Archive for November 2008

BREAKING NEWS:Mercedes-Benz to abort V12 engine developing programme

For the ones who think that a classy Mercedes-Benz goes best with a V12 unit under its bonnet, this news could be sort of a nightmare. No more Mercedes-Benz 12-cylinder engines in the near future.

The Stuttgart-based carmaker has recently announced that the M295 V12 programme will be cancelled. M295 is the codename that stays behind the new V12 unit and it would have been the successor of the current M275 unit, that is used today on the S 600, CL 600 and SL 600 versions. Furthermore, for the next period, Mercedes-Benz will update the M275 so as to make it Euro 5 compatible. But for the next generations of the S- and CL-Klasse models, engineers and technicians will develop a brand new, state-of-the-art, high-end technology V8 unit range to replace the V12, that will certainly use a lower cc displacement and twin-turbocharging solution, thus enabling supreme road performance via the high max. output and great max. torque. According to insiders, there will be 4 variants of the same V8 unit, with different outputs, of course. Mercedes-Benz will also continue to extend and improve its engine range with new 4-cylinders inline units plus the exquisite DIESOTTO engine, that may arrive soon, under the bonnet of the 2012/2013 S-Klasse.

So, it's clear that nowadays, given the worldwide economic crisis and the strict regulations when it comes to pollution, carmakers aren't anymore interested in winning the crown for the most powerful V12 unit. Mercedes-Benz is only of them, not to mention that BMW has also phased out the V12 unit for the new 7er, that should have powered a future 760Li version.

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The New Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 gets tested on French terrain

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Daimler AG at IAA Hannover 2008

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Automotive Lean Production Award goes to Mercedes-Benz Plant in Untertürkheim


* Awards presented at third Lean Production trade conference for automotive industry

* Plant wins award for second time

Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 28, 2008 – At the third Automotive Lean Production trade conference, which was held at the Mövenpick Hotel in Stuttgart on November 25 and 26, the managers of the award-winning companies presented their experiences and successes with lean production processes. The Lean Production Awards were also presented at the event. The award in the category Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) went to the automatic transmission production line in the Hedelfingen sub-plant of the Mercedes-Benz production facility in Untertürkheim.

Volker Stauch, head of Powertrain production and director of the Untertürkheim plant, accepted the award jointly with Andreas Engling, head of chassis production. "The outstanding performance of our colleagues in engine production is being recognized through awards like these," said Stauch. "I’m happy for our team. Not only does this award honor their work; it also gives them additional motivation.”

Said Andreas Engling, head of transmission production at the Untertürkheim plant, "Thanks to individual solutions and fast networking, at transmission production we have been able to increase our efficiency by 30% within three years, while continuously improving quality. Now we're going to consolidate these increases in efficiency and improve them by means of rigorous shop floor management."

More than 2,500 men and women work on transmission production at the Hedelfingen sub-plant. The plant's two-millionth seven-speed automatic transmission rolled off the assembly line here last August. This transmission generation, which was launched in 2004 under the sales designation "7-G-TRONIC," is characterized by low fuel consumption and enhanced dynamics. The transmission is offered in six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines for rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

The Automotive Lean Production Award is presented to corporate units that are among the best when it comes to efficiency. The award can be won in five different categories: OEM, International Group, International Medium-sized Company, National Medium-sized Company, and Lean Start-up. This year's award winners, besides Daimler AG, included the automotive supplier Johnson Controls in the category "International Group" and the supplier Kautex Textron in the category "International Medium-sized Company." Last year, the award in the category "OEM" went to the Engines production center of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim.

For the third time in a row, Agamus Consult is cooperating with the trade journal Automobil Produktion to conduct the study "Automotive Lean Production," which this year is focusing on the topic "Leadership and Influence of the Managers." More than 100 companies in Europe participated in this international benchmark study. The questionnaire campaign carried out in the spring of 2008 was followed by on-site validation by Agamus Consult of the companies that had posted the strongest performance up to that time.

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10 years of the Mercedes-Benz minibus


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 27, 2008

* EvoBus first entered the minibus segment in 1998

* Everything from a single source

On 18 October the workforce at Mercedes-Benz MiniBus GmbH celebrated "10 years of the Mercedes-Benz minibus". EvoBus first entered the minibus segment in 1998, and today the 220 employees of this Dortmund-based company produce around 1200 vehicles annually. This gives the company an approx. 7 percent share of the European bus market for vehicles between 3.5 and 5 t gross vehicle weight. MiniBus GmbH combines line-based series production with the advantages of a high content of craftsmanship. Individual minibus solutions in traditional Mercedes-Benz quality are the keystone of the company's success.

In 1998 EvoBus GmbH acquired a 49% shareholding in the bodybuilding company Karl Koch GmbH. Daimler had already been working together with this long-established bodybuilding specialist for more than 30 years. The plant in Mudersbach, Rhineland-Palatinate, became the company headquarters at the same time, and production of minibuses commenced at the Dortmund location in early 2000 under the management of EvoBus. In 2004 the business was taken over completely by EvoBus. To document the company's integration into the Mercedes-Benz brand, it was re-registered under the name "Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH" on 1 February 2004. That same year the headquarters were relocated to Dortmund.

Since 2005 the production capacities at the Dortmund location have been consolidated and expanded by more than 50 %, with production changed over to line assembly owing to the high volume of business. The market launch of the current Sprinter generation from the end of 2006 started the most major model initiative in the history of the Dortmund company. Within just 18 months, a range of 12 minibus models was created in four new model series: the Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Travel, Sprinter City and Sprinter Mobility. The two low-floor bus models Sprinter City 35 and 65 have been particularly successful in achieving market leadership in Europe.

Everything from a single source

The Mercedes-Benz minibus range is based on durable and robust large-scale series production technology, into which the latest developments from the Mercedes-Benz bus and van sectors are regularly incorporated. The basic minibuses, bodies and interior fixtures are produced completely under the aegis of the Mercedes-Benz brand, which means that a Mercedes-Benz minibus customer purchases a fully-finished vehicle from a single source. He therefore benefits from other brand-specific advantages, from the company's development know-how and technological leadership to the Europe-wide After-Sales service which EvoBus provides with OmniPlus.

The worldwide bus business of Daimler AG is consolidated into the corporate division Daimler Buses, with EvoBus GmbH responsible for the European bus business. As a full-line manufacturer, EvoBus has a complete vehicle range extending from minibuses to articulated buses.

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Negotiations on redemption of Chrysler shares more difficult


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 26, 2008

The negotiations between Daimler AG (stock exchange abbreviation DAI) and Cerberus Capital Management LLC on the redemption of Daimler’s 19.9% shareholding in Chrysler Holding LLC (“Chrysler”) and other issues related to Cerberus’s investment in Chrysler have been made considerably more difficult during the last weeks due to exaggerated demands by Cerberus.These demands by Cerberus exceed the value of Cerberus’ investment in Chrysler. For the acquisition of an 80.1% stake in Chrysler, Cerberus had invested USD 7.2 bn. The claims made now go beyond the framework of the contractually agreed possible obligations under representations and warranties. The new claims also include an allegation of conduct outside the ordinary course of business by Daimler during the time between signing and closing of the transaction as well as the allegation of incomplete information about the business. Daimler rejects these absurd allegations and the claims derived therefrom as being completely without substance.

This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views about future events. The words “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “should” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, including an economic downturn or slow economic growth of the global economy, especially in industrialized countries; the effects of the financial crisis which could result in weaker demand for our products particularly in the U.S. and in the European market but also in the emerging markets; changes in currency exchange rates and interest rates; increasing risks of inflation; the introduction of competing products and the possible lack of acceptance of our products or services; price increases for fuel, raw materials and precious metals; the disruption of production due to shortages of materials, labor strikes or supplier insolvencies; a decline in resale prices of used vehicles; the business outlook for Daimler Trucks, which may be affected if the U.S. and Japanese commercial-vehicle markets experience a sustained weakness in demand for a longer period than expected; the business outlook of Chrysler, in which we hold an equity interest, including its ability to successfully implement its restructuring plans; the business outlook of EADS, in which we hold an equity interest, including the financial effects of delays in and potentially lower volumes of future aircraft deliveries; changes in laws, regulations and government policies, particularly those relating to vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety; the resolution of pending governmental investigations and the outcome of pending or threatened future legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties, some of which we describe under the heading “Risk Report” in Daimler’s most recent Annual Report and under the headings “Risk Factors” and “Legal Proceedings” in Daimler’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If any of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions underlying any of our forward-looking statements prove incorrect, then our actual results may be materially different from those we express or imply by such statements. We do not intend or assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made.

