Mercedes-Benz and History
Mercedes-Benz and History
|Type||Division of Daimler AG|
|Predecessor(s)||Benz & Cie.|
Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft
|Key people||Dieter Zetsche, Chairman|
Internal combustion engines
Mercedes-Benz (German pronunciation: [mɛʁˈtseːdəs ˈbɛnts]) is a division of the German manufacturer Daimler AG, and the brand is used for automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz but traces its origins to Daimler's 1901 Mercedes and toKarl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, widely regarded as the first automobile.
Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, patented in January 1886 and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. TheMercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company. Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the most well-known and established automotive brands in the world, and is also the world's oldest automotive brand still in existence today. For information relating to the famous three-pointed star, see under the title Daimler Motoren Gesellschaftincluding the merger into Daimler-Benz.
Subsidiaries and alliances
As part of the Daimler AG company, the Mercedes-Benz Cars division includes Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach car production.
Mercedes-Benz AMG became a majority owned division of Mercedes-Benz in 1998. The company was integrated into DaimlerChrysler in 1999, and became Mercedes-Benz AMG beginning on 1 January 1999.
Between 2003 and 2009, Mercedes-Benz produced a limited-production sports car with McLaren Cars, an extension of the collaboration by which Mercedes engines are used by the Team McLaren-Mercedes Formula One racing team, which is part owned by Mercedes. McLaren ceased production of the SLR in 2009 and went on to develop its own car, the McLaren MP4-12C, launched in 2011.
In 1958, Mercedes-Benz entered into a distribution agreement with the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana (USA), makers of Studebaker and Packard brand automobiles. Under the deal, Studebaker would allow Mercedes-Benz access to its dealer network in the U.S., handle shipments of vehicles to the dealers, and in return, receive compensation for each car sold. Mercedes-Benz maintained an office within the Studebaker works in South Bend from 1958 to 1963, when Studebaker's U.S. operations ceased. Many U.S Studebaker dealers converted to Mercedes-Benz dealerships at that time.
Besides its native Germany, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are also manufactured or assembled in:
- Argentina (buses, trucks and the Sprinter van. The first Mercedes-Benz factory outside of Germany)
- Austria (G-Class)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brazil Manufacture the trucks, buses and the C-Class. Established in 1956. The A-Class (W168) was produced from 1999 to 2005 as well.
- Egypt via Egyptian German Automotive Company
- Hungary (construction of a new plant in the country announced on 18 June 2008, for the next generation A- and B-Class)
- Iran (Not since 2010
- Nigeria (buses, trucks, utility motors and the Sprinter van)
- Russia (E-Class)
- Spain, factory at Vitoria-Gasteiz, Mercedes-Benz Vito have been built there.
- South Africa
- South Korea (Mercedes-Benz Musso and MB100 models manufactured by SsangYong Motor Company)
- Thailand (assembly of C, E and S class vehicles by the Thonburi Group)
- United Kingdom—SLR sports car was built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. Brackley, Northamptonshire, is home to the Mercedes Grand Prix factory, and Brixworth, Northamptonshire is the location of Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines
- United States The Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility, the R-Class Sport Tourer, and the full-sized GL-Class Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle are all built at the Mercedes-Benz production facility near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Vietnam Passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Established in 1995
Objective measures looking at passenger vehicles, such as J. D. Power surveys, demonstrated a downturn in the quality and reliability ratings of Mercedes vehicles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By mid-2005, Mercedes temporarily returned to the industry average for initial quality, a measure of problems after the first 90 days of ownership, according to J.D. Power. In J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study for the first quarter of 2007, Mercedes showed dramatic improvement by climbing from 25th to 5th place, for the first time surpassing quality leaderToyota, and earning several awards for its models. For 2008, Mercedes-Benz's initial quality rating improved by yet another mark, to fourth place. On top of this accolade, it also received the Platinum Plant Quality Award for its Mercedes’ Sindelfingen, Germany assembly plant. In April 2011, Consumer Reports of the rates six of thirteen Mercedes-Benz models as "below average". However, J.D. Power's 2011 US Initial Quality and Vehicle Dependability Studies both ranked Mercedes-Benz vehicles above average in build quality and reliability. In the 2011 UK JD Power Survey, Mercedes cars rated above average (scoring ahead of both BMW and Audi, but trailing behind in its quality rating to the industry leader Lexus, as has been the case in all previous years).
