Archive for February 2009

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Setra S 411 HD as a visitor bus at the Daimler AG test track


Neu-Ulm/Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 26, 2009

* Compact touring coach takes visitors through the vertical curve

* Purchasing a model bus helps to support the children’s charity organisation Star Care

Visitors to the Daimler test track in Untertürkheim are now carried in a Setra S 411 HD. The 10.16 m long touring coach from the TopClass 400 series is even able to negotiate the high-speed vertical curve thanks to its compact dimensions and short overhangs. At a speed of 100 km/h, passengers are subjected to centrifugal forces amounting to twice their own bodyweight on this curve – a very novel experience. The vehicle is powered by an OM 501 LA V6-engine developing 300 kW (408 hp).

Star Care e. V. supports needy children in the Stuttgart region

The attractive "helping hands" emblem on the shell-grey touring coach was created by the Setra Design Center in Neu-Ulm, and identifies the vehicle as one operated by the Star Care charity organisation. Star Care is an initiative by employees of Daimler AG and several partner companies ( The association supports social projects for sick and needy children in the Stuttgart region, for example with school meals or medical technology for the child oncology unit of the local Olga Hospital.

Purchasing a model of the S 411 HD supports Star Care

The new visitor bus is also available as a model. Purchasing the 1:87-scale collector’s model enables anybody to support Star Care, as five Euro of the purchase price goes to Star Care e. V. in Stuttgart. The model is available from the Online Shop at and costs 19 Euro.

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Successful conclusion to exhibition of the Daimler Art Collection in Singapore


* More than 121,000 visitors in three months

* Daimler Educational Program with 6,000 children from kindergartens and schools

* Exhibition of 130 works by artists from Albers to Warhol

Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 27, 2009 - In the past three months, more than 121,000 visitors have seen the exhibition “Is it tomorrow yet? – Highlights from the Daimler Art Collection (1926 – 2006)” at the Singapore Art Museum. This exhibition in the context of the world tour by the Daimler Art Collection was the first large overview of Western abstract art in dialogue with international contemporary art to be seen in Singapore.

An important element of the world tour is the Daimler Educational Program for children of kindergarten and school age. In advance of each exhibition, art historians, teachers and museum staff are trained by the Daimler Art Collection team in the preparation of museum tours suitable for children. With this training and the workbook “The ABC of the Daimler Art Collection,” which is provided to the children free of charge, Daimler AG is making a contribution to cultural education in the countries of the tour. In this way, 6,000 children were encouraged to take an interest in art in Singapore alone.

The exhibition included important works from various art movements ranging from modern art from southwest Germany to concrete art and constructivism. There were also works of art on the subject of the automobile as well as areas dedicated to readymade art and international media art. The most important artists included in the show were Josef Albers, Michael Heizer, Nam June Paik, Sylvie Fleury and Andy Warhol.

The worldwide tour of the Art Collection started in 2003 with 130 works in the Museum für Neue Kunst (Museum for New Art) in Karlsruhe, and since then has exhibited in Detroit, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Tokyo, São Paulo, Mallorca and Madrid.

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500th Setra for PostBus


Stuttgart/Neu-Ulm, Germany, Feb 27, 2009

* Milestone vehicle is a S412 UL slated for service on mountainous roads

* Setra delivered its first bus to Swiss Post in 1976 – an S 120 A

* A partnership based on trust and always shaped by mutual respect

The Swiss company PostBus has accepted delivery of its 500th Setra bus. The delivery of the milestone vehicle, an S 412 UL of the MultiClass 400 series, is a high point of a partnership between the Swiss bus service operator and the Ulm-based bus brand that has proven its strength for more than 30 years.

At a festive ceremony in the Setra Customer Center in Neu-Ulm to mark the official handover, Holger Suffel, Managing Director of Sales at Daimler Buses, emphasized that the two companies are linked not only by a long tradition but also by the same philosophy: “This refusal to compromise our standards for quality, safety, efficiency, comfort, and environmental awareness benefits you and your passengers and ensures success and competitiveness for the long term.”

Werner Blatter, the member of the PostBus management team responsible for logistics, also has always valued Setra as a loyal and innovative partner: “The great foundation of trust and mutual respect is also the basis for a good working relationship in the future.”

The “cornerstone” for this solid basis was put in place in 1976 with the delivery of two 2.30-meter-wide S 120 A models and one S 140 ES model of the Setra 100 series.

Swiss Post: serving more than 97 million passengers a year

The good cooperation with Swiss Post has even led to Setra’s development of the S 213 UL, an 11.30-meter-long, high-floor bus that was perfectly suited for use on narrow alpine roads. Since 1987 a total of 155 units of this special vehicle type alone have been delivered.

And thanks to its relatively short wheelbase and compact dimensions, the 10.80-meter-long milestone S 412 UL bus also is an attractive alternative for operators of bus lines in the Swiss mountains, where the roads often allow little leeway for traffic.

Three years ago PostBus celebrated its centennial. Over these decades, the yellow buses have become almost a symbol of the Swiss confederation to people from around the world. About 230 private bus operators provide service on an extensive network of routes for the long-established Swiss company. PostBus transports more than 97 million passengers a year between locations in this network, which covers a total of 10,000 kilometers.

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Mercedes-Benz First To Offer Leasing In China


Beijing/Berlin, China/Germany, Feb 26, 2009 – Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance China (MBAFC) will become the first auto finance company to offer vehicle leasing in China. After entering the Chinese market with financing and insurance offerings in November 2005, MBAFC – a subsidiary of Berlin-based Daimler Financial Services AG – now completed its product range by adding leasing to its services.

„We welcome the government’s decision to enable auto finance companies to offer leasing in China, as we believe this will have a positive impact on the Chinese vehicle market,” said Ulrich Walker, Chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia. “In this economic environment, we want to give consumers as many financial tools as possible to be able to drive a Mercedes-Benz, whether it's a purchase, vehicle financing or leasing. While leasing is very new in China, we believe it has potential to grow over the mid-term, especially as consumers understand more about the flexible and attractive financing options.”

Starting in March, Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance Chinawill begin by focusing on corporate, fleet leasing to companies primarily in Beijing, and begin to expand the offer to consumers through its retail outlets throughout China. MBAFC’s leasing program will also cover insurance.

“By leasing a vehicle, consumers will be able to drive a Mercedes-Benz, leverage their existing money in other ways, and have the flexibility of changing to a new car more frequently,” said Wolf Bay, President and CEO of MBAFC. “Our competitive rates and additional services, such as insurance, provide customers a ‘one-stop shopping’ solution to their transportation needs, and we believe this service has potential to further develop. We are thankful for the China Banking and Regulatory Commission for its ongoing support. ”

Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance China provides a number of vehicle financing and insurance options for Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and vans in China. At year-end the company managed a contract volume of €328 million.

Daimler Financial Services is a leading contender in the financial services industry by providing tailor-made leasing and financing solutions to promote the vehicle sales of the Daimler Group’s brands worldwide. With a comprehensive product portfolio including financing, leasing, insurance concepts and fleet-management services, Daimler Financial Services is responsible for a contract volume of €63 billion. Worldwide more than every third new group vehicle is financed or leased by Daimler Financial Services. Working in close cooperation with the Daimler vehicle brands, Daimler Financial Services strengthens customer loyalty to the group’s brands and generates new earnings potential for the group. Operating in more than 40 countries, the Berlin-based company has a workforce of more than 7,100 employees worldwide.

Additional information about Daimler Financial Services is available on the Internet: .

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SPY - 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLC - Faulty electrics lead to an unplanified halt


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smart fortwo special model "edition limited three": Spring into spring with smart


Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 25, 2009

A special edition of the smart fortwo will be celebrating its world premiere at the 79th Geneva Motor Show. The "edition limited three" boasts exclusive, elegant paintwork and a spring-like fresh interior design concept. Thanks to mhd technology as standard, the cult two-seater car combines a chic appearance with outstanding environmental friendliness. The smart fortwo "edition limited three" will be produced as a limited series.

smart is welcoming the spring with a special series featuring melon green metallic paintwork and extensive equipment, thus continuing the tradition of smart special models. The new special finish of the spring model injects a fresh shot of colour for the new season and harmonises with the tridion safety cell. The 15 inch alloy wheels in a sporty six-spoke design fitted with tyres measuring 175/55 R15 at the front and 195/50 R15 at the rear are a further eye-catching feature. The exterior look is rounded off by aluminium-effect "limited three" logos in the mirror triangle.

The interior boasts an unusual, fresh design concept in terms of colours and materials. Here, the melon green metallic colour scheme is continued in an exclusive fabric design with shades of brown creating a stylish contrast, for example on the seats and in the door trim. The instrument panel featuring dark brown leather-effect details also continues the fresh play of colours that contrast with the green fabric. The 3-spoke sports steering wheel with steering wheel gearshift is covered with dark brown leather, as is the gear knob. Shimmering matt silver trim parts round off the harmonious impression of the interior.

The new edition, which is available as a coupé and a cabriolet, is based on the "passion" equipment variant. Among other features it comes with softouch automatic gear programme, electric windows, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, and for the coupé a panoramic roof with sunblind. The standard equipment of the "edition limited three" also includes dashboard instruments and the radio 9. Power steering, heated seats, a lockable glove compartment and the smart sound system with five high quality loud speakers and a smart MP3 interface are optionally available.

The special series of the new smart fortwo also places a focus on "green" when it comes to the environment thanks to micro hybrid drive (mhd) technology as standard with an intelligent and user-friendly automatic start/stop system. The control electronics shut down the 52kW /71 hp engine as soon as the driver brakes and the vehicle's speed falls below 8 km/h - for example when approaching traffic lights.

The engine starts again in the fraction of a second when the driver releases the brake pedal. The system is perfectly tailored to the automated manual transmission of the smart fortwo and is fully automatic - the driver does not need to do any clutchwork or gear shifting. The automatic start/stop system reduces the combined fuel consumption by approximately eight percent (NEDC consumption per 100 km: coupé: 4.4 litres, cabrio: 4.5 litres). It also reduces the CO2 emissions to 104 grams per kilometre for the coupé and 106 grams per kilometre for the cabrio version. Fuel savings of up to almost 20 percent are possible in urban traffic with frequent stop-and-go situations.

The special model "edition limited three" costs €15,470 as a coupé and €18,510 as a cabrio (German list price incl. VAT).

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Election of members of the Supervisory Board representing the shareholders


Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 25, 2009

The Supervisory Board of Daimler AG has nominated Lloyd G. Trotter and Gerard Kleisterlee as new members of the Supervisory Board representing the shareholders. Trotter and Kleisterlee will be candidates for election to the Supervisory Board at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in Berlin on April 8, 2009. They will succeed to William A. Owens and Dr. Mark Wössner, who will step down from the Supervisory Board. In addition to the two new candidates, three existing Supervisory Board members, Dr. Manfred Schneider, Bernhard Walter and Lynton R. Wilson will be proposed for reelection. A shorter period of office of two years will be proposed for Schneider and Wilson.

Details of the candidates:

Mr. Gerard Kleisterlee (born in 1946) has been President and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics since 2001. He has led the successful repositioning of Philips over the past decade, which included a strong focus on strengthening the brand positioning and increasing brand value. He brings extensive experience to the board as one of the most seasoned European business leaders with global operational experience. He is chairman of the competitiveness working group of the European Round Table of Industrialists and a member of the Asia Business Council. Kleisterlee currently holds a board position at De Nederlandsche Bank N.V..

Dr. Manfred Schneider (born in 1938) has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG since 1998 (since 1993 of Daimler-Benz AG, subsequently DaimlerChrysler AG). Since April 2002, he has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG. Dr. Schneider has the advantage of great financial expertise, and has excellent knowledge of corporate management and corporate governance due to his many years of experience on the boards of various companies.