About Daimler
Daimler AG, Stuttgart, with its businesses Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Daimler Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses, is a globally leading producer of premium passenger cars and the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the world. The Daimler Financial Services division has a broad offering of financial services, including vehicle financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management. Daimler sells its products in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, continued to make automotive history following their invention of the automobile in 1886. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler and its employees willingly accept an obligation to act responsibly towards society and the environment and to shape the future of safe and sustainable mobility with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products. The current brand portfolio includes the world’s most valuable automobile brand,
Mercedes-Benz, as well as smart, AMG, Maybach, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt, New York and Stuttgart (stock exchange abbreviation DAI). In 2007, the Group sold 2.1 million vehicles and employed a workforce of over 270,000 people; revenue totaled €99.4 billion and EBIT amounted to €8.7 billion. Daimler is an automotive Group with a commitment to excellence, and aims to achieve sustainable growth and industry-leading profitability.

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New: Europe-wide TruckStore warranty and redesign of


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 26, 2008

* TruckStore sells used trucks throughout Europe

* 12-month warranty for the entire powertrain

* Valid in all EU countries for all vehicle makes

* Covers the cost of repairs – without any excess

* with optimised design and navigation functions

* Available in 13 languages – now also in Romanian

* Unique similarity search comes up with the right truck every time

TruckStore, the used vehicle specialist from Mercedes-Benz, is introducing a new Europe-wide warranty and unveiling its redesigned website with optimised navigation functions. As the largest used-vehicle dealer for trucks, TruckStore sells vehicles of all brands, body configurations and ages.

The new TruckStore warranty applies in all EU countries

TruckStore now offers a new TruckStore warranty that applies throughout Europe to all brands. It is available for used trucks of all brands and body configurations in the Gold and Silver categories, providing the vehicle is no more than six years old. The 12-month warranty applies to the entire powertrain and, in the event of damage, covers the full cost of repairs without the customer having to pay any excess. Whether you're looking at German motorways, the Spanish Riviera or the Scandinavian fjords, the TruckStore warranty applies to the whole of Europe with unlimited mileage. Simple, unbureaucratic processing along with a multilingual telephone service ensure the customer receives fast, professional, round-the-clock assistance should the unexpected occur.

Further information and competent advice on the TruckStore warranty can be obtained locally in any of the 31 TruckStore locations or by visiting gets a design makeover and optimised navigation functions

The TruckStore website at has been given a complete makeover: the Internet platform has been entirely redesigned and enables used-truck customers to reach their goal even faster – a vehicle suited to their needs – thanks to improved, intuitive navigation functions. The new website is now even user-friendlier with its clearly structured sections, simple controls and optimised contact functions. In addition to the new design, users also benefit from language and country recognition features. There is a new addition here too, since the website now 'speaks' a 13th language, allowing customers from Romania to easily search for their desired vehicle in their own language. also features a similarity search – an absolute first in used-truck sales: if an initial search only returns a small number of vehicles based on the customer's desired criteria, performs a background search to automatically look for similar vehicles. No matter how complex the body type, wheel arrangement or special equipment, the similarity search knows where to look from an average stock of some 4000 trucks Europe-wide and puts forward a suitable vehicle for the customer. What's more, possible entry errors in the search enquiry are sorted out in a customer-friendly manner. Customers don't have to go to the trouble of searching as does all the work for them. The logic behind this system is based on the extensive expert know-how and experience of the TruckStore sales team.

Thanks to innovations such as the similarity search and the Europe-wide TruckStore warranty, TruckStore is able to meet increasingly demanding customer requirements and continue to extend its lead at the very forefront of innovation.

TruckStore – used trucks and services from Mercedes-Benz

As part of the Mercedes-Benz sales organisation, TruckStore is Europe's largest dealer for used trucks of all brands, ages and body configurations. In addition, TruckStore provides a wide range of established services including financing, leasing and an EU-wide warranty. TruckStore is growing constantly and already boasts 31 locations in 14 European countries, where it sells more than 20,000 vehicles annually. Furthermore, TruckStore can accept trucks made by any manufacturer as payment, whether they be individual vehicles or entire fleets.

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Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - Complete story list

1. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART I

2. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART II

3. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART III

4. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART IV

5. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART V

6. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART VI

7. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART VII

8. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART VIII

9. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART IX

10. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART X

11. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART XI

12. Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART XII

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Unimog more economical than tractors


* Considerably more economical than comparable all-wheel drive tractors

* 18.89 litres per hour instead of 32.07 litres per hour

* Report by the German Agricultural Society (DLG)

Wörth/Groß-Umstadt, Germany, Nov 25, 2008 – According to an expert report by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) in Groß-Umstadt, Hessia, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog proves to be a particularly economical vehicle for e.g. transport tasks and mowing operations. During a transport assignment on level ground, a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 400 with a trailer load of 21 t consumed only 18.89 litres of fuel per hour, compared to a mean consumption for tractors of 32.07 litres per hour. The speed in each case was 50 km/h. Converted into litres per 100 km, this equates to 42.84 l/100 km for the Unimog versus 71.89 l/100 km for an all-wheel drive tractor. If one extrapolates this additional fuel consumption of around 13 l for 10,000 operating hours, the tractor incurs higher operating costs amounting to around € 195,000 (with diesel fuel at € 1.50 /l).

The Unimog is produced in a "plant within a plant". At the major production location in Wörth near Karlsruhe, the largest truck plant in Europe, the product category Special-Purpose Vehicles (PBS) has its own production line where 750 personnel produce around 2000 Mercedes-Benz Unimog per year. The expertise here cover many sectors, as the Unimog is used in a wide variety of sometimes extremely demanding operating areas, whether it is the new U 20, the U 300, U 400 and U 500 implement carriers or the models in the all-terrain U 3000, U 4000 and U 5000 series. The Unimog has now been around for 60 years, and more than 325,000 units have been produced to date.

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Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART XII


Stuttgart, Nov 25, 2008

Reflector: Five Questions for… Paul J. Crutzen

In what places or situations do you get your best ideas?

In all kinds of places and situations, but mostly when I’m relaxing. My brain is always working on something. After I’ve discovered something, I often ask myself why other people haven’t thought of it before.

In which everyday skill would you call yourself an “expert”?

In atmospheric chemistry and climate research. However, my special area is very interdisciplinary, so I come into contact with physicists, chemists, biologists, oceanographers, and space researchers.

Which everyday mystery do you think most urgently requires a scientific explanation or a technical solution?

How does the brain function, and where do good and evil come from? Or, why is the earth’s albedo - the extent to which it diffusely reflects light from the sun - approximately 30%, and how stable is it?

Can you explain why we spend increasing amounts of time sitting in front of our computers even though they’re becoming faster all the time?

Because the time between a question and an answer is becoming ever shorter, and because the number of researchers and the issues they address is constantly increasing.

Do you entrust your best ideas to a machine or jot them down on a piece of paper?

I always begin by noting my ideas down on paper.

Paul J. Crutzen

In 1995 the media praised the Dutch atmospheric chemist Paul J. Crutzen as the “Savior of the Climate” after he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with U.S. scientists Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina. The three researchers had identified chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the cause of the ozone hole. This discovery resulted in a global ban on CFCs. After working as a researcher in Sweden and the USA, Crutzen, who was born in 1933, held the position of Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz.


You can find an interview with Paul J. Crutzen at HTR online. In it, the professor emeritus talks about climate protection issues, the tasks of scientists, and the curiosity that drives scientific research.

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Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART XI


Stuttgart, Nov 25, 2008

Formula Student: College Racers, Team Spirit - Learning life’s lessons on the world’s speedways

Sunday, August 10, 2008, Germany. It’s the dramatic finale of the “Formula Student” race at the Hockenheimring speedway. A track marshal has shown the “Last Lap” sign to the “F0711-3” car. Built by a team from the University of Stuttgart, the vehicle is on the verge of winning the race. Then, the big disappointment: The chain joint in the drive chain breaks just 600 meters before the finish line. The car from Stuttgart - the favorite among the 77 team cars from 19 countries in the 22-kilometer race - is left standing after having posted several single-lap records. All that remains for the Formula Student drivers from Stuttgart to do is get out of the F0711-3 and push it off the track.

The team’s rivals from the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences had suffered a similarly disappointing fate one month earlier: At the Formula Student event in Silverstone, England, their “Stallardo’08” broke down near the end of the race. The sleek car burst out of the pit area at exactly 12 noon - but after four kilometers, engine performance began to dwindle rapidly due to a broken valve spring. Still, the Stallardo’08 was able to get back to the pit area. The fact that even Formula 1 race cars sometimes drop out due to defective components offered little solace to the two student racing teams from Stuttgart and Esslingen.

Constructors’ competition Despite these bitter setbacks, both teams consider their experiences successful. That’s because driving the fastest laps isn’t the only thing that counts in Formula Student, which in Germany has been staged by the Association of German Engineers (vdi) since 2006 and is sponsored by major companies like Daimler. Instead, Formula Student is primarily intended to be an international constructors’ competition for which students design and produce race cars themselves.