Current model range
Mercedes-Benz carries a full range of passenger, light commercial and heavy commercial equipment. Vehicles are manufactured in multiple countries worldwide. The Smart marque of city cars and Maybach luxury cars are also produced by Daimler AG.
The following passenger vehicles were in production in 2011:
- C-Class—Saloon, Estate & Coupé
- CL-Class—Luxury Coupé
- CLS-Class—4 Door Coupé
- E-Class—Saloon, Estate, Coupé & Cabriolet
- G-Class—Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
- GL-Class—Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
- GLK-Class - Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
- M-Class—Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
- R-Class—Luxury Tourer Vehicle (LTV)
- S-Class—Luxury Saloon
- SLS AMG—Coupé
- SLS AMG—Roadster
- Viano—Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV)
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is now part of the Daimler Trucks division, and includes companies that were part of the DaimlerChrysler merger. Gottlieb Daimler sold the world's first truck in 1886.
Buses and vans
Mercedes-Benz also produces buses, mainly for Europe and Asia. Mercedes-Benz produces a range of vans. The first factory to be built outside Germany after WWII was in Argentina. It originally built trucks, many of which were modified independently to buses, popularly namedColectivo. Today, it builds buses, trucks and the Sprinter van.
Significant models produced
- 1928: SSK racing car
- 1930: 770 "Großer Mercedes" state and ceremonial car
- 1934: 500 K
- 1936: 260 D World's first diesel production car
- 1936: 170
- 1938: W195 Speed Record-breaker
- 1951: Mercedes-Benz 300, knownly as "Adenauer Mercedes"
- 1953: "Ponton" models
- 1954: 300SL "Gullwing"
- 1959: "Fintail" models
- 1960: 220SE Cabriolet[disambiguation needed ]
- 1963: 600 "Grand Mercedes"
- 1963: 230SL "Pagoda"
- 1965: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- 1966: 300SEL 6.3
- 1968: W114 "new generation" compact cars
- 1969: C111 experimental vehicle
- 1972: Mercedes-Benz W107 350SL
- 1974: 450SEL 6.9
- 1974: 240D
- 1975: Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon - Mercedes' first station wagon
- 1976: 300D
- 1978: 300SD - Mercedes' first turbo diesel
- 1979: 500SEL and G-Class
- 1983: 190E 2.3–16
- 1991: 600SEL
- 1993: First 'E-Class'
- 1995: First 'Joint Mercedes-Benz & AMG' (C43 AMG)
- 1995: Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG, 7.3 V12 (biggest engine ever put in a Mercedes-Benz)
- 1996: Mercedes-Benz Renntech E7.4RS
- 1997: Mercedes-Benz SLK
- 1997: Mercedes-Benz M-Class
- 2004: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
- 2004: Mercedes-Benz CLS
- 2007: E320, GL320 Bluetec, ML320 Bluetec, R320 Bluetec
- 2010: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Until 1994, Mercedes-Benz used an alphanumeric system for categorising their vehicles, consisting of a number sequence approximately equal to the engine's displacement in liters multiplied by 100, followed by an arrangement of alphabetical suffixes indicating body style and engine type.
- "C" indicates a coupe or cabriolet body style.
- "D" means the vehicle is equipped with a diesel engine.
- "E" (for "Einspritzen") means the vehicle's engine is equipped with petrol fuel injection. In most cases (the 600 limousine being the exception), if neither "E" or "D" is present, the vehicle has a petrol engine with a carburettor.
- "G" denotes the Geländewagen off-road vehicle.
- "K" was used in the 1930s, indicating a supercharger ("Kompressor") equipped engine. One exception is the SSK, where K indicates "Kurz" (short-wheelbase).
- "L" means "Leicht" (lightweight) for sporting models, and "Lang" (long-wheelbase) for sedan models.
- "R" stands for "Rennen" (racing), used for racing cars (for example, the 300SLR).
