Archive for February 2012

VIRAL VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz Vito - BUILDERS

The series of viral videos for the "VitoPerfectPartner" campaign continue as Tom Ward's team strikes again with a funny clip. This time, a group of workers are having a lunch break. Out of nothing, their eyes are instantly attracted by a charming, blonde lady. But is it really her who got them 'mesmerized'? Hit play and find out the end of the story.

Once again, many thanks to Tom Ward for the hint! We highly appreciate it!

NOTE: is an official campaign run by Northside Truck & Van Limited, a UK-based authorized dealer for light and heavy Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles operating in Bradford, Doncaster, Hull, Immingham, Leeds, Sheffield and York.

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Mercedes-Benz Trucks has a strong position in China: Intensified cooperation with the Chinese construction machinery manufacturer Zoomlion

Within the framework of their partnership in China, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and the Chinese construction machinery manufacturer Zoomlion Heavy Industry are intensifying their cooperation. Last Saturday they signed a letter of intent (LoI) for the delivery of 2,500 Mercedes-Benz trucks. The letter of intent concerns heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Actros 3341 and 4141 truck models.

The Chinese corporation will receive the vehicles later this year. The 2,500 Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles will be manufactured at the truck plant in Wörth, where they will also be adapted to Zoomlion’s special applications for concrete pumps.

In 2011 Daimler sold almost 5,800 Mercedes-Benz trucks in China, making it the market leader among the European competitors in China’s import segment. As a result, China is now the world’s six-largest market for the sale of Mercedes-Benz trucks.

Premium trucks adapted to special applications are particularly needed for China’s rapidly growing construction sector. China is currently planning to invest around 7 trillion RMB (more than €800 billion) in building and expanding urban infrastructures between 2011 and 2015.

In a statement, Hubertus Troska, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks and the person responsible for Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide, underscored the importance of the new contract: “We are very delighted that our Chinese business partner chose Mercedes-Benz trucks for its challenging applications in the construction industry. This letter of intent deepens our partnership with Zoomlion. It confirms the good image of our Mercedes-Benz trucks and the great capabilities of our young Mercedes-Benz Trucks sales organization in China, which helps us strengthen our market presence.”

Zoomlion Heavy Industry, which was founded in 1992, is one of China’s leading manufacturers of construction machinery. Zoomlion specializes in the development and production of advanced technologies and equipment for machine construction, as well as for energy, environmental, and transportation systems. In addition, it sells its products in more than 70 countries worldwide. In recent years, Zoomlion established a particularly strong presence in the market for concrete construction machinery. Zoomlion has a permanent workforce of about 30,000 employees. The company’s headquarters are located in Changsha in the province of Hunan.

Daimler Trucks is pursuing two strategic goals for the Chinese market. In addition to promoting the sale of high-quality Mercedes-Benz trucks in the premium segment, the company will also participate in China’s promising volume market in the future. Slightly more than a week ago, Daimler announced the launch of BFDA (Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd), its joint venture with the Chinese truck manufacturer Foton. The joint venture gives Daimler a 50 percent stake in Foton’s business with medium and heavy-duty Auman brand trucks. Once the ramp-up phase is completed, BFDA will have a production capacity of 160,000 units.

China’s market volume for medium and heavy-duty trucks has doubled to more than one million units over the past five years. Last year the Chinese market accounted for around 40 percent of the total worldwide sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks.
Credits: Daimler AG

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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AMG clinches second podium position in a row: Second place for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the Bathurst 12 Hour, Australia

In today's Bathurst 12 Hour Race in Australia, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 has finished in the second place. The Australian customer team of Erebus Racing with its drivers Peter Hackett (AUS), Tim Slade (AUS), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Bret Curtis (USA) came home second after having driven 270 race laps. Having started from 6th place on the grid, starting number 20 took over the lead for the first time in the third hour of the race on a wet track. In an exciting battle against other GT3 cars, the gullwing car of the customer sports team of Erebus was able to constantly hold on to a position no lower than the top three. The Bathurst 12 Hour remained a narrow decision until the very end. The two leading cars remained in the same lap and the time difference with which they crossed the finish line was only 1.13 minutes.

The endurance race on Circuit Mount Panorama, which is 6,213 kilometres long, was marked by the difficult weather conditions, a large number of incidents and many safety car phases. The traditional hilly track is located in the State of New South Wales, with a distance of approximately 200 kilometres west of Sydney, the biggest city in Australia.

Peter Hackett (AUS): "I am very happy about the second place. Our SLS AMG GT3 delivered a convincing top performance facing the wet conditions on the track. The car ran like clockwork and was completely reliable. We did not get involved in any of the incidents and drove a constant race with a great race strategy and fantastic pit stops. The co-operation with Black Falcon from Germany worked very well since both teams complemented each other perfectly."

Tim Slade (AUS): "It was a great challenge with a narrow finish here on Circuit Mount Panorama in Bathurst. During the entire race we competed with the other GT3 cars on a high level. I want to thank the whole team for this cohesive performance."

Black Falcon’s SLS AMG GT3 retired from race after accident

The second SLS AMG GT3 of the customer team Black Falcon with Rob Wilson (NZ), Sean Patrick Breslin (GB), Sean Paul Breslin (GB) and Vimal Mehta (TZA) started from 9th place on the grid and had no difficulties in claiming one of the top positions among the fastest cars in the race. After an hour, starting number 21 had to make a pit stop because of a problem with the rear suspension. After having been repaired successfully, the gullwing car of Black Falcon carried on driving. However, due to an accident in the 52nd lap, the race came to an end after three hours. Thanks to the exemplary safety level, which is currently not reached by any other GT3 car, the driver Sean Patrick Breslin was unharmed.

Most successful newcomer in the 2011 motor sport season

The Bathurst 12 Hour was the second podium position in a row for the AMG Customer Sports programme. In the Dubai 24 Hours race (12th to 14th January 2012) the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 scored a commanding 1-2-3 with Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon at the top.

In its debut year of 2011, the Gullwing became probably the most successful newcomer in the 2011 motorsport season: from March 2011 on 40 race cars were delivered to international customer teams that took part in races on four continents and won a total of 26 races. The success story was crowned by the team title of the FIA GT3 European Championship for HEICO Motorsport and its two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 – the first title for the Gullwing in its first full racing season.
Credits: Daimler AG

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SPY: A fleet of 2013 GL-Class prototypes returns to base after offroad testing

In April, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the new GL-Class (X 166) to public and media at the New York Auto Show. The last phase of development undergoes undeterred as a fleet of test prototypes has been recently spotted on the outskirts of Stuttgart. The black camouflage has come off, so more details of the massive SUV are now becoming visible, like the headlights, beefy grille and bumpers and the elegantly designed LED tail lamps. Most probably, given the mud that's accumulated on the wheels and sides of the body, the snagged GLs were returning to the R&D Centre from a series of offroad trials custom-made to evaluate the potential skills of this new SUV generation.

Check out more spy shots after the jump!

Image Credits: Motor Authority

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Mercedes-Benz Classic: Fascination 300 SL on Amelia Island

Some 60 years after its motorsport premiere, the Mercedes‑Benz 300 SL racing car is all set to be the star of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in spring 2012: on 11 March, Mercedes-Benz, sponsor of the high-calibre event in Florida since it was first staged in 1996, is showcasing the 300 SL (model series W 194) which won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1952. The car, owned by the McCaw family, will form the centrepiece of an extensive collection of Mercedes-Benz racing and production cars being exhibited on the 18th fairway of the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.

See and read more on this topic >> HERE

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Till Oberwörder will become new head of sales at Daimler Buses/EvoBus

The new Head of Sales at Daimler Buses/EvoBus GmbH is to be Till Oberwörder (41). Subject to agreement by the board of management at EvoBus GmbH, the long-standing Daimler Manager will take over the management of Marketing, Sales & Aftersales on 1 April 2012. “In Till Oberwörder, we’ve gained a real sales professional for the bus market who has many years of experience in the commercial vehicles segment”, states Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses.

After having studied business administration, Till Oberwörder began his career in 1998 at Daimler in Stuttgart. Since then, he has carried out a variety of leadership functions in the Sales department of the company, both within Germany and abroad. In the Trucks division, he was responsible for Sales Management and Market Management in Central and Eastern Europe, before taking over the management of Mercedes-Benz Ceská in the Czech Republic in 2006. In February 2011, Till Oberwörder returned to Stuttgart and has since been in charge of Mercedes-Benz Vans Sales and Market Management.

As Head of Marketing, Sales & Aftersales, Till Oberwörder succeeds Angela Titzrath-Grimm (45), who left Daimler in January 2012 to join the Board of Management at Deutsche Post/DHL.

Credits: Daimler AG

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Airport catering with the Econic

The Mercedes-Benz Econic, the advanced low-floor transport vehicle produced at Daimler's Wörth plant, is demonstrating increasing competence in the airport ground services sector - including showing its strengths as a catering vehicle at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport. Catering company Gate Gourmet has been serving air travellers at Sweden's largest airport with meals, snacks, drinks and other in-flight provisions for almost three years now, all delivered using 10 Mercedes-Benz Econic vehicles. In addition, Lufthansa subsidiary LSG recently signed a contract for no less than 39 vehicles.

