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    Mercedes-Benz Plant Berlin to Become High-Tech Location for Components to Reduce CO2

    by Philipp Deppe | 22.Mai 2015

    Daimler continues to back Berlin as a location. The company is investing a total of around 500 million euros in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin, which is being developed into a high-tech facility for component production.

    This is part of the transformation plan agreed between the company and the Works Council, which will secure employment at the location for the long term. The Group’s oldest production facility in operation is already an important part of the powertrain production network at Mercedes-Benz Cars. In the future, Berlin will be a global center of competence for the production of the innovative CAMTRONIC engine management system, giving it a unique position within the production network.
    Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management: “At Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations, we have achieved another important milestone for making ourselves even more flexible and efficient: With the agreed transformation plan, we are developing the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin into a high-tech location for producing components with technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. In doing so, we are creating a very good outlook for the future of the Daimler Group’s oldest production facility in operation.”

    The Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin, which was established in 1902, and its more than 2,500 employees develop and produce state-of-the-art components and parts made using environmentally-friendly manufacturing technologies. These play an important part in reducing vehicle CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the V6-cylinder diesel engine is produced in Berlin. With the agreement of this transformation plan, the plant is continuing to push forward its development into a high-tech component manufacturing facility, focusing on the expansion of capacity for state-of-the-art products that set the company apart from the competition. In addition to high-precision transmission parts, camshaft adjusters and fuel systems, these include the CAMTRONIC valve timing system that will be the subject of the majority of the agreed investment.

    “We are continuing to invest in the future of our Berlin location, with investment totaling around 500 million euros, including around 150 million euros this year,” said Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Berlin plant.

    Ute Hass, Chairwoman of the Mercedes-Benz Berlin plant Works Council: “The agreement sends a clear, positive signal to the workforce: the plant is participating in the industry’s current growth and prospects for the future. This secures employment for the long term. Increasing the number of training positions and hiring another 15 people are a sign that the company will continue to back the Berlin location and its highly qualified employees in the future.”

    Another element of the transformation plan for the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin is the agreement on safeguarding the supply of junior talent for the next three years. Starting in 2016, the number of vocational training positions at the location will be increased to 24 a year. This represents an increase of 20 percent in the technical vocational training offered. The training offered at Berlin includes the vocations of mechatronic technician and cutting machine operator. MORE »

    Topics: Production | No comments »

    MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS agrees new three-year contract with Lewis Hamilton

    by Philipp Deppe | 21.Mai 2015

    MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS is pleased to announce that it has finalised a new contract with Lewis Hamilton for the 2016 to 2018 Formula One seasons inclusive.
    Since making his Formula One debut with McLaren in 2007, Lewis has started every one of his 153 Grands Prix with Mercedes-Benz power and this track record includes 36 victories, of which 15 so far were at the wheel of a works Silver Arrow.

    Lewis joined MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS in 2013, winning his first race for the Silver Arrows in Hungary that year. In 2014, he claimed 11 race wins on his way to securing his second Formula One World Championship; this title saw him become the first driver since Juan Manuel Fangio to win the World Championship in a works Mercedes-Benz.
    Lewis currently leads the 2015 Formula One World Championship by 20 points from team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    Lewis Hamilton commented: “Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years. This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the board room to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win. Even after the success of last year, that hunger is greater than ever – and it’s the same for me, too. The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career; it’s just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track. Mercedes-Benz began supporting me in 1998 so I am very proud that this contract means I will mark 20 years with Mercedes in 2018.”

    Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff continued: “Continuity is one of the key factors for delivering success in Formula One and we now have that in place. Lewis enjoyed an historic World Championship season with Mercedes-Benz last year and it was a priority for this season to renew his contract for the next term. We have taken the right amount of time with the process and not rushed ourselves. The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand, and that recognises and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One. MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz Style and Lufthansa Technik develop VIP cabin for short- and medium-haul aircraft

    by Philipp Deppe | 20.Mai 2015

    In time for EBACE 2015, which will take place from 19 to 21 May 2015 in Geneva, Mercedes-Benz Style and Lufthansa Technik have announced their cooperation on the design and completion of VIP aircraft cabins. The two companies will jointly develop an entirely innovative, luxurious and integrated cabin concept for short- and medium-haul aircraft.