- "S" Sonderklasse "Special class" for flagship models.
- "T" stands for "Touring" and indicates an estate (or station wagon) body style.
Some models in the 1950s also had lower-case letters (b, c, and d) to indicate specific trim levels.
For some models, the numeric part of the designation does not match the engine displacement. This was done to show the model's position in the model lineup independent of displacement or in the price matrix. For these vehicles, the actual displacement in liters is suffixed to the model designation. For example, the 190-class all had "190" for the numeric designation, regardless of the engine size, to indicate their entry-level status. Also, some older models (such as the SS and SSK) did not have a number as part of the designation at all.
For the 1994 model year, Mercedes-Benz revised the naming system. Models were divided into "classes" denoted by an arrangement of up to three letters (see "Current model range" above), followed by a three-digit (or two-digit for AMG models, with the number approximately equal to the displacement in liters multiplied by 10) number related to the engine size, as before. Variants of the same model (such as an estate version, or a vehicle with a diesel engine) are no longer given a separate letter. In most cases, the class designation is arbitrary. The SLR and SLS supercars do not carry a numerical designation.
As before, some models' numerical designations do not match the engine's actual displacement; in these cases the number shows the model's relative performance within the class. For example, the E250 CGI has greater performance than the E200 CGI because of different engine tuning, even though both have 1.8-litre engines. Recent AMG models use the "63" designation (in honor of the 1960s 6.3-litre M100engine) despite being equipped with either a 6.2-litre (M156) or 5.5-litre (M157) engine.
Some models carry further designations indicating special features:
- "4MATIC" means the vehicle is equipped with all-wheel-drive.
- "BlueTEC" indicates a diesel engine with selective catalytic reduction exhaust aftertreatment.
- "BlueEFFICIENCY" indicates special fuel economy features (direct injection, start-stop system, aerodynamic modifications, etc.)
- "CGI" (Charged Gasoline Injection) indicates direct gasoline injection.
- "CDI" (Common-rail Direct Injection) indicates a common-rail diesel engine.
- "Hybrid" indicates a gasoline- or diesel-electric hybrid.
- "NGT" indicates a natural gas-fueled engine.
- "Kompressor" indicates a supercharged engine.
- "Turbo" indicates a turbocharged engine, only used on A-, B-,Е- and GLK-Class models.
All model designation badges can be deleted upon the customer's request.
Mercedes-Benz has developed multi concept cars with alternative propulsion, such as hybrid-electric, fully electric, and fuel-cell powertrains. At the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, Mercedes-Benz showed seven hybrid models, including the F700 concept car, powered by a hybrid-electric drivetrain featuring the DiesOtto engine. In 2009, Mercedes-Benz displayed three BlueZERO concepts at the North American International Auto Show. Each car features a different powertrain - battery-electric, fuel-cell electric, and gasoline-electric hybrid. In the same year, Mercedes also showed the Vision S500 PHEV concept with a 19 miles (31 km) all-electric range and CO2 emissions of 74 grams/km in the New European Driving Cycle.
Since 2002, Mercedes-Benz has developed the F-Cell fuel cell vehicle. The current version, based on the B-Class, has a 250 mile range and is available for lease, with volume production scheduled to begin in 2014. Mercedes has also announced the SLS AMG E-Cell, a fully electric version of the SLS sports car, with deliveries expected in 2013. The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID was launched in 2009, and is the first production automotive hybrid in the world to use a lithium-ion battery. In mid-2010, production commenced on the Vito E-Cell all-electric van. Mercedes expects 100 vehicles to be produced by the end of 2010 and a further 2000 by the end of 2011.
In 2008, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would have a demonstration fleet of small electric cars in two to three years. Mercedes-Benz and Smart are preparing for the widespread uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK by beginning the installation of recharging pointsacross their dealer networks. So far 20 Elektrobay recharging units, produced in the UK by Brighton-based Elektromotive, have been installed at seven locations as part of a pilot project, and further expansion of the initiative is planned later in 2010.