Market leader in the catering sector

Lufthansa is the parent company of LSG Sky Chefs, headquartered in Neu-Isenburg, close to Frankfurt Airport. LSG was established in 1966, and in 1993 acquired a 25 percent stake in Sky Chefs, the caterers to American Airlines established back in 1942. In 1995, the Lufthansa subsidiary acquired the remaining shares in the company, whose name since that time has also included the designation "Sky Chefs". The 133 companies belonging to the LSG Sky Chefs Group, which has 195 operations in 50 countries, claim to serve more than 300 airlines worldwide. Currently, around 460 million meals are produced each year. In 2010 the company had a staff of almost 28,500 employees.

Gate Gourmet, meanwhile, belongs to Gategroup Holding AG, headquartered in Zürich Kloten. Gategroup has its roots in the airline company Swissair, established in 1931. The company operates more than 130 sites in 35 countries, staffed by around 22,000 employees.

Scissor lift platforms meet catering requirements

As is the case for air freight deliveries, the airline catering sector also makes use of special vehicles fitted with scissor lift platforms enabling containers to be lifted up to a height of 5.70 metres, level with aircraft loading compartments.

Preparing an aircraft for take-off – whether an A 320, A 380, or a Boeing 757, or even smaller aircraft too – calls for a lot of work at the terminal. Loading luggage, refuelling, cleaning, and catering are all steps which need to be dealt with not only as quickly as possible, but also as punctually as possible - down to the second. Things can sometimes get a bit cramped in the regular, smaller catering vehicles, and since 2008 Gate Gourmet has therefore been making use of ten high-volume Mercedes-Benz Econic vehicles, complete with scissor lift platforms, at Arlanda Airport in Sweden's capital. From the wide-bodied A 380 down to the small MD 80, the vehicles are able to serve all aircraft types without the need to resort to any other vehicle.

This on its own is a big advantage. The unique low-floor design of the specialist vehicle from Wörth continues to impress - again and again. "It's easy to drive, almost like a car, and the low cab entry is really convenient", according to the drivers. The Econic's large panoramic windscreen helps to ensure optimum visibility, while the standard automatic transmission makes precise manoeuvring possible. Even when things get so tight around the aircraft that it becomes difficult to get out of a vehicle, with its folding co-driver door opening at the touch of a button, the Econic has a clear advantage. This is precisely why it has already been in great demand for a number of years now, particularly in the municipal waste disposal sector - from Paris to Prague, and from Va­lencia to Athens.

The Econic is tailor-made for catering services

The Mercedes-Benz Econic is the only heavy-duty series production truck in the 18 to 26-ton gross vehicle weight class which is available with an overall height of 2.35 metres (with the low cab). It is specifically when a wide-bodied aircraft such as the A 380 has to be loaded that in theory the containers could also be delivered using larger trucks. However, with cab heights of 3.20 metres, these have the disadvantage of not being able to get close enough to the aircraft's oval-shaped fuselage.

Smaller trucks from the 12-ton class, meanwhile, have the disadvantage of more vehicles being needed for a delivery, and in turn more space for them to park next to the plane, which is not always possible. The Econic, with a gross vehicle weight of 18 to 26 tons, is precisely the right size and also tailor-made for catering thanks to its low frame, full air suspension, folding door, panoramic windscreen and automatic transmission.

Once there were on-board chefs

According to the historical records of Lufthansa, in the 1930s when commercial air travel started, it was quite normal for a chef to travel on board the aircraft to prepare the meals in a proper kitchen. Aside from the various quantities involved, this has not been possible for a long time now due to safety reasons. The low-temperature operations of LSG in Alzey alone currently produce up to 700,000 meals per week. These meals are transported to the aircraft by catering vehicles, heated up in the aircraft galleys and served via trolleys.

Environmentally-friendly engine line-up

The Econic has a whole host of other benefits to offer too. These include in particular the vehicle's environmentally-friendly engines: the Econic can be driven by the 900 model series six-cylinder in-line diesel engines or by natural gas engines - both types are EEV-certified (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle).

At Arlanda Airport, Gate Gourmet is still using diesel engines. Its "neighbour" in Stockholm, Vatten Bromma - which supplies both drinking water and wastewater disposal services to the city's two million inhabitants - has been using Mercedes-Benz Econic vehicles with natural gas engines, available since 2002, for a good seven years now. The M 906 LAG natural gas engine produces 205 kW (279 hp) from a displacement of 6.9 litres. The best part here though is that Vatten Bromma runs the vehicles on biogas from its wastewater treatment plant. As a result, the Mercedes-Benz Econic is not only CO2 neutral, but is also making a significant contribution to reducing the burden on the environment.
Credits: Daimler AG

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Barcelona F1 Test 2012: DAY 4 Report (MBAMGF1)

Nico Rosberg concluded this week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team today.

- Nico began the day with in and out laps for pit stop practice over a total of 17 laps
- Milder temperatures allowed his race simulation to begin at 10:48, although this was interrupted halfway through by a red flag
- The race simulation was conducted using hard compound Pirelli tyres; the team primarily ran soft tyres during the afternoon
- Work this afternoon focused on set-up comparisons over runs of around 10 timed laps

Nico completed 139 laps in the F1 W03 today, equivalent to 647 km. By way of comparison, this approached Nico’s total of 161 laps over the entire Spanish Grand Prix weekend in 2011. The F1 W03 has now covered 2420 km in winter testing, over five official test days and two 100 km filming days. This equates to a daily average of 444 km during the test days, with Michael and Nico running for over 100 laps on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The next test for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 March.

Nico Rosberg
“After our first full test with the F1 W03, I can see that we are making good steps forward. Our test programme went well this week and we have made evident progress each day. In terms of reliability, the car is performing pretty much as we expected which is really important as we can concentrate on improving the performance. Of course it’s difficult at this stage to predict how we will fare in race conditions against our competitors but overall I’m pleased with the start that we have made. I’m looking forward to the final test next week before the season begins, and continuing our learning with our F1 W03.”

Ross Brawn
“We have had a very positive first week of running with the F1 W03. After five full test days, we have completed over 2000 km, Nico and Michael have done consistent mileage and reliability has been ok, aside from a couple of problems earlier in the week. Both drivers have already completed full race simulations, and this really is a tribute to all the hard work that was done back at base in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure we hit the ground running this year with the new car - as well as to the efforts of our day and night shifts at the track in Barcelona. This basis means that the drivers and engineers have been able to work well with the car rather than chasing problems, and next week we hope to focus even more on getting performance out of our current package. Overall, we are in a reasonable position, but I don’t for a moment believe we have achieved our objectives yet. It may be something of a winter testing cliché, but there is still an awful lot to be done, and it´s far too early to make any kind of judgement about our competitiveness.”

Official photos and report courtesy of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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PREVIEW: Another look at the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class (W 176)

Today, Mercedes-Benz revealed parts of the new A-Class' dashboard along with showcasing the latest smartphone-dedicated COMAND infotainment system. Despite following the same style as the B-Class, the compact hatchback features distinctive details, such as a slightly revised center console and a sportier instrument cluster. Later on, Autobild magazine released a picture of what seems to be a pre-production A-Class. The model looks real and in line with what we've seen so far (HERE). However, compared to Concept A-Class, the final street car has been toned down quite seriously, but at least some of the dynamic design has been preserved for the good. The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be live on the stage of the Geneva Motor Show starting the 6th March, so in less than two weeks we shall see better images and learn more official details.

Follow after the jump and check out the newest spy shots of the A-Class!

Image Credits: GermanCarForum

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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REPORT: Is Mercedes-Benz mulling a possible 4-door SLS AMG?

Mercedes-Benz is keen to expand its portfolio of supersport vehicles and the power to do that is in the magic hands of AMG engineers. We have recently reported the midsized SLC AMG is just about being approved for serial production; in addition, a high-end 700 hp choice above the current SLS is also on the discussion table. A new generation of the modern Gullwing is due to go on sale towards 2015/2016 and now, after seeing this intriguing set of allegedly official patent drawings that lately emerged on interwebs, we wonder if Mercedes-Benz is seriously exploring the possibility of offering a 4-door SLS AMG hardcore limo. Rather unlikely for becoming a real model, the vehicle retains the roof-mounted Gullwing doors, receives two extra, backwards-opening rear ones and sports a B-pillar-free architecture, which should raise a dozen of problems concerning body rigidity. We feel such design proposal, even though interesting and catchy, would better fit a small, specialized tuner to produce it in limited edition. But, as well, the German carmaker could impress the public with an identical concept car at a future motor show.

Dear readers, what do you think about this 4-door SLS AMG? Also, see more sketches after the jump!

Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Barcelona F1 Test 2012: DAY 3 Report (MBAMGF1)

Michael Schumacher was back in the car today for the penultimate day of this week’s test for the F1 W03 car.

- Michael completed 127 laps and 592 km, taking the team´s total mileage for the F1 W03 to 1756 km
- Michael ran soft and hard compound Pirelli tyres throughout the day as he worked through the planned test programme
- A first full race simulation for the F1 W03 was completed during the afternoon session, including live pit stops

Nico Rosberg will conclude the team’s test programme for this week tomorrow.

Michael Schumacher
“I’m very happy with the race simulation that we ran this afternoon. It confirmed what we have seen from the first tests with our new car, and that we don’t seem to have any big issues with reliability. The small things from the last two days I would rate as typical testing issues. So from my side, I am happy with our first full testing session, and we have definitely improved our game which is what we wanted to achieve. To what extent, we can only see later, but I am finishing with a positive feeling.”
Official photos and report courtesy of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS

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