    Dynamic architecture instead of traditional interior cabin design: Under the joint approach adopted by the two companies, the traditional separation of ceiling, wall and floor will be entirely replaced by a dynamic, spiral layout. This gives rise to new, independent spatial zones without the typical arrangement of seat and wall elements. The new sense of space is additionally reinforced by Mercedes’s typically strong emphasis on contrast in terms of material, colour and lighting. The overall design is characterised by the aesthetic appeal of state-of-the-art luxury embodied in the Mercedes-Benz brand. Mercedes-Benz Style and Lufthansa Technik plan to target this innovative concept at a private global clientele with a strong affinity for unique design. Lufthansa Technik will contribute its decades of experience in the customisation of VIP and VVIP aircraft in order to harmonise unique design with the particular requirements of an aircraft cabin.

    “It was an inspiring challenge to transfer our design philosophy of sensual purity into the area of aeronautical engineering. The spectacular architecture of the interior shows creativity and modernity. Sensual surfaces and clear forms, combined with intelligent high-tech features and perfectly shaped modern luxury are the characteristic features of Mercedes-Benz design,” explains Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG. “The purpose of our cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Style is to unite the two companies’ innovative expertise in the areas of design and technology. Our goal is to offer a highly discerning global clientele a standard of interior design that leaves nothing to be desired. Whether for private or business use, our modular completion concept perfectly fits every purpose,” says Walter Heerdt, Senior Vice President VIP & Executive Jet Solutions, Lufthansa Technik AG.

    Innovative approach, away from the familiar
    In a departure from the familiar design of aircraft interiors, the cabin concept adopts an entirely new approach. The interior of the cabin is organic and homogeneous like a DNA helix. Floor, wall and ceiling flow into each other. Featuring numerous innovative details, the furniture with its sensuous clarity of design merges seamlessly with the cabin interior. The cabin windows are concealed by so-called black panels, which, inspired by the screen design in the Mercedes‑Benz S-Class, appear to float in front of the window like a light corona. Innovative Mercedes-Benz Magic Sky technology allows the panels to be dimmed electrically from black to transparent. Displays and touch screens for entertainment and information can easily be integrated into the black panels. MORE »

    Topics: General | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz Launches Campaign to Support Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World

    by Philipp Deppe | 19.Mai 2015

    This summer, when the long-awaited next installment of the groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World, arrives in theaters, an entire fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will share the spotlight. Alongside the iconic G-Class, Unimog, Sprinter models and the all-new GLE Coupé will play a leading role in the epic action-adventure.

    Mercedes-Benz will accompany the release of the film with a comprehensive co-promotional package that includes a television commercial, print and online advertising, dedicated microsites and social-media activities. The commercial, starring the Mercedes-Benz vehicles from the film, launches today in the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, a custom key visual was developed for all communication in which the all-new GLE Coupé is seen eye-to-eye with the film’s fearsome Indominus rex.

    “In 1997 the Mercedes-Benz M-Class made its first official appearance in the Hollywood Blockbuster ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’. Today, 18 years later, another Mercedes-Benz car will debut in a significant role in the latest installment of the groundbreaking Jurassic Park series named Jurassic World: the new GLE Coupé”, says Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We are delighted to continue our partnership with a multitude of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and will promote the film and our cars with many exciting global marketing activities.”

    The Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupé makes its film debut as the official car of Jurassic World operations manager Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. When Claire must confront a crisis well beyond what she can handle alone, she takes the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé (showcasing its off-road capabilities) and joins behavioral researcher Owen (Chris Pratt) on a mission in the lush jungle of Isla Nublar. MORE »

    Topics: GLE, Marketing | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz to introduce new App: Guided all the way: Mercedes-Benz is one of the first to introduce Door-to-Door Navigation with Apple Watch

    by Philipp Deppe | 18.Mai 2015

    Mercedes-Benz creates an intelligent integration between Apple Watch and Mercedes-Benz vehicles with its new MB Companion App. The MB Companion App allows Mercedes-Benz costumers to search for directions on the Apple Watch or on iPhone initiating a complete door-to-door experience.

    A seamless integration unfolds: giving walking directions to the car on the Apple Watch, driving directions on the vehicle navigation system and again walking directions on the Apple Watch from the car to the final destination.

    The destination that the driver selects on Apple Watch is passed to Mercedes-Benz COMAND Online once the driver starts the vehicle. He then receives safe and non-distracting driving directions to his selected destination from Mercedes-Benz navigation. When the driver parks and leaves his car, Apple Watch gives him walking directions to the final destination making it the perfect guide for “Last Mile Navigation”.