In the United States, Mercedes-Benz was assessed a record US$30.66 million for their decision to not meet the federal corporate average fuel economy standard in 2009. Certain Mercedes-Benz cars including the S550, and all AMG models sold in the United States also face an additional gas guzzler tax. However, newer AMG models fitted with the M157 engine will not be subject to the gas-guzzler tax due to improved fuel economy, and newer models powered by the M276 and M278 engines will have better fuel economy. In 2008, Mercedes also had the worst CO2 average of all major European manufacturers, ranking 14th out of 14 manufacturers. Mercedes was also the worst manufacturer in 2007 and 2006 in terms of average CO2 levels, with 181 g and 188 g of CO2 emitted per km, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH introduced three new bicycles in 2005, and the range has developed to include the patent pending Foldingbike in 2007. Other models include the Mercedes-Benz Carbon Bike, Fitness Bike and the Trailblazer Bike.
The two companies which were merged to form the Mercedes-Benz brand in 1926 had both already enjoyed success in the new sport of motor racing throughout their separate histories—both had entries in the very first automobile race Paris to Rouen 1894. This has continued, and throughout its long history, the company has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sports car racing and rallying. On several occasions Mercedes-Benz has withdrawn completely from motorsport for a significant period, notably in the late 1930s, and after the 1955 Le Mans disaster, where a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR collided with another car and killed more than 80 spectators.Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson made history by winning the 1955 Mille Miglia road race in Italy during a record-breaking drive with an average speed was almost 98 mph in aMercedes-Benz 300 SLR.
Although there was some activity in the intervening years, it was not until 1987 that Mercedes-Benz returned to front line competition, returning to Le Mans, Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), and Formula One with Sauber. The 1990s saw Mercedes-Benz purchase British engine builder Ilmor (now Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines), and campaignIndyCars under the USAC/CART rules, eventually winning the 1994 Indianapolis 500 and 1994 CART IndyCar World Series Championship with Al Unser, Jr. at the wheel. The 1990s also saw the return of Mercedes-Benz to GT racing, and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, both of which took the company to new heights by dominating the FIA's GT1 class.
Mercedes-Benz took part in the world championship in 1954 and 1955, but despite being successful with two championship titles for Juan-Manuel Fangio, the company left the sport after just two seasons. He is considered by many to be the best F1 driver in history.
Mercedes-Benz returned as an engine supplier in the 1990s and part-owned Team McLaren for some years, to which it has supplied engines engineered by Ilmor since 1995. This partnership brought success, including drivers championships for Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999, and forLewis Hamilton in 2008, as well as a constructors championship in 1998. The collaboration with McLaren had been extended into the production of roadgoing cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
In 2007, McLaren-Mercedes was fined a record US$100 million for stealing confidential Ferrari technical data.
In 2009, Ross Brawn's newly conceived Formula One team, Brawn GP used Mercedes engines to help win the constructor's championship, and Jenson Button to become champion in the F1 drivers' championship. At the end of the season, Mercedes-Benz sold its 40% stake in McLaren to the McLaren Group and bought 70% of the Brawn GP team jointly with an Abu Dubai based investment consortium. Brawn GP was renamed Mercedes GP for the 2010 season and is, from this season on, a works team for Mercedes-Benz.