The series consists of events lasting several days in places like Hockenheim and Silverstone. During the events the teams present themselves to their fellow competitors, and to a panel of experts from the world of motor sports and from the automobile and automotive supplier industries. The guiding principle here is: The team with the best overall package - not necessarily the fastest car - will emerge as the winner of the competition.

Focus on the cars On the one hand, the jury (which includes ten members from Daimler) assesses each team’s design, cost plan, and vehicle presentation, and then compares these elements with those of its rivals. In addition, the students take their vehicles on to the track to demonstrate how well their creations fare in various disciplines.

The “dynamic disciplines” of Acceleration, Skid Pad, Autocross (one kilometer), and Endurance (22 kilometers) are preceded by a scrutiny phase consisting of a technical examination to determine, among other things, that no gasoline, oil, or other fluids are leaking from the vehicle. Braking power and engine noise levels are also measured, and if a car is found to be too loud it is removed from the track.

The teams stick together Obviously, the participating teams battle for every fraction-of-a-second advantage and every point - but the results here are ultimately of secondary importance. “The main aim is for participants to have fun with Formula Student, and for the teams to share knowledge related to technical and non-technical issues alike,” explains Simon Teufel from the University of Stuttgart team. Unlike professional racing with its secretiveness, Formula Student encourages openness. “We really stick together,” says Joachim Joos of the Esslingen team. “We try to help each other as much as we can, and we sometimes lend other teams spare parts, even engines and generators.”

Visit by a master The Stuttgart and Esslingen teams experienced a big thrill at the Hockenheimring when five-time German Touring Car Masters (DTM) champion Bernd Schneider from the Mercedes-Benz team paid a visit to the pit area. There, Schneider listened to the teams explain the Stallardo’08 and F0711-3, and then hopped behind the wheel of the Stuttgart team’s car from last year for a few quick laps.
The origins of Formula Student date back to 1979, when the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in Detroit, Michigan, staged the first such competition. Today, similar programs can be found in nations around the globe, including in the U.S., the UK, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Japan, and Australia.

Participants in the Formula Student competition take on the assignment of designing and constructing a Formula 1-type race car for a fictitious market of hobby racers, whereby the cost of the prototype must not exceed $25,000. What’s more, it should be possible to build a small batch of four of the vehicles per day. “Handling and suitability for the racetrack are the most important criteria, of course - but we also have to ensure reliability and keep costs under control,” says Joos. “The demanding requirements call for not only specialist knowledge on our part but above all teamwork and creativity.”

A total of 200 student teams currently are participating in Formula Student-like competitions around the world. Such competitions serve as a supplement to the students’ studies by providing a wealth of in-depth, practical experience in key aspects of automotive production. Those who can demonstrate creativity, a willingness to innovate, team spirit, and an ability to deal with practical situations during the competition will be in great shape when the time comes to launch their professional careers.

The effort pays off The tremendous amount of work the Stuttgart team put into preparing for the competitions in 2007 and 2008 has made it the most successful German Formula Student racing team. The expertise the students need comes only in part from the lectures they attend at the university. “We acquire most of the knowledge ourselves by reading all the pertinent literature, conducting tests, and sharing knowledge with other teams,” says Teufel, who is also the team spokesman.

Great dedication The students from Stuttgart face the same challenges encountered by their colleagues at other universities: Their studies take up a great deal of time and don’t leave much room for other interests. Formula Student is not part of the curriculum, for example. Ultimately this means that the students have to attend college for extra semesters. “Each racing season costs you one semester,” says Teufel and Esslingen team spokesman Joos agrees. Daimler is a sponsor of both teams.
This added burden also generates a positive effect, however, as the students learn how to manage their time effectively, an ability that is certain to be worth more than a few points when they take on their first jobs.

“What’s important is the fun and sharing knowledge with the other teams.”
Stuttgart racing team spokesman Simon Teufel

“Not only specialist knowledge is needed, but also teamwork and creativity.”
Esslingen racing team spokesman Joachim Joos

Stuttgart University racing team

With its lightweight design using carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium, the F0711-3 weighs 20 kilos less than its predecessor.
Gasoline engine Four-cylinder inline, CBR 600 RR Honda
Displacement 599 cc
Output 70 kW (11,300 rpm)
Max. torque 64 Nm (10,000 rpm)
Acceleration 3.7 s (0–100 km/h)
Max. speed 123 km/h (regulated)
Transmission 4-speed, sequential
Gearshift electro-pneumatic

Chassis and body
Chassis Double wishbone suspension
Tires Hoosier Racing Slicks
Frame Steel space frame (28 kg), CFC crashbox
Body Carbon fiber skin
Weight 210 kg

Essington College racing team

The Stallardo’08 has a removable rear module that makes it possible to replace the car’s engine and transmission in a matter of minutes.