    The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class vehicles equipped with COMAND Online will be able to work with the MB Companion App as of fall this year. Further models will follow soon. By then, the MB Companion App will also enable drivers to find vehicle information such as Fuel Level, Range, Maintenance Code, and Odometer Readings on Apple Watch. MORE »

    Topics: Technology | No comments »

    smart and JBL build the world’s smallest mobile concert hall

    by Philipp Deppe | 16.Mai 2015

    The smart forgigs study realised together with audio partner JBL is probably the world’s smallest concert hall on wheels. The high-end sound system in this fortwo has a total maximum power output of 5720 watts.

    Every smart owner knows how great small can be. But the smart forgigs study reveals completely new qualities: together with audio partner JBL, the developers of the brand wanted to find out what kind of a sound experience is possible when the city coupé is equipped with the finest and most powerful audio components.
    The result is a mobile sound system that brings even more joie de vivre to the city with a mighty sound. And that’s not all: the smart forgigs can also serve as a mobile amplifier for live concerts by street musicians, for example. smart and music fans can experience the world’s smallest concert hall when it goes on a European tour this summer.

    A total of five amplifiers provide impressive sound pressure of up to 150 dB: three JBL GTO 804 EZ amps serve the tweeters and mid-range speakers whilst two JBL GTO 751 EZ amps power the subwoofers. They drive a total of four type JBL GTO 609 C loudspeaker sets, each with two tweeters and two mid-range speakers. In addition to these 16 loudspeakers there are two powerful subwoofers, each with a diameter of 30 cm.

    The music signals are provided by a digital signal processor (DSP) from the Italian specialist Mosconi. The sound processor can output via eight channels, and with Bluetooth streaming it can also process uncompressed files in formats such as Wave or Flac and, needless to say, lossless or mp3 files, for example. The signals are transferred from mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones by A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). iOS, Android and Windows devices are supported. The result is crystal-clear high-end sound.

    100 metres of cable and 10 square metres of insulating material
    The design of the visible components of the mobile sound system is perfectly integrated in the smart design idiom. For example, the ventilation openings in the dashboard served as the visual model for integrating of the loudspeakers. Three mid-range speakers have been integrated in each door and four tweeters have been accommodated in the dashboard. The subwoofers fill the smart’s luggage compartment; they are flanked by a pair of midrange speakers/tweeters on the left- and right-hand sides of the tailgate. MORE »

    Topics: Smart | No comments »

    Mercedes-AMG with a large fan base at the Nürburgring 24h race

    by Philipp Deppe | 15.Mai 2015

    No less than eight SLS AMG GT3s, run by six different AMG Customer Sport Teams, will be competing in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (May 14-17, 2015).

    This year, however, fans will also be able to get a first-hand experience of the fascination of Mercedes-AMG off the track. At an area of 1,500 square metres, the AMG Experience provides a varied programme of activities for the first time. It is also a spectacular port of call for all spectators. From the pit stop competition and the autograph sessions to the huge AMG RACE PARTY – these highlights really are a must for all the fans at the classic endurance race in the Eifel region.

    The AMG Experience is located in the paddock, directly across the part of the circuit on which the field heads onto the legendary Nordschleife. While the drivers at the track and the crew members in the pit lane are exploring their limits, visitors can experience the fascination of the 24h race in a special atmosphere in this area. For all spectators with a valid ticket for the event, access to the area is free from Friday, May 15. From Saturday morning till Sunday evening, the AMG Experience is even open around the clock.

    Autograph hunters should already make a note for Friday afternoon: from 15.30 till 16.30 hrs, the official AMG interview and autograph session with all the SLS AMG GT3 drivers will take place on the show stage. The two DTM professionals Christian Vietoris and Maximilian Götz will be present, too. A live band will provide musical entertainment during the AMG RACE PARTY from 20.00 hrs, followed by a DJ to entertain the fans. Of course, on-site catering facilities are available as well.
    The AMG Experience also includes Formula 1 and DTM feeling. A motorsport exhibition will include replicas of last year’s world championship-winning Formula 1 car and Maximilian Götz’s current Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM car. The brand display includes the latest road-legal cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT S. And anyone wanting to get a first-hand experience of being involved in the action can do so, too: the wheels of an SLS AMG GT3 can be changed during the thrilling pit stop competition. Like this, every fan can try and find out whether he or she has the skills to become a race mechanic.

