Archive for May 2008

Interior hints:the 2010 CLK-Klasse scooped again

The next-generation of the mid-sized luxury coupe CLK, due for launch this year in October, at the Paris Motor Show, has been caught on camera again while performing the usual road tests. If you are already bored by the great amount of exterior pics, then I have a surprise for those of you wanting to know how are things going inside the car:2 new photos that are concentrated on revealing the details of the center console of the dashboard, with an elegant COMAND APS screen mounted at the top, in BMW style.

The CLK will be powered by already well-known engines, like the 3.5 litres V6 on the CLK 350 which may develop 315 BHP, not 272 BHP, or the tremenduous 5.5 litres V8 with 388 BHP for the CLK 500. The sporty version of the CLK will be the 63 AMG variant;for this version, power will come from the 6.2 L V8, which will be able to produce around 480 BHP.

Along with the series car, Mercedes-Benz will unveil at Paris the CLK Shooting Brake concept, that, some say, should come to reality at the end of 2009.

Pics & Info:Motor Authority

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F1 Montreal - Preview



Vodafone McLaren Mercedes travels across the Atlantic for round seven of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix, which is being staged in the North American country for the 40th time.

The first Canadian race took place in 1967 at the Mosport track in Toronto. Mont-Tremblant hosted the event for two years in 1968 and 1970 before it moved to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1978.

The team has won the Canadian Grand Prix on ten occasions with the most recent victory taken by Lewis Hamilton last year. It marked the Brit’s maiden win in Formula 1, coming in his sixth race in the series.

Lewis Hamilton

Following your Monaco win, we now move to Canada, what are your thoughts ahead of this race?

"As I said on Sunday, winning at Monaco is the highlight of my career, it was a very emotional victory for me as it is something I have dreamed of since I was a kid. I will never forget the moment, but now my only focus with the team is Canada. We have good momentum right now and we are pushing to keep that going and to keep developing. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of my favourite tracks and following my debut win there last year it is a very special place for me and I hope that we will be quick there again this year. It is renowned for its difficult track surfaces, particularly with tyre graining, and the walls. Despite being very fast, it can feel like a street circuit with the barriers very close, but it is good fun to drive at and I am looking forward to getting back there."

As you mentioned, the track surface is one of the main factors during the race weekend, how does this affect the grip levels and tyre wear?
"Well everyone is in the same boat for the tyre choice, and it can get quite complicated to choose the right tyre for the entire weekend given the evolution the circuits go through, particularly Canada. We have worked closely with Bridgestone on this and hope we have the right compounds to manage the track conditions. There is always a lot of graining at this track and because it is only used one a year, it is very dirty when we first start running. That soon clears up on the racing line, but this dirt and the marbles from the graining make it very slippery off-line."

The low downforce layout of the track places great importance on efficient cornering. With reduced aero grip, what exactly is required from the car to make it quick through the corners?
"Mechanical grip is key. You also need a well balanced car that doesn’t oversteer - but that is not as easy as it might sound! You have to really make a compromise on corner entry, particularly those after the long straights. This means your time through the corner will be faster."

It is a year since your debut Grand Prix pole and victory at the Canadian Grand Prix, what are you memories of that weekend and how do you feel you have developed as a driver in the 12 months since?
"Last year in Canada was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, to take my maiden pole and victory in Formula 1 was incredible, even more so as it was with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. It would be great to go back there and do the same, and that is what we are working hard to achieve. Since then I think I’ve matured a lot, I think I have grown stronger as a driver and have become closer to the team."

Heikki Kovalainen

What are your expectations ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix?
"I am going to Montreal to get a good result with the team. The last few races have been pretty difficult for one reason or another, but all the time we know the car is quick and now I am hoping to be able to demonstrate that."

How competitive do you feel the MP4-23 will be at the Canadian Grand Prix?
"Lewis won there last year and, if that is anything to go by, I hope and think the car will be fast again this year. It’s another track that is not that normal, it is almost like a street circuit and a key characteristic that we have to manage over the race is the big change in grip levels throughout the weekend. You have to chase the track a little bit some times with the set up, and also wait for the track to come to you. It’s such a different character after Monaco, which is a lot of slow, tight corners. Montreal is all about straight lines and heavy braking. I always look forward to going there, it is another big challenge and the racing is normally pretty good."

What is key to a strong performance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
"Braking is number one for this track, it is very heavy on the brakes and we have to pay special attention to make sure they last the race. It is also definitely key to a good lap at this track to be able to ride the kerbs well; basically you are trying to straight line them so you can go faster through the corner. The most important thing is being able to take those bumps and the hits well and for it not to disrupt the car too much. So in general the car needs to be quite soft."

As you demonstrated last year, overtaking is possible at this track, where are the prime passing opportunities?
"I had a disastrous weekend up to Sunday last year and then during the race the incidents and safety cars meant the strategy played into my favour. I overtook a few cars, and then eventually I just found myself in fourth. I was close to Alex Wurz and raced against him to take third. It didn’t come off, but it does show that anything can happen in a race and you must never give up, wherever you are you just have to carry on and keep pushing. The best places to pass are at the end of each of the straights. This means there are three key opportunities with one very long straight and two that are a bit shorter. You can slipstream and then pass under braking or follow the car ahead through the slower corners and make another move."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Coming out of Monaco, what is the mood within the team?

"Overall the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team comes out of Monaco a third of the way through the season leading the Drivers’ Championship and second in the Constructors’ title. Consequentially, particularly on the back of a fabulous win in Monaco, the mood is very good. The feeling is that there is good development momentum in the team and that we have an exciting season ahead of us. Inevitably Lewis comes out of Monaco in a very positive frame of mind and firmly believing that he can build upon that success and have a strong Championship fight. Heikki of course has performed quite brilliantly in his first six races with the team and therefore has to come out of it with some disappointment. Whilst there is underlying satisfaction with his personal performance, Heikki has suffered some misfortune, which has taken from him the opportunity to win his first Grand Prix. But he is an extremely positive guy who realises that he has a great career ahead of him and there is no doubt that he is going to enjoy many Grand Prix victories during the course of his career."

Next stop Montreal where track characteristics are completely opposite to the narrow streets of Monaco.
"We have a car which excels in high speed corners and there aren’t too many of those in Canada, however, we have a reasonably good track record at this event. It is about high speed down the straights, braking stability, durability of the braking system, traction out of the corners, which are relatively short but with high speeds into them. All this means it is an unusual circuit that is not the easiest to forecast, but we have every reason to believe we have made improvements on the car and the whole team is looking forward to carrying our championship campaign forward."

This is traditionally a tough race for brakes, what measure does the team take towards maintaining performance throughout the race and the weekend?
"Inevitably all of the teams have to review their braking systems prior to the Canadian round of the Championship as it would be extremely unusual if the more standard brakes used at conventional circuits would last the Canadian Grand Prix. There have been many occasions in the past where quite simply the brakes have worn out before the end and that is something that we all have to work very hard at. As the hardest circuit on brakes in terms of wear, the team and Akebono, with areas such as friction materials and cooling systems, work to have a special Canadian Grand Prix set-up. "

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

How do you evaluate the balance of power after the first third of the season and prior to the Canadian Grand Prix?

"The previous three races in Barcelona, Istanbul and Monte Carlo provided completely different challenges for teams and drivers and offered probably the widest possible spectrum of three consecutive Grands Prix. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was capable of achieving podium finishes at all three tracks and scored these positions in the races. Whilst Lewis ended up third, second and first respectively, a broken wheel rim, a tyre slashed by a competitor and a software problem while engaging first gear at the start to the formation lap in Monaco prevented Heikki from scoring a similar amount of points. Now Lewis leads the Drivers’ World Championship with a gap of three points, one year ago his advantage after six races was eight points."

What are the specific demands of the Montreal circuit for drivers, cars and teams?
"First of all, the race is renowned for its many Safety Car periods. In the previous five years, there has been at least one Safety Car period in 42 percent of all races; in Canada there have been Safety Car periods in three out of the last five races which is 60 percent. No other circuit is more demanding for the brakes than Montreal; four times per lap the cars slow down from 300km/h and more to about 100km/h. Montreal puts also strain on the engines; on the long straight, the cars run under full throttle for 15 seconds out of the total lap time of about 75 seconds.

How difficult is it for teams and drivers to adjust to such extremely opposed demands like in Monaco and Montreal?
"It is true - apart from the same initials and from being street circuits, the venues of these two consecutive Grands Prix have only a few things in common considering their demands. The team was able to deal with these contrasts at best; Lewis won his first Formula 1 race in Canada, and one year later, he arrives in Montreal as six-time Formula 1 winner, current winner of the Monaco GP and with 16 podium finishes out of his 23 Grands Prix."

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Modern-day classic puts in a compelling performance: G-Class – the show goes on


Stuttgart, May 30, 2008 – It has been the definitive cross-country vehicle since 1979. It has won the Paris-Dakar Rally, is deemed a worthy means of transport for the Pope, ranks as an automotive design icon, is a serial winner of readers' polls and constitutes the gene pool for a Mercedes-Benz SUV family that now numbers four model series in all. It is, of course – the G-Class. It has been in production for 29 years now, making the G-Class by far the longest-serving passenger car model series there has been since Mercedes-Benz came into existence in 1886. And its haul of superlatives is set to grow still further, because the G-Class is subject to continual updating that keeps it in touch with the very latest motoring technology. This time, once again, the exterior has only been modernised to a limited degree quite deliberately. The advances mainly centre on the vehicle's telematics, along with the new 5.5-litre V8 engine that is available for the G 500.

From the outside, the newest generation of the G-Class can be identified by its restyled, three-fin radiator grille, with the G 500 sporting new-look 18‑inch light-alloy wheels as an additional distinguishing feature. The model range continues to comprise three different body variants (short-wheelbase Station Wagon, long-wheelbase Station Wagon and Cabriolet), which are either powered by the fuel-efficient V6 CDI engine generating 165 kW/224 hp and 540 newton metres or a new, mighty 5.5-litre V8 petrol unit with an output of 285 kW/388 hp and 530 newton metres of torque. This new engine propels the G‑Class to sports-car-like performance*: the dash from 0 to 100 km/h is completed in just 5.9 seconds.

New telematics generation with useful extra functions

The latest edition of the G-Class is equipped with the advanced, more user-friendly generation of telematics technology. A Bluetooth hands-free system for mobile phones is built in as standard. A new media interface can also be specified as an option that allows an external music storage device to be linked up to the off-roader's on-board electronics and control system. Audio tracks appear in the instrument cluster and in the centre console's colour display, and can be simply called up by using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The audio device's battery is recharged at the same time. The Audio 20 CD including a built-in six-disc CD changer is standard for the G 320 CDI models. This unit includes a dual tuner for superior radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, as well as a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies. There is also a Bluetooth interface which establishes a wireless connection between a mobile phone and the vehicle's hands-free system.

COMAND APS standard on G 500

All G 500 model versions feature the COMAND APS infotainment system with a built-in six-disc DVD changer. The system's specification includes hard-disc navigation with a tracking function outside digitised areas, telephone operation, plus a special off‑road menu. COMAND APS also incorporates the new LINGUATRONIC system with extended functionality. The voice-operated control now recognises whole-word commands, which can be spoken by anyone without the need to train the system first. The system is simply activated by means of a control on the right of the multifunction steering wheel. It can be used for making a call by saying the telephone number, controlling the audio system, calling up the global address book and operating the navigation system. COMAND APS may also be combined with the optional TV tuner and reversing camera.

There are other equipment options too: for the ultimate in listening pleasure there is the Harman Kardon® Logic7® surround sound system with 12 high-performance speakers and an output of 450 watts, while climatised seats offer enhanced seating comfort for the driver and front passenger.

G-Class: a success story that spans three decades

The classic Mercedes-Benz Cross-Country Vehicle serves up a majestic blend of high-performance powertrain and dynamic handling control systems. In addition to permanent all-wheel drive with a low-range ratio and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, the standard specification includes the electronically controlled traction system 4ETS, the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, as well as three differential locks which can be engaged at the push of a button. Since Mercedes-Benz first commissioned Magna Steyr in the Austrian city of Graz to produce the G-Class in 1979, close on 200,000 have been built. And this enduring success story is far from over: the "G", as it is affectionately known, will continue to round off Mercedes-Benz's high-calibre line-up of SUVs alongside the GL, ML and GLK‑Class, and is due to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2009.

New model available from September 2008

The new-generation G-Class is available to order now. Below is a summary of the retail prices*:

G 320 CDI
Station Wagon - € 68,425

Station Wagon - € 73,542

Cabriolet - € 74,494

G 500

Station Wagon - € 86,156

Station Wagon - € 91,392

Cabriolet - € 92,344

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More space for new ideas: Mercedes-Benz opens new advanced design studio in California


Stuttgart, May 30, 2008 – Mercedes-Benz is moving its Southern Californian advanced design studio from Irvine to a newly-acquired, spacious facility near Carlsbad, in order to strengthen its creative base in the U.S. At the new Carlsbad facility, the styling masterminds pondering the car of the future have almost three times more space in which to realize their creative ideas. Thus, Mercedes-Benz is underscoring the continually growing influence of the advanced design studio on the internationally-oriented design strategy of the world’s oldest vehicle manufacturer.

The new studio in Carlsbadis one of a group of international advanced design studios that, as a globally-oriented vehicle maker, Mercedes-Benz runs in places such as Como, Tokyoand Sindelfingen, as well as in the U.S.The studios are creative islands that are not subject to the demands of series production, but instead allow designers to take influences from their environments, to evaluate them and to interpret them freely. Their inspirations provide important momentum to the development of Mercedes-Benz design, which is not oriented only towards the domestic market, but also takes on board strange, new ideas from other continents and cultures that fit to the Mercedes-Benz brand identity.