Gasoline engine Four-cylinder inline, Mahle Special Edition
Displacement 609 cc
Output 60 kW (9,500 rpm)
Max. torque 63 Nm (7,000 rpm)
Acceleration < 4 s (0–100 km/h)
Max. speed 110 km/h (regulated)
Transmission 3-speed, sequential
Gearshift electro-mechanical

Chassis and body
Chassis Double A arm with Hirschmann bearings
Tires Hoosier Racing Slicks
Frame Steel space frame, removable rear module
Body Carbon fiber skin
Weight 250 kg


At HTR Online, you will find a video and three photo features dedicated to the two racing teams and the event at Hockenheimring.
Bernd Schneider pays a visit to the pit area. The winner of several DTM championships took time to learn about both teams’ vehicles. Scenes from the Hockenheimring 2008.

The University of Stuttgart racing team was established in 2005 and has been very busy over the last two years. Scenes from the workshop and test drives.
The team from the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences raced for the first time in 2007. A look at the team at work on a vehicle that boasts a perfect body design.

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Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART X


Stuttgart, Nov 25, 2008

Electronics Quality: Reliability Can Be Planned - The Risk Management team closely monitors hardware quality

It’s easy to fool lay people with probability questions. Walter Unger is good at this too. “Imagine a device whose modules have a failure rate of just one or two in a million,” he says. “Does that sound reliable to you?” Most visitors immediately fall into the trap, answering unsuspectingly that such a device must have an extremely high level of reliability and quality.

But that’s not Unger’s opinion: “Depending on its equipment options, an E or S-Class vehicle from Mercedes-Benz contains between 50 and 60 electronic control devices, which in turn consist of as many as 15,000 modules. If you multiply that by the large number of vehicles driving with these modules on the road, you’ll see that even with a module failure probability in the ppm zone, theoretically a failure could occur in one of the vehicles at any given moment.”

Says Axel Willikens, head of Electric/Electronic Hardware Technology at Daimler Research and Advanced Engineering: “This is the challenge being addressed by the Risk Management project, in which we search for fault causes that individually occur extremely rarely. However, because of the complexity of automotive electronic systems in combination with the high unit volumes involved, such defects have a major impact on the quality and reliability of our vehicles.”

Interdisciplinary approach The multi-disciplinary team of engineers in the Risk Management project support colleagues from passenger car, van, and commercial vehicle development departments throughout the entire product creation process. Such support includes everything from evaluating new technologies that are being used for the first time in the automotive industry to assisting with mass production and assembly operations. It also involves helping with the search to determine the causes of defects in vehicles that have already been delivered. If, despite all the care taken by Daimler engineers, a previously undiscovered defect should occur in a customer’s vehicle, staff need to take action immediately to identify and eliminate the problem.

The team is multi-disciplinary in the sense that it covers the entire range of hardware expertise - from materials science and circuit technology to analyses of the component design and the quality assessment of production processes. One thing the team has to do is draw up test plans in such a manner as to ensure that the complete series of tests includes all examinations relevant to quality and reliability. Team members also need to have a detective-like intuition, as well as sophisticated measuring and testing equipment to uncover extremely well hidden weak spots in a component. It’s also clear, however, that the team of 20 members or so obviously doesn’t have the manpower to ensure the hardware reliability of every component developed for every Daimler brand and model. In fact, the team has no intention of taking this responsibility away from the relevant development departments. Instead, it focuses on tricky cases where developers aren’t sure if they’ve been asking all the right questions, or where they encounter puzzling defects whose causes can’t initially be isolated with certainty.

Evaluating new technologies Sometimes the conditions that lead to hardware failure are created before an electronic device physically exists. For this reason, reliability analyses begin long before lab prototypes or series components are produced. Instead, they start with studies to determine whether a new technology is even suited for tough everyday vehicle applications to begin with. Lithium-ion batteries, for example, have proved their worth for quite some time in mobile electronic devices such as laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones. Plans at Daimler now call for this powerful battery type to be used in vehicles as well (see article on page 32). However, just because a certain type of battery has functioned flawlessly for years in MP3 players and gone through perhaps hundreds of charging cycles doesn’t necessarily mean it will work reliably in a vehicle. For example, consumer electronics are generally designed for narrow temperature ranges. After all, no one is going to run their MP3 player at a temperature of -40 degrees Celsius. In certain situations, vehicles must be able to function properly at such a temperature, however - not to mention the +85 degrees Celsius maximum that vehicle electronic systems need to be able to withstand without any problems.