Dr. Manfred Schneider currently holds other supervisory board positions at Bayer AG (Chairman), Linde AG (Chairman), RWE AG and TUI AG.

Mr. Lloyd G. Trotter (born in 1945) was Vice Chairman General Electric, President & CEO of the General Electric Group’s GE Industrial division (annual revenue of USD 35 billion) from 2006 to 2008. Due to his previous experience, Trotter has outstanding knowledge about the series production of technically advanced products, the coordination of worldwide production networks and global procurement, and technology management. He also has good market knowledge of the NAFTA region, Europe and Asia. In addition to his business duties, he also shows great commitment to social issues, for example as a founding member of the GE African American Forum. Trotter currently holds other board positions at PepsiCo Inc. and Textron Inc.

Mr. Bernhard Walter (born in 1942) has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG since 1998 and was Speaker of the Executive Board of Dresdner Bank AG from 1998 until 2000. In addition to his comprehensive financial expertise, Walter also has extensive knowledge of the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, South America and Africa, as well as many years of experience on the boards of various companies.

Walter is currently also a member of the supervisory boards of Bilfinger Berger AG (Chairman), Deutsche Telekom AG, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA and Hypo Real Estate Holding AG (since November 17, 2008).

Mr. Lynton R. Wilson (born in 1940) has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG since 1998 (and previously of Chrysler Corporation since 1994). Born in Canada, from 1998 until 2000 he was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. In addition to his extensive industrial experience, Wilson has great expertise in the field of information and communication technology and a deep knowledge of the NAFTA market.

Wilson is also Chairman of the Board of CAE Inc. and a member of the Canadian Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service.

With its election proposals, the Supervisory Board is following the recommendations of the Nomination Committee, which is chaired by Supervisory Board Chairman Dr. Manfred Bischoff and has prepared its election recommendations on the basis of a target profile for each Supervisory Board position to be occupied. This target profile defines the qualifications and experience required for the members representing the shareholders and are derived from the business model of Daimler AG. An additional important criterion is that the majority of the members of the Supervisory Board representing the shareholders are independent.

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Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA: Setting a course for the future: The "Long-Term Production Structure" of 1978


Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 25, 2009

* Bremen becomes site of second assembly plant for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars

* Clear line drawn between passenger car and commercial vehicle production

* New products require new production capacities

Trucks and cars differ fundamentally in many ways. They are so different that it is completely natural today to manufacture them in separate facilities and not in one common plant. This strict separation exists at Daimler AG since 1978: The Long-Term Production Structure, as it was dubbed internally at the company, determined in March 1979 that trucks would be manufactured solely in Wörth and Düsseldorf and passenger cars in Sindelfingen and Bremen. Though a few things have changed since then – the Rastatt production facility was added, for example – in outline this division still applies today.

The new capacity planning became necessary because the Group made a great leap forward in the late 1960s and early 1970s: from 1965 to 1973 Group sales almost tripled from DM 4.9 billion to DM 13.8 billion. In that period commercial vehicle production alone rose more than threefold from 73,000 to 216,000 units to make Daimler-Benz the world's biggest truck maker. And in the area of passenger cars, too, a number of things happened in the 1970s. The Mercedes-Benz 190, a compact car, was in the pipeline; the brand's first estate came out; and the first oil crisis showed the motor vehicle manufacturer in 1973 that flexibility can permanently secure employment.

The range diversifies

The medium-term planning of car manufacturer Daimler-Benz at the beginning of the 1970s provided for raising car output from 340,000 units in 1972 to 360,000 units in 1976. But conditions in Sindelfingen were getting too cramped for that. Though the plant had been designed for expansion, for the Board of Management it was nevertheless questionable whether in the long run Sindelfingen could handle further capacity increases – not for lack of space, but because the plant was not supposed to exceed a certain scale that would strain the region's infrastructure. Skilled manpower was hard to come by in the Stuttgart region at the time.

The Board of Management was agreed that the decision to expand capacities had to be made in good time. The main issue to be settled was where such a new "satellite plant" should be built. Possibilities for further production sites were the commercial vehicle plants Bremen, Harburg and Kassel, but capacities existing elsewhere, for example at Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz (KHD) in Ulm or NSU in Neckarsulm, also were taken into consideration.

A solution for the longer term was a necessity also because the Board of Management thought aloud on more than one occasion about a more compact Mercedes-Benz to put the brand on a broader basis.

The company finally went ahead with the idea for a small member of the model family not least of all because in 1975, as a consequence of the first oil crisis in 1973/74, the American Congress adopted stringent fleet-average fuel economy laws to reduce energy consumption. As matters stood then, the larger models from Daimler-Benz were unable to comply quickly enough with these strict rules governing the corporate average fuel economy of the imported model range.

The first oil crisis in the modern world began in autumn 1973 when out of political considerations the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced it would curb output by around five percent. The intention of the OPEC countries was to put pressure on the oil-dependent West to dissociate itself from Israel in the so-called Yom Kippur War, the fourth Arab-Israeli war in the course of the Middle East conflict.

On 17 October 1973 the oil price rose from about three US dollars per barrel (159 litres) to more than $5 – a 70 percent increase. During the next year the world oil price rose to more than $12 per barrel. In the Federal Republic of Germany the DM 17 billion increase in the cost of oil imports intensified the economic crisis, leading to a marked rise in short-time work, unemployment, social expenditures and business bankruptcies.

Despite the crisis, Group management thought in long-range terms and deemed it imperative to undertake a limited expansion of capacity. On the other hand, the Board decided to keep the risk as small as possible at first and raise capacity in Sindelfingen to 30,000 cars per month for 1977.

Tourism and Transport

In the debate over the enlargement of the model range in the early 1970s another idea was developed: the addition of a high-quality estate model, which suggested itself because of the sharp competition particularly in the sector of lower-priced medium-size cars. The five-door "all-purpose saloon" with folding rear seats for "Tourism and Transport" or "Touring" (hence the letter T in the German model designation later) could be developed relatively quickly and appealed to new target groups.

But there were also reservations about an estate model: the body shape was too suggestive of applications in the crafts and industry. But during the gestation of the W 123 series, market research showed that there was a distinct demand for a sporty, luxurious car suitable for recreational purposes. The Board of Management did not close its ears to this argument and gave the go-ahead for the project in 1975. At the 1977 International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main, Mercedes-Benz presented three new body variants for the 123 series in one go: the Coupé, the Saloon with long wheelbase, and for the first time in brand history a factory-built Estate.

Bremen moves centre stage

A new factory for the Estate would have been too expensive since an annual output of no more than 24,000 units was anticipated. So the Daimler-Benz Board of Management took more and more kindly to the idea of building the new member of the model family in Bremen. In addition, it allowed them to test whether the site was suitable for car production, and at the same time they could continue manufacturing light vans there by purchasing additional land. Werner Niefer, production chief at Daimler-Benz AG since 1976, reminded his colleagues that the Hanomag light van produced in Bremen was scheduled to be replaced by a new Daimler-Benz development in mid-1977 anyway, and that they should return production of the six-ton trucks to Wörth, since the Wörth factory was suffering from the weakening of the Middle East boom. So Bremen had unused capacities.

On the other hand, the issue of corporate image did cause some worry to the Board of Management: would the Estate pass for a "genuine" Mercedes-Benz if it did not come from Swabia, but North Germany? The doubts finally were dispelled: The Estate impressed solely with its advantages and persuaded the customers. The Bremen workforce came to Stuttgart to learn, one might say, Swabian thoroughness there. It was helpful that some of the skilled Bremen workers were holdovers from the Borgward days at the Bremen plant and definitely knew how to make cars. On
4 November 1976 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the Estate was to be built in Bremen; series production began there in April 1978.

From truck production to car production

Daimler-Benz had acquired the Bremen plant in 1969/70 upon taking over truck maker Hanomag-Henschel-Fahrzeugwerke GmbH (HHF) from Rheinische Stahlwerke AG, the Rheinstahl Group. Heavy van production in Bremen was discontinued in 1973. Only light van manufacture remained, but did not suffice to use the facilities to capacity. The situation worsened when the demand for light vans drastically declined in 1974 as a result of the oil crisis: a total of 34,662 vehicles were produced in Bremen in 1973, whereas in 1974 the total came to a mere 22,685. On top of that, competitors like Volkswagen could equip their vans in this class with car engines from large-scale production, which was far more cost-effective.

Since Daimler-Benz was unable either to agree with Volkswagen on cooperation in the production and sale of light vans, or to sell the plant, the obvious thing was to think about manufacturing cars in the Hanseatic city. However, the first impression was not particularly flattering for the Northerners – to the Board of Management the Ulm plant initially appeared more suitable than either Düsseldorf or Bremen.

This opinion changed during the following year. The stamping plant in Bremen, it was said, made for a tighter production link with the Sindelfingen parent plant than the so-called satellite plant originally planned for Ulm. And so the Board of Management agreed to have the possibilities and economic prerequisites for the gradual establishment of a car assembly facility at the Bremen plant examined.

Eight weeks later the results came in: If van production were to be discontinued in Bremen, it would be possible to build around 200 cars per day there without having to erect new buildings or buy additional land. The condition was that all parts be supplied in full. If land already under lease was used and a little more land purchased, the manufacturer could turn out 500 cars a day and think about an additional assembly facility and a paint shop.

The Long-Term Production Structure

At the end of the 1970s, the motor vehicle manufacturer, who meanwhile had become the world's biggest truck maker und was seriously considering rounding off its car model range at the lower end, was intent on giving a final and farsighted answer to the open questions about the topic of capacities.

On 13 December 1977 the Board of Management decided to give fundamental consideration to the future production and programme structure at a meeting at the start of the new year, aimed at drawing up a "long-term production structure" (LPO). The term (in some documents it is also referred to as "longer-term production structure") was used from then on, for instance in documents discussing the options for the various models based on the parameters unit volume, types, commercial vehicle production and passenger car production by locations. The LPO served to reorganise the production duties of the German plants in an extensive way, transferring tasks in such a manner that steady employment could be ensured everywhere.

At the beginning of 1978 the Board of Management discussed how the LPO could do justice to the criteria balanced employment of capacities, improvement of flexibility versus changes in the market (and thus in the production programme), cost optimisation, as well as feasibility in technical respects (development and production) and with regard to manpower and economic efficiency, while observing a time window. Since vans also were being manufactured in Düsseldorf at the time, the Board decided to concentrate van production there and change Bremen into a pure car plant. Expansion of the Sindelfingen workforce was to be limited if possible, and truck assembly was to be concentrated at now just two locations.

The topic of a smaller Mercedes-Benz, which finally got the green light from the Board of Management in autumn 1978 after long and careful consideration of the cost, the benefits and the anticipated market acceptance, now fit nicely into the long-term production planning. If Bremen was not going to build trucks anymore, there was enough capacity there to produce at least a part of the new W 201 series, which later would be put on the market as the Mercedes-Benz 190. Moreover, Bremen with its proximity to the sea was an ideal German location for exporting the smaller Mercedes to America by ship. The then head of production and future chairman of the Board of Management, Werner Niefer, said in retrospect in an interview with Manager Magazin in 1983 that from the start he viewed the production of the Estate model in Bremen more or less as preparation for the planned production of the small Mercedes-Benz: "If we pass that test well, we can locate a second car facility there."

