More Changes Come to Mercedes-AMG

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
more changes come to mercedes amg

Daimler’s performance arm, Mercedes-AMG, has entered a period of transition. In addition to placing a strengthened emphasis on all-wheel drive, the company will also begin manufacturing vehicles in China.

While the assembly locale isn’t equally important for all cars, AMG is famous for its one-man-one-engine philosophy. Part of the appeal, we assumed, was getting a rear-drive monster with a hand-built engine that some auto nerd from Affalterbach was proud enough of to lend their signature. That could change after the Mercedes-AMG A 45 moves to Beijing later this year.

Still, Daimler doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, at least not initially. Though the A 35 L 4MATIC will be built by Daimler’s joint venture with BAIC (with a wheelbase stretched 2.4 inches), Automotive News reports that the 302-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder beneath its hood will originate in Koelleda, Germany. Presumably, that means smaller, signed AMG engines will continue to be manufactured using the established philosophy for the immediate future. But we should note that the A 34 L’s engine offers diminished output versus other AMG cars it’s found in.

From Automotive News:

The A 45’s popularity signals that young Chinese customers, in particular, are developing a taste for powerful vehicles even though much of China’s infrastructure consists of clogged city roads poorly suited for sports cars and traffic cameras that clamp down on speeding.

Typically, even large luxury cars in China have underpowered engines, partly for tax reasons, but it’s also difficult to go fast on most Chinese roads so powerful vehicles are not needed.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said he recently had an encouraging conversation with the head of Lei Shing Hong Holding, the largest Mercedes dealer in China.

“They want to focus more on AMG because they see a huge potential,” Zetsche said on the sidelines of the Shanghai auto show. Other dealers also see an opportunity, Zetsche said.

Nicholas Speeks, head of Mercedes-Benz sales for China, said more customers are starting to take an interest in AMG vehicles, adding that it isn’t always about owning the most powerful version of a car. Many drivers simply want the sound and feel of an AMG, he said. And, while he admits Chinese demand for AMGs isn’t comparable to Germany or the United States, Speeks said the People’s Republic is simply too big a market to ignore.

To help encourage shoppers in Asia, Mercedes plans to build an AMG brand experience center at the Zhejiang Circuit in Shaoxing. Similar to BMW and Porsche’s “Driving Experience,” Daimler’s new program will allow drivers to test their own cars in a high-speed environment while dining at high-end restaurants and receiving some gentle pampering before retiring to a nearby hotel for the evening.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 01, 2019

    AMG engines are not "hand crafted" in the traditional sense anyway. As this Mercedes magazine article notes. Nobody's filing parts or even using "matched" sets of pistons. So PR aside, no doubt a human being somewhere else other than the elf factory in Germany could assemble one.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on May 02, 2019

    "more customers are starting to take an interest in AMG vehicles, adding that it isn’t always about owning the most powerful version of a car" When you only build automatics, the "performance" trim is simply the one that costs more money, and that's what both the owner and bystander NPCs live by.

  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.