Heat and cold, and sharp fluctuations between the two, are not the only environmental influences that impact automotive electronic systems, however. Dampness also needs to be considered, as do the vibrations a moving vehicle is exposed to.

That’s why Willikens believes that the evaluation of new technologies is a very important early step for effective risk management: “The development of hybrid and fuel cell drives has created new areas, like high-voltage electronics, that automakers need to examine. Our job here is to define a component’s stress profile as precisely as possible; otherwise, nasty surprises will be inevitable,” he says. Stress profiles define the extreme environmental parameters that a module and a complete electronic component may be exposed to chemically, thermally, and mechanically. Clearly, such stresses could trigger component failure in the event of insufficient robustness. The most important aspect to consider here is that in many cases, it’s not the intensity of one individual stress factor that causes the failure but instead the concurrence of several separate factors.

Eliminating errors at the conceptual stage Risk Management is also responsible for taking measures at the electronic component design stage that lay the foundation for its reliability later on. Willikens and his team consistently emphasize the importance of this to the developers. Says Unger: “It’s completely natural for developers to focus primarily on how a component should function. But just as interesting as the question of what a component can do is the question of how reliably it can do it.”

Two steps are required in this phase of the risk management process. The first involves examining each component module to determine whether in principle it will be capable of withstanding the normal stresses in a vehicle. In practice, this amounts to only using modules that bear the “Approved for Automobiles” seal of quality. In the second step, the specific demands regarding reliability are defined: What types of stresses and environmental conditions will the component be exposed to? How frequently will it be in operation, and for how long at a time? These are questions that have to be asked, because the end of the process must result in a customized test plan that ensures the specific test set will adequately test all the stresses that can arise. According to Unger, many years of experience here have led to the development of a standard kit consisting of 22 individual tests that have proved themselves over time in terms of reliability. Not all of these tests always have to be used, however. Conversely, it’s sometimes advisable to check particularly critical stress loads in a supplemental test stage.

The type of component will also influence the nature of the tests. Willikens’ team sets the bar very high for safety-critical components, for example. Here, the test plan is designed in such a manner as to reflect 15 years of automobile operation, whereas ten years is considered sufficient for non-safety components. In the case of mechatronic components, test sets for the electronic modules are designed in line with the anticipated service life of the mechanical parts.

A critical look at structural design The third stage of the risk management process is reached when the developer or component supplier has structurally designed the component and built initial lab prototypes. Both the circuit design and the prototype are thoroughly examined here. Among other things, lab prototypes undergo stress tests to determine whether they actually meet Daimler’s reliability standards. “This testing phase is extremely important because if a design error isn’t caught here but instead after series production of the component has begun, eliminating it can prove to be a very expensive affair,” says the Risk Management team’s materials specialist, Jürgen Freytag. “Because in such a situation, series production would have already started, things would have to be put right under tremendous time pressure.”

Achilles’ heel production Practical experience with automotive electronic systems has shown that most hardware failures are caused by quality fluctuations, or even inadequate production quality. Freytag estimates that this aspect accounts for roughly 70 percent of all hardware problems. The two other causes - excessive stress and use of the wrong materials - are responsible for 20 and ten percent of such failures, respectively. As a result, these factors are much less of a problem, according to Freytag. “That’s why we also take an extremely close look at production processes with colleagues from the quality assurance departments at the respective divisions,” says Willikens. And, as Freytag adds, “Sometimes, production problems result from changes that initially appear only marginal, such as a transfer of semiconductor packaging production from the U.S. to the Far East.”