As part of its internationally-oriented design strategy, Mercedes-Benz opened its first advanced design studio in the U.S.back in 1990 in Irvine, California. Since then the importance of the Californian facility has grown to such an extent that the 1200 square metres of rented space on Cowan Streetin Irvineare no longer sufficient. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz decided to acquire the new building in Carlsbad, 80 miles south of Los Angeles. With 3160 square meters, it even has enough space for the construction of 1:1 models – something that wasn’t previously possible. The move to the new creative centre on Rutherford Road will begin in July 2008.

“The substantial enlargement of our design studio in Californiabears testament to the growing importance of design at Mercedes-Benz,” says Gorden Wagener, Head of Strategic Advanced Design and future Head of Design for Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With our studios in California, Tokyoand Como, we have established a creative basis for important markets. They function as our seismograph for influences emerging from art, culture and architecture.”

More than 10 000 kilometres from the design centre in Sindelfingen, Carlsbad will offer around 25 employees from a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds an ideal creative working environment for the development of the Mercedes-Benz design language of the day after tomorrow. On the one hand, it will display as many modern international influences as necessary while, on the other, conveying a clear image of its roots. Because a Mercedes will always be a Mercedes.

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New Mercedes-Benz Actros in the Guinness Book of Records: the world's most economical series-production truck


Actros' record-breaking drive over 12,728 km: 19,44 l /100 km
Savings champion also with CO2: minimal emissions of 20,5 g/tkm
State-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz truck now outperforms the "one-litre car"

Stuttgart/Nardo, May 30, 2008 – The 40-tonne Mercedes-Benz Actros trailer/tractor combination consumes exactly 19,44 litres of diesel per 100 km or the equivalent less than 0,8 litres per hundred tonne-kilometres (tkm) – that is the outcome of a test drive 12 728,94 kilometres. A record-breaking feat that the Guinness World Records observers recognised with a world record entry in "The most fuel-efficient 40 ton truck" category. The seven-day round-the-clock test drive helped the new standard-specification Actros, hauling over 25 tonnes of payload at an average speed of 80 km/h around the test course in Nardo, prove one thing: the auto­motive vision of the "one-litre car" (fuel consumption of approx. 0,8 l per 100 km) is already a reality in the commercial vehicle sector thanks to fuel consumption figures of 20,5 litres per 100 tkm. All of which makes sound economic sense for fleet operators in light of spiralling fuel prices, but is equally impressive from an environmental perspective: the new Mercedes-Benz Actros also reduces CO2 emissions to 20,5 grams per tonne of payload and kilometre (g/tkm). By com­parison, the theoretical "one-litre car" would produce 53 g/tkm and today's hybrid passenger cars 297 g/tkm of CO2. Even in normal traffic, the 40‑tonne trailer/tractor combination performs significantly better, boasting fuel con­sumption figures between 30 and 35 litres, and 30 to 37 g/tkm of CO2. In the transport sector, fuel consumption is calculated by multiplying the number of kilo­metres covered per tonne transported.

The fuel consumption test for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros, monitored by DEKRA (the German automotive inspection agency) under the ideal conditions at the test site in Nardo, southern Italy, was meant to show what state‑of-the-art vehicle technology can achieve. Meanwhile, measurements using a comparable truck aimed to highlight the factors responsible for the difference in fuel consumption in everyday traffic on Europe's roads.

Efficient drive technology

Highly efficient state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz technology underpins the record-breaking results. The conventional commercial vehicle diesel engine has long since developed into a high-tech powerplant with sophisticated powertrain manage­ment. As a result, diesel consumption has fallen by more than a third over the decades while transport capacity has increased to the same degree. Most recently, the new BlueTec diesel technology has brought further substantial improvements: two to five percent lower fuel consumption, or, depending on the application, annual savings of 1500 litres to 2000 litres of diesel per truck. And every litre of diesel fuel saved translates into 2640 g less CO2 pumped into the environment. There are already 150,000 Mercedes-Benz BlueTec trucks on the road at present. An enhanced drive system in the new Actros promises additional potential savings for vehicle fleets – thanks in no small part to the standard-fit Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission, computer-controlled compressed air system and a governed water pump.

Factors affecting real-life traffic

The fuel consumption test in Nardo also illustrates what factors increase fuel consumption on the road: inadequate traffic infrastructure and a lack of traffic management, incorrect vehicle configuration, inadequate vehicle maintenance and actual driving style. The measurements in Nardo confirmed the figures from the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), according to which the instantaneous fuel consumption of a 40-tonne trailer/tractor combination can triple if the vehicle is forced to stop twice every kilometre, instead of travelling unimpeded at 50 km/h. Truck drivers are, however, faced with these kinds of traffic jams on a daily basis, whether as a result of road capacity bottlenecks or due to accidents. Accident prevention based on sophisticated assistance systems through to Mercedes-Benz "Active Brake Assist" consequently also helps limit unnecessary fuel consumption and, in turn, emissions. The development of state-of-the-art traffic management systems could also make a significant contribution in this respect.

Correct vehicle configuration is equally important

Correct vehicle configuration can influence fuel consumption right from day one. Failure to order additional aerodynamic equipment when purchasing the vehicle can see fuel consumption increase by ten percent. Correctly adjusting the wind deflectors on the cab can on its own improve fuel consumption by up to four per­cent. Meanwhile, the extra cost of wind deflectors can be recouped within a few months, depending on the mileage. Even apparently minor details such as in­correctly tightened or even flapping tarpaulins will inexorably push up diesel consumption. By contrast, the aerodynamic A-pillar panelling available ex factory for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros at no extra cost can reduce fuel consumption by one percent.

The same applies to tyres. Mercedes-Benz offers Super-wide tyres for its trucks instead of the twin tyres on the rear axle. Potential fuel savings of up to two per­cent have been measured in tests. Insufficient tyre pressure can, however, in­crease fuel consumption by up to eight percent. Bearing in mind that around 30% of all trucks on the road have insufficient tyre pressure, the potential savings are clear. And in addition, inadequate air pressure is also the key factor in 95% of all tyre blowouts.

Anticipatory driving

Anticipatory driving offers potential savings between ten to twelve percent or, de­pending on the application, a reduction of five to six thousand euros a year for every truck. The Economy programmes at Mercedes-Benz Professional Training focus specifically on these kinds of savings. The courses on offer have long since been part of the world's largest training facility for truck drivers, which boasts some 65,000 participants a year. The "Operations analysis" module from Daimler sub­sidiary FleetBoard GmbH clearly demonstrates to fleet managers how this know­­ledge can be sustainably put into practice by means of a driving style assessment.

Maximising potential

The test drives with the Mercedes-Benz Actros have shown that under optimum conditions the vehicle technology accounts for just about 60 percent of the fuel consumed by a 40-tonne trailer/trailer combination. Traffic conditions, topo­graphy, vehicle configuration and maintenance make up the various factors in the remaining 40 percent or so, i.e. between ten and fifteen litres per 100 kilometres. Traffic planners, dispatchers, fleet decision-makers and drivers can influence many of these parameters.

Drivers are key players in this respect – responsibility for their own driving style and the vehicle's maintenance condition means they can actively influence over a quarter of fuel consumption. Considering that fuel accounts for around 30% of a fleet's total costs, it is clear that every measure designed to reduce fuel con­sumption needs to be fully exploited. And these efforts will also benefit the envi­ron­ment – not least because CO2 emissions – a much debated issue at present – are linked directly to fuel consumption.
Further development of "Fuel Efficiency" drive systems forms part of Daimler AG's Shaping Future Transportation initiative. Within this context, the world's biggest commercial-vehicle manufacturer already presented its work in the field of environmentally compatible and future-oriented drive systems in the autumn of last year.

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Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Center in Maastricht Celebrates 10th Anniversary


Customer contact center unlike any other in the European automotive industry
International team offers 24-hour service for fast emergency assistance and general product and brand information
600 employees from 40 countries are available every day for established and potential customers in 13 European countries

Stuttgart, May 30, 2008 – Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are major factors that contribute to Daimler AG’s long-standing success in the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors. Since its establishment in 1998, the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Center (CAC) in the Dutch city of Maastrichthas been a key precondition for customer satisfaction. Over the last ten years, the CAChas become the primary contact and service center for established and potential customers all over Western Europe. The facility’s employees, who are recruited from 13 different European countries, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide advice and services.

“Our Mercedes-BenzCustomerAssistanceCenterin Maastrichtstrongly contributes to the continuing improvement of customer satisfaction at the Group,” says Dr. Frank Reintjes, Head of Global Service and Parts, the worldwide after-sales organization of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, vans and commercial vehicles as well as Maybach and smart. “The international makeup of the workforce, and the great expertise on hand, mean that we offer existing and potential customers a range of services that's unique in the automotive industry. Our staff members at CACMaastricht know everything there is to know about all of our vehicle models and the services and customer loyalty programs we offer. This comprehensive service portfolio makes the CACunique in the European automotive industry.”

The CACalso serves customers of passenger cars, vans and commercial vehicles of the Maybach, smart, EvoBus, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands as well as the Mitsubishi Canter. Staff members handle an average of around 7,000 calls per day, with inquiries ranging from requests for emergency assistance to questions regarding products and services. Employees serve customers in their own native languages and can also provide help in numerous dialects and regional languages such as Catalan.

The CustomerAssistanceCenterwas launched in October 1998 with 130 employees to provide 24-hour service for the Mercedes-Benz brand in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. “We intentionally picked Maastrichtback then because of its geographical position in the center of EUREGIO, the border region between the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. It was the ideal location to set up an international team with the outstanding language skills that are needed by a European customer center,” says Reintjes. Today, 67 percent of CACemployees come from the multilingual EUREGIO area.
Over the years, the scope of services offered by the CAChas been gradually expanded and new countries and brands have been added to the mix. The CACnow has 600 employees from 40 nations who serve established and potential customers from the following European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. Staff members are always available to help customers in the event of an emergency (24-hour service) and to provide a comprehensive range of other customer services. These include complaint management and the provision of information on passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In addition, the CACoperates customer loyalty programs, conducts surveys, and analyzes vehicle data.

As services have been expanded and new countries and brands have been added to the mix, the number of inquiries handled by the CACincreased accordingly. Since 1998, some 6.6 million customers and interested parties have taken advantage of the services offered by the CACby contacting the center either via telephone, e-mail, normal mail, or fax. CACemployees currently address an average of 2.5 million inquiries per year. The toll-free number for the CACis the same in all the countries served by the center: 00800 1 777 7777 for the Mercedes-Benz brand (passenger cars and commercial vehicles), and 00800 2 777 7777 for the smart brand.

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Mercedes-Benz IPTV Weekly Show 27.05.2008

A ship's christening in Monaco

Mille Miglia 2008

GLK and the City

Head over to Mercedes-Benz IPTV

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Mercedes-Benz do Brasil is Latin America’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles


More than 1,600,000 commercial vehicles produced in 52 years
Company is historical sales leader of buses and heavy trucks
5 of every ten trucks circulating in Brazil are branded with
7 of every 10 buses circulating in the country are from Mercedes-Benz

São Bernardo do Campo, May 27, 2008 – Mercedes-Benz do Brasil reached a record of more than 1,600,000 commercial vehicles produced in Brazil. The biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Latin America started its activities in the country in 1956. “We are very proud of the market position we reached in Brazil with the production of 1,140,000 trucks and 500,000 buses. This is an unprecedented volume among manufacturers of commercial vehicles in the country”, says Gero Herrmann, Company president.

With nearly 28,000 Mercedes-Benz trucks sold in Brazil in 2007. The brand with the star is the market leader with a market share of 29% in the heavy-duty segment. In total, 50% of the circulating truck fleet in Brazil are produced in São Bernardo do Campo.
A high level of Mercedes-Benz’s participation is also noticed in the Brazilian circulating bus fleet, currently with 70%. Last year, the company registered a sales volume of more than 12,600 units in Brazil, which represents a share of 52%, market leader in the segment.

The quality of the products manufactured by Mercedes-Benz do Brasil is recognized internationally. Trucks and buses are sold in Latin America and in several other continents. Among the major markets are Argentina, Chile, Peru, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Jordania.
The company is also the biggest exporter of commercial vehicles in Latin America. In total, around 180,000 Mercedes-Benz trucks produced in Brazil were exported since 1965. Recently, the brand surpassed the milestone of 150,000 buses exported since 1961.

Today, the plant in São Bernardo do Campo has around 12,000 employees and produces daily 260 vehicles between trucks and buses. It is a world competence center of Daimler AG for the development and production of bus chassis of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The exclusive assembly line of bus chassis is a benchmark for other group companies worldwide, due to the implementation of production optimization programs, as just in time and improvement as kaizen.

In its unit of São Bernardo do Campo, Mercedes-Benz do Brasil counts with the biggest Technological Development Center – CDT of Daimler AG outside Germany, where it develops and tests the products and the technologies applied to buses, trucks and aggregates. A pioneering activity center in Brazil, this CDT is also the biggest in Latin America among all manufacturers of commercial vehicles.

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Daimler AG Receives “Laser Technology 2008” Innovation Award


Aachen / Stuttgart, Germany, May 09, 2008

* Award for RobScan production technology
* Higher speeds and quality levels alongside improved economical and ecological efficiency
* Innovative combination of hardware, process technology, and control software
* Daimler to donate prize money to a charitable organization

The Laser Technology 2008 Innovation Award presented by Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. and the European Laser Institute (ELI) has been awarded upon Daimler AG for its robot-controlled laser beam welding procedure called RobScan, which was jointly developed by Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Production Planning. Yesterday, Bertold Hopf, head of Material and Production Technology, Dr. Klaus-Dieter Debschütz, head of Materials, Production Technology, and Vehicle Body Concepts at Group Research, and RobScan project manager Holger Schubert accepted the award at the AKL 2008 International Laser Technology Congress in Aachen. Prof. Reinhart Poprawe, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, handed over the award, which is presented every other year to individuals or project groups whose skills and dedication have led to outstanding innovations in laser technology. The prize money of €10,000 will be donated by Daimler AG to a charitable organization to be named at a late time.

“Mercedes-Benz has once again been recognized as a pioneer for innovative production and material technology,” said Bertold Hopf at the awards presentation. “We’re very pleased to have the importance of our work confirmed by this prestigious award.”
It took five years to design and develop RobScan, which is now used in major series production operations. The RobScan technology is employed, for example, to make some 650 welded joints for the doors, side panels, rear-end middle piece, and rear hatch on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Such welds replace roughly 15 percent of the resistance spot welds previously used. RobScan has increased welding speed and improved welding quality. Use of the technology has also led to a reduction in flange widths, thereby lowering weight. In addition, the laser welding procedure results in better material crash performance. All in all, the new technology has made a significant contribution to improving the economy of the new model series and increasing energy efficiency in production.

One of the key innovations of RobScan is its so-called Master PC, a control unit developed by the researchers at Daimler team that in addition to ensuring permanent communication between the scanner, laser, and robot, also enables welding on the fly and the design of any type of seam pattern. Mounted to the end of the robot arm, the scanner head uses two electronically controlled adjustable mirrors to move the highly concentrated laser beam from one welding spot to the next at lightning speed. During each welding operation, the steel robot arm continually moves along the components while the scanner head simultaneously guides the laser beam "in flight" across it. This makes it possible to weld seams of the highest quality and precision at the fastest possible speed.

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F1 Monte Carlo - SUN - The Race - Absolute Victory for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes


Monte Carlo, Sunday 25th May 2008

Lewis Hamilton MP4-23 04

Heikki Kovalainen MP4-23 05

2008 MONACO GRAND PRIX (McLaren’s 15th Monaco victory)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix and took the lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.

After 76 turbulent laps (253.840 kms) in changeable weather conditions and with two Safety Car periods, he took the chequered flag 3 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica and 4.8 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa. Lewis’ team mate Heikki Kovalainen came home eighth after he had stalled his car at the beginning of the formation lap and had to start from the pit lane behind the field. It is Lewis’ sixth Grand Prix victory and the second of the season after Australia. For McLaren it is the 15th victory in Monaco, and the sixth for the McLaren Mercedes partnership within 11 Grands Prix since Mika Häkkinen won in 1998. Lewis had to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap six (8.3 seconds) after he damaged his tyre hitting the barrier at the Tabac corner. The team consequently changed his strategy, and he made his refuelling stop on lap 54 (7 seconds). Heikki pitted on laps 34 (10.0 seconds) and 49 (7.4 seconds). After the sixth of 18 Grands Prix, Lewis took the lead in the drivers’ ranking with 38 points ahead of Kimi Räikkönen who was ninth today. Heikki is sixth overall with 15 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes moved up to second with 53 points; Ferrari leads with 69 points.


"I am absolutely over the moon. To win here in Monaco is the highlight of my career and an occasion I will always remember. I want to thank everybody in the team for their fantastic job, and also my family for their continuous support. It was a very eventful race. I started well and immediately overtook Kimi, and also saw a chance to attack Felipe, but then the rain got heavier and visibility worsened. At the Tabac corner, there was a lot of water on the track, and suddenly I had oversteer and hit the barrier. It was just a slight touch, but the tyre was damaged and I had to pit. Fortunately, the first Safety Car period helped me to close the gap to the front. We changed our strategy, and I had to make only one more stop. When I was about 40 seconds ahead the team told me over the radio to take it easy. The second Safety Car period brought more excitement, but I was able to control the race also after the second re-start. What a day and what a result !”


“An extremely difficult race with any chance of finishing in a top position already gone when I could not engage a gear at the start of the formation lap. Consequently I had to change the steering wheel in the pit lane from where I had to start my race. I tried to push as hard as I could, but could only go at my real pace when there was a gap. It is a pity, because my car was good and the speed was there. At least I scored one point at the end and now look forward to the next Grands Prix where I will go maximum attack to finish with good results.”


“Today was a great day – and a fantastic team performance. Our guys instigated a brilliant strategy change, under pressure, after Lewis touched the Tabac barrier and damaged his right rear tyre early in the race. Had Heikki not had a problem on the grid, we would have had the pace for a 1-2 finish. That was a disappointment for him and us, but he drove a fantastic race thereafter and his time will surely come. Lewis’s sensational win has taken him back to the lead of the Drivers’ World Championship - and we now go to Montreal, scene of his first grand prix win 12 months ago, in a strong position to continue our challenge for the Championships. A great victory for the team and all of our Partners.”


"Lewis was sensational and his performance was just terrific. We had the best strategy, the best speed and certainly a little luck as well. For me, this sixth victory in Monaco for McLaren and Mercedes and 54th in total together with McLaren is our greatest so far. Sorry for Heikki, without his problem in selecting first gear at the start of the formation lap he would have been a very strong contender for a podium finish – at least he scored one point. A big thank you to the whole team who worked so hard and to all our partners, particularly Vodafone for all their support. The fight for the championship is wide open, and we certainly want to go for it. "

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F1 Monte Carlo - SAT- Qualifying


Monte Carlo, May 24, 2008

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from the second row on the grid. In Saturday’s exciting qualifying, Lewis was third fastest with a time of 1m15.839, 52 thousandths of a second behind the pole position time, whilst Heikki qualified fourth fastest with a 1m16.165.

Lewis Hamilton
"Obviously I would have preferred to be on pole, but I am pleased with how the car felt and our strategy. The team did a solid job, and I didn't have any problems with traffic. My two flying laps in the final part of qualifying were good, but I lost a bit of time in the second sector, because I lacked a bit of traction accelerating out of turn eight, and in the third sector, at the last corners, I did not brake as late as I should. But we have a good strategy, and I am quite confident for the race - tomorrow anything can happen particularly with the weather forecast promising rain."

Heikki Kovalainen
“I am little disappointed as I put maximum effort in my last qualifying run. The car felt good, so I don’t know where the small gap to the cars in front comes from. I did not put a foot wrong in all three sessions. I want to thank my team who had repaired the damage from this morning’s incident well, so I could make best use of my car without any problems. The race is a different affair, and I expect us to be in good shape.”

Ron Dennis
"An exciting qualifying with the lap times of the top drivers very close together. Of course, we would have preferred to be on pole; however, in the race we should be looking good with our strategy, consistency and pace. Especially in Monaco you can destroy your race with a smaller fuel load and it is easy to make a wrong decision in that respect. With a good start, and if we can stay out longer, even from the second row it is possible to win here. We have a good strategy and I expect a very hard fought race in hopefully good weather conditions."

Norbert Haug
"Lewis is third, half a tenth of a second away from pole. However, with Heikki lining up alongside him on the second row, both drivers still should be in a position to fight for victory tomorrow."

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F1 Monte Carlo - THU - Practice


Monte Carlo, May 22, 2008 - Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton emerged fastest overall from Thursday's two free practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix. Lewis did 40 laps and posted a time of 1m15.140 which was more than a tenth of a second faster than last year's fastest race lap set by Fernando Alonso in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Heikki completed 39 laps and was fifth fastest with a 1m15.881. In the morning session, Lewis was second fastest with a 1m16.216 (27 laps) with Heikki being 0.044 seconds behind him in third place with a 1m26.248 (28 laps).

Lewis Hamilton
“I simply love Monaco and enjoy every single moment I get to spend on the track. The car felt great almost immediately and I was able to show a good pace from the very beginning. As the circuit evolved throughout both practice sessions we made some good progress with both the set-up and tyre evaluation. I spent the first session on the same set of tyres. There is a long way to go, but I enjoy this so much and we will work hard to continue making progress.”

Heikki Kovalainen
“A positive start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, and I am confident there is still more to come. Towards the end of the second session when I put on a new set of tyres we had made some set-up changes which were not as positive as we thought they would be. In addition I wasn’t pleased with my lap, so I am confident that we will continue to improve in Saturday’s practice session. It’s always great to drive around this track, and it’s almost impossible to describe what it feels like. I can’t wait for the rest of the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Ron Dennis
“Two uneventful practice sessions which is always the best start to a Monaco Grand Prix weekend. We made good progress with both cars and evaluated the tyre options. There is still some work to do but we are looking forward to the weekend and will continue to work hard to add another victory to our 14 Monaco race wins. However it’s not going to be easy as our competition is strong, and the weather might make things more unpredictable.”

Norbert Haug
"A very good first practice day for us and a good job from all our team members. Lewis obviously feels at home in-between the guardrails; he was fast and didn't put a foot wrong today. Heikki's lap times looked good and consistent, too. In Saturday's qualifying we now want to build on the basis we achieved today. The weather forecast predicts rain for the race on Sunday, but on Saturday there is a chance for a dry qualifying."

The results of the day

More photos

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