appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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