From the road to the microscope The worst defects are those that don’t become apparent until after thousands of vehicles are on the road. This results in breakdowns that not only annoy customers but also have a double negative effect on automakers, as they damage a manufacturer’s reputation and increase warranty and goodwill costs. The expertise of the Risk Management team is especially in demand here, and its members act in these cases as expert appraisers who coordinate communication between the affected departments within the Group and at the supplier companies. Deciding who is at fault is just one of the goals here, although it’s one that can have huge consequences - for example, if it’s determined that a supplier production problem is responsible for the component failure. Even more important, however, is the analysis of the cause of the error, since nothing can be done to fix the problem until the reason for its occurrence can be identified with certainty. According to Willikens, the somewhat tricky role the team plays here has so far been accepted by all parties without any conflicts - and he views this as a clear indication that his people are accepted as objective “error detectives,” so to speak. “In the end, it’s not us who’s making the call; it’s the results of our analyses, and you simply can’t argue with the facts they produce,” he says.
“We search for fault causes that individually occur extremely rarely."
Axel Willikens, head of Electric/Electronic Hardware Technology at Daimler Research
“Failure to catch an error before series production has begun can be expensive.”
Jürgen Freytag, materials researcher on the Risk Management project team

let’s talk

90 sec. with…

Prof. Bharat Balasubramanian

Prof. Bharat Balasubramanian has been the head of Daimler’s Group Research and Advanced Engineering Electric/Electronic, IT, and Process department since March 2006. Balasubramanian has actually worked for the company in various positions since 1977. The 57-year-old engineer is also a lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin, which made him an honorary professor for CAD/CAM and Computational Analysis in 1998.

Automotive electronic components and their software are becoming ever more voluminous and complex. Are defects occurring more frequently as a result? Theoretically, yes. However, we ensure quality at Mercedes-Benz by implementing preventive measures, such as the use of standardized component specifications, systematic change management systems, hardware-in-the-loop test rigs (HIL), and comprehensive testing procedures.

What challenges do you believe Daimler will face in the future when installing E/E components in vehicles for the first time? New E/E components must initially be subjected to systematic assessment analyses that focus on the causes of faults and their effects on vehicle functionality. Experts refer to this as FMEAs. The components must also go through extensive validation.

We ensure the reliability of particularly innovative technologies using functional, stability, and durability tests based on a combination of HIL test rig examinations, component tests, field tests, component maturity assessments, and customer-oriented driving tests.

How exactly has the company - and particularly Research and Advanced Engineering - prepared itself for these additional tasks? We’re currently expanding our expertise in the areas of E/E hardware, E/E software, and reliability technology. In addition, we’ve assumed responsibility for series production in highly innovative fields on behalf of other Group departments, such as Global Parts and Services. Fuel cell system diagnosis is a good example of a highly innovative field in which we are active.

Is the idea of zero-defect electronics in motor vehicles a desirable but unattainable utopia, or is it a realistic possibility for the future? We need to consistently focus our processes, test systems, and safeguarding procedures on the goal of zero defects. Only then will we be able to ensure that highly complex systems achieve a very low probability of failure in the field, and thus achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

What law better describes the behavior of electrical and electronic components in everyday operations: Ohm’s Law or Murphy’s Law? Murphy’s Law always applies in day-to-day reality, while Ohm’s Law is only valid for electric/electronic systems.

Risk management in five steps

The Risk Management project’s electronic component quality control activities cover the entire product development process and don’t end at the factory gates.

1. Evaluating the new
New technologies never before used in automobiles must be thoroughly assessed with regard to their performance under tough everyday conditions.
2. Concept analysis
As early as the component design stage, the foundation must be laid for its reliable functioning in an automobile for up to 15 years.
3. Circuit design
The structural design plan and all lab samples and prototypes are thoroughly tested to determine whether all required specifications have been met.
4. Production
Most hardware defects are caused by production errors, which is why quality control activities focus on manufacturing processes.
5. Field analysis
Component failures in customer vehicles are not only annoying; they are often also costly. The team’s expertise is therefore especially in demand here.


The visual focus of this article is on photomicrographs of electronic components that show how the Risk Management project team isolates the causes of faults by taking an extremely close look at the materials that make up the component - all the way down to their microscopic structure.

Another aspect of the team’s work consists of stress tests in the lab that take the form of service life and reliability evaluations. These simulate mechanical, thermal, and chemical stresses that electronic components will be exposed to during their long period of use in an automobile. The component or module in question can thus be “aged,” thereby bringing to the fore all possible types of damage, which are then made visible and analyzed under a microscope. HTR online is running a photo feature that highlights the engineering “torture instruments” used for this purpose. Some of these, like the “Shaker,” have harmless sounding names. Others, like the “Temperature Shock Test Cabinet,” sound a little more ominous.

Another report to be found on HTR online describes the special challenges associated with extremely accelerated aging tests designed to reproduce in the lab the stresses encountered by components over a service life of ten or even 15 years on the road.

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