Looking back, one can hardly believe that the idea of a more compact Mercedes-Benz had a relatively hard time finding acceptance on the Board of Management. In the 190 model launched on 8 December 1982, the brand managed to field a very successful compact model. All in all, by the time production of the series ceased in 1993, around 1.9 million units were produced of this C-Class predecessor, regarded as the foundation stone of the car manufacturer's strategic model initiative in the 1990s.
The LPO eventually was adopted in March 1979 – a year in which production at Daimler-Benz reached 421,000 cars and 240,000 trucks. Daimler-Benz now had four assembly plants in Germany: Sindelfingen and Bremen for cars, Wörth and Düsseldorf for trucks. The manufacturer had more flexibility to respond to the fluctuations in demand, capacities were better utilised on the whole, expenses were saved, and steadiest possible employment was ensured at the German sites. In addition, Sindelfingen and Bremen were so tightly interlinked that well-balanced employment was guaranteed in the event of shifts in demand among the different car models.

LPO has proved a success for 30 years

Besides the four "LPO assembly plants", Sindelfingen and Bremen for cars, Wörth and Düsseldorf for trucks, today the Mercedes-Benz A- and B-Class are built in Rastatt, Mercedes-Benz minibuses in Dortmund, the Vario and Sprinter in Ludwigsfelde, and buses and coaches in Mannheim (part of the coordinated production system of EvoBus). The other domestic plants like Berlin, Hamburg, Gaggenau, Rastatt, Untertürkheim, Kassel, Mannheim and Ulm are important component suppliers. Since the start of production of the first Estate model in spring 1978, more than five million Mercedes-Benz cars now have been built in Bremen. Today the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (Saloon and Estate), CLK (Coupé and Cabriolet), SLK, SL and GLK are manufactured in North Germany.

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Mercedes-Benz Inaugurates New Manufacturing Plant in Pune, India


Pune, India, Feb 24, 2009

* 100 acres of land, capacity for future expansion

* Among the fastest green-field operations ever to be created

* State-of-the-art facility

* Independent facilities for passenger cars and commercial vehicles

* Flexible manufacturing processes will allow the production of other
Mercedes-Benz products on the same assembly line

Mercedes-Benz India today formally inaugurated its new manufacturing plant in Chakan, Pune. The new facility was completed within 13 months from the start of construction - among the fastest green-field projects to be created. With an area of 100 acres of land and independent assembly facilities for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the infrastructure was created to address future expansion needs, underscoring the long-term growth plans of the company in India.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Chairman of the Board, Mercedes-Benz India: “A strong brand, committed employees, strong after-sales service network. A growing market, increasing demand and exciting products: these are the ingredients of Mercedes-Benz’ India story. And it all happens here - at the new home of Mercedes-Benz in India.”
Quality has all along been the strength of Mercedes-Benz India, and the new plant is set to take this success story even further. It successfully passed all quality gates within the first month of shifting production, and features some of the most advanced equipment available worldwide. While the plant was designed to manufacture the current local-production portfolio of the Mercedes-Benz C-, E-, and S-Class, it is also flexible enough to accommodate additional production of other models from the Mercedes-Benz model range on the same assembly line, if required by future market demand.

Prof. Dr. Eberhard Haller, Director of the Board, Mercedes-Benz India: “As the Plant Manager of the largest Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, I am impressed by the flexibility and the potential for expansion of this facility. It was created with a long-term perspective in mind, and I am sure that we will see many new products roll off the assembly line - both from the passenger car and the commercial vehicle segments.”

Dr. Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, added: “Over the years we have grown - and from the 600 units back in 1999, we sold 3,600 units in 2008, with growth doubling consistently in the last three years. I am convinced that this facility marks the beginning of a new era for the company in India - and today is a red-letter day for us all”.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Mercedes-Benz India has engaged in socially focused initiatives as well. Jobs in agriculture, eco-friendly mobility and wasteland recovery - these are the three points that the Jatropha biodiesel project focuses upon. The Mobile Kids road safety program and the Automotive Mechatronics program focus upon teaching and education to create citizens of a better tomorrow. The company is also helping disadvantaged children with scholarships and aid to help them continue basic and further education. Its association with NGO Cleft is also extending surgical and medical aid and assistance to disadvantaged families in Gujarat and Maharashtra. On this occasion, Mercedes-Benz India also announced its support towards re-building classrooms and providing assistance towards better facilities for students of a school in Chakan.

Mercedes-Benz has a long history of involvement with the country. Its first association in 1954 was a collaboration with Tata Motors for the production of trucks; subsequently it also cooperated with Force Motors in 1969. It was then the first luxury carmaker to set up local production on Indian soil in 1995. A year later, the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development unit was established in Bangalore. The Daimler group’s procurement organization has also been active since 1998 and is the local partner for Indian entrepreneurs and industries who offer their products and services to the company worldwide.

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Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 5000 assists Athos monks in fire-fighting operations


Stuttgart/Berg Athos, Germany/Greece, Feb 24, 2009

* Special handover ceremony to mark the delivery of the U 5000 to Vatopedi monastery in Greece

* Compact concept for swift deployment in rough terrain and forest areas

* An additional 20 vehicles may be purchased by 2010

A Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 5000 with a fire-brigade body from Schlingmann has been blessed by abbot Archimandrit Efrem from Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos and put into service. The vehicle, which is equipped with a 5000-litre water tank and a 400-litre foam tank, will help the monastic republic to fight fire attacks and encroaching forest fires. If the Unimog U 5000 proves effective, a further 20 vehicles are to be procured by the beginning of 2010 in order to combat the frequent forest fires on the northern Greek peninsula of Halkidiki, where Mount Athos is situated.

The basis of the vehicle is provided by the Unimog U 5000 chassis with a maximum permissible gross weight of 14,100 kg. The body has been kept as low as possible, as a result of which the centre of gravity is below 1.50 metres. The vehicle's compact dimensions, with a width of 2.37 m, an overall height of 3 m and a length of 6.60 m, ensure the necessary manoeuvrability on the peninsula and in the surrounding forest areas. In addition to the above-mentioned tanks, the Schlingmann body also incorporates two front spray nozzles and a foam/water cannon with an output of 2400 l/min at 8 bar. The 5000-litre water tank is T‑shaped in the interests of improved axle-load distribution.

The world-famous monastery, which only men are allowed to enter, is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. All the visitors, including prominent figures such as Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, or King Juan Carlos of Spain, enter the grounds of the over 1100-year-old monastery through a narrow gate, in front of which the Unimog U 5000 is parked.

Mount Athos is an Orthodox monastic republic which enjoys autonomous status under Greek sovereignty. It is situated on Athos, the eastern finger of the peninsula of Halkidiki in northern Greece. In all, there are 20 monasteries on Mount Athos. The capital is Karyes and the main port is Dafni. Mount Athos – the name refers to the peninsula as a whole – is separated from the mainland by a wall and is only accessible from the sea. A visa is required in order to enter the republic. There are no routes leading from the mainland to the peninsula. Mount Athos and the port of Ouranoupolis – the only port from which the monastic republic and the port of Dafni can be reached by ferry – is approx. 140 km from Thessaloniki. The highest mountain on this peninsula reaches an altitude of around 2033 m. Vatopedi monastery is the biggest on Mount Athos and is situated on the peninsula's east coast.

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SPY - 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL-Klasse FL

The Stuttgart SUV flagship, the GL-Klasse, is about to enter the automotive stage in retouched "clothes". Until then, we show you the latest spy photos of the 2010 GL-Klasse FL testing prototypes, that have been once again caught by photographers in Scandinavia.


The most important modifications will be smoothly revised front bumper, headlights and radiator grille, new exterior mirrors a la M-Klasse and LED rear lights. The new GL-Klasse will also benefit from the addition of LED fog lights, along with the newly born, conventional double fog projectors, all of them borrowed from the all new E-Klasse Limousine. No major changes in the engine range have been reported, though it is expected that Mercedes-Benz will introduce the GL 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY & GL 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY versions, in an effort to mantain the fuel consumption numbers at a low level.

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