- Paul Bracq—major designer of automobiles in the 20th century
- Béla Barényi—car safety pioneer (rigid passenger safety shell), joined Daimler-Benz in 1937
- Wilhelm Maybach—automotive pioneer, first met Gottlieb Daimler in 1865
- Ferdinand Porsche—founder of Porsche, joined Mercedes in 1923 and developed the Kompressor
- Bruno Sacco—joined Daimler-Benz as a designer in 1958. Head of Design in 1975, retired in 1999
- Rudolf Uhlenhaut—joined Daimler-Benz in 1931, his designs included the Silver Arrows, the 300 SL and 300SLR
- Adolf Eichmann—former Nazi criminal. Worked in Argentina's factory after WWII
- Rudolf Caracciola—one of the greatest GP drivers in history drove MB Silver Arrows in competition
Numerous technological innovations have been introduced on Mercedes-Benz automobiles throughout the many years of their production, including:
- The internal combustion engined automobile was developed independently by Benz and Daimler & Maybach in 1886
- Daimler invented the honeycomb radiator of the type still used on all water-cooled vehicles today
- Daimler invented the float carburetor which was used until replaced by fuel injection
- The "drop chassis"—the car originally designated the "Mercedes" by Daimler was also the first car with a modern configuration, having the carriage lowered and set between the front and rear wheels, with a front engine and powered rear wheels. All earlier cars were "horseless carriages", which had high centres of gravity and various engine/drive-train configurations
- The first passenger road car to have brakes on all four wheels (1924)
- The "safety cage" or "safety cell" construction with front and rear crumple zones was first developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1951. This is considered by many as the most important innovation in automobile construction from a safety standpoint
- In 1959, Mercedes-Benz patented a device that prevents drive wheels from spinning by intervening at the engine, transmission, or brakes. In 1987, Mercedes-Benz applied its patent by introducing a traction control system that worked under both braking and acceleration
- Traction control and airbags in the European market, were Mercedes-Benz innovations. These technologies were introduced in 1986, and 1980 respectively
- Mercedes-Benz was the first to introduce pre-tensioners to seat belts on the 1981 S-Class. In the event of a crash, a pre-tensioner will tighten the belt instantaneously, removing any 'slack' in the belt, which prevents the occupant from jerking forward in a crash
- In September 2003, Mercedes-Benz introduced the world's first seven-speed automatic transmission called '7G-Tronic'
- Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), brake assist, and many other types of safety equipment were all developed, tested, and implemented into passenger cars—first—by Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz has not made a large fuss about its innovations, and has even licensed them for use by competitors—in the name of improving automobile and passenger safety. As a result, crumple zones and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are now standard on all modern vehicles.
- The most powerful naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine in the world is the Mercedes-AMG,6,208 cc M156 V8 engine at 85 PS (63 kW) per litre. The V8 engine is badged '63 AMG', and replaced the '55 AMG' M113 engine in most models. The M156 engine produces up to 391 kW (532 PS; 524 bhp), and although some models using this engine do have this output (such as the S63 and CL63 AMGs), specific output varies slightly across other models in the range
- The (W211) E320 CDI which has a variable geometry turbocharger (VTG) 2.8-litre V6 common rail diesel engine (producing 224 hp/167 kW), set three world endurance records. It covered 100,000 miles (160,000 km) in a record time, with an average speed of 224.823 km/h (139.70 mph). Three identical cars did the endurance run (one set above record) and the other two cars set world records for time taken to cover 100,000 kilometres (62,137 mi) and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) respectively. After all three cars had completed the run, their combined distance was 300,000 miles (480,000 km) (all records were FIA approved).
- Mercedes-Benz pioneered a system called Pre-Safe to detect an imminent crash—and prepares the car's safety systems to respond optimally. It also calculates the optimal braking force required to avoid an accident in emergency situations, and makes it immediately available for when the driver depresses the brake pedal. Occupants are also prepared by tightening the seat belt, closing the sunroof and windows, and moving the seats into the optimal position.
Half a century of vehicle safety innovation helped win Mercedes-Benz the Safety Award at the 2007 What Car? Awards.
In the 1980s, Mercedes built the world's first robot car, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns at Bundeswehr University Munich. Partially encouraged by Dickmanns' success, in 1987 the European Union's EUREKA programme initiated the Prometheus Project on autonomous vehicles, funded to the tune of nearly €800 million. A culmination point was achieved in 1995, when Dickmanns' re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes took a long trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark, and back. On highways, the robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h (109 mph) (permissible in some areas of the German Autobahn). The car's abilities has heavily influenced robot car research and funding decisions worldwide.
Several companies have become car tuners (or modifiers) of Mercedes Benz, in order to increase performance and/or luxury to a given model.
AMG is Mercedes-Benz's in-house performance-tuning division, specialising in high-performance versions of most Mercedes-Benz cars. AMG engines are all hand-built, and each completed engine receives a tag with the signature of the engineer who built it. AMG has been wholly owned by Mercedes-Benz since 1999. The 2009 SLS AMG, a revival of the 300SL Gullwing, is the first car to be entirely developed by AMG.