    Another highlight of the AMG Experience is the two-floor hospitality unit with a fully-glazed façade. Access to the ground floor is free. Here, visitors can relax on the seats and watch live-coverage of the race on the screens. Fans can also admire the show car of the new AMG Customer Sports car, the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The first floor accommodates the AMG Hospitality with a large terrace, an unparalleled view of the race track and VIP catering. MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Daimler drives forward with digitalisation

    by Philipp Deppe | 14.Mai 2015

    Daimler AG continues to drive forward with the digitalisation of the company – from the working environment of its employees to the direct relationship with its customers. That was what brought together 500 employees of the automotive manufacturer for a DigitalLife Day on Wednesday in Fellbach by Stuttgart.

    Daimler continued the dialogue on the digital transformation that has been going on for years under the motto “Information, Inspiration, Innovation”. With the event series, the company is taking its employees along on the path of digitalisation. The focus was on innovative projects from all corporate units and on the digital strategy of the Group.

    Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, emphasised: “Digitalisation will continue to pick up speed. All big trends in the industry are driven by digitalisation and advance it themselves as well. Step by step, we will establish a new culture of innovation at Daimler. Only by doing this, we can align the strengths of the global group even more closely to the strengths of a start-up.”

    DigitalLife Day 2015: The working environment in the digital era
    With the DigitalLife Day the automotive manufacturer gave its employees the opportunity to exchange information about the digital changes in the Group through presentations, at market stands and in discussion fora. In addition, experts from the company and the digital sector reported on current trends such as autonomous driving and digital services.

    With respectively three-minute presentations, ten Daimler employees gave so-called pitches. The goal of the short presentations was to persuade the other participants of an idea in order to find sponsors for the implementation. The projects that were presented included a Smartphone App for control of employees’ personal Work-Life Balance and the integration of interactive data glasses during vehicle repair that would enable consulting experts in real time. This clearly illustrated the importance of employees’ innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit for company success.

    Dieter Zetsche: “We have to turn Daimler into more of a start-up garage again. My vision of the future Daimler AG is: A global group with a pioneering spirit”. MORE »

    Topics: Concern | No comments »

    Change of leadership at Mercedes-Benz in Turkey

    by Philipp Deppe | 13.Mai 2015

    Change of leadership at Mercedes-Benz in Turkey: after 18 highly successful years at Daimler AG, Rainer Genes (53), currently President & CEO Mercedes-Benz Türk, has decided to embark on a new career in the consumer goods industry.

    Effective August 1, 2015, he will be succeeded as CEO Mercedes-Benz Türk by Britta Seeger (45); this especially includes overall responsibility for all truck and bus activities as well as acting as the Daimler Group’s representative in Turkey. Britta Seeger is currently President & CEO Mercedes-Benz Korea Ltd.

    “We sincerely thank Rainer Genes, who has helped to decisively shape the fortunes of our company for almost two decades. He has played a key role, among other things, in purchasing, as a plant manager in Bremen and as head of production planning at Mercedes-Benz Cars,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Trucks and Buses. “Since 2013, Rainer Genes has been in charge at Mercedes-Benz Türk and now leaves that company in excellent shape, with our truck market share at a record level and production booming. Also in the bus business, Rainer Genes has played a key part in recent years – among other things due to the new product projects and the expansion of our product sites. We thank Rainer Genes for his long-standing commitment and wish him all the best for the future,” continued Dr. Bernhard.

    With Britta Seeger, an internationally highly experienced manager takes over at Mercedes-Benz Türk. Britta Seeger joined the Group in 1992. She has many years of sales and management experience in the areas of retail, marketing and market controlling. Britta Seeger has been able to gather cross-sectoral experience especially during her work in after-sales.

    “Since 2013, Britta Seeger has shown in Korea that she is capable of steering and successfully developing a growing market and further strengthening our position there. We are pleased that, in her, we have been able to find the ideal person to take over at Mercedes-Benz Türk,” added Dr. Bernhard. MORE »

    Topics: Trucks | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz holds topping-out ceremony for the world’s most advanced crash test facility

    by Philipp Deppe | 12.Mai 2015

    Milestone reached: construction having begun in July 2013, some 350 guests were today present at the topping-out ceremony for the world’s most advanced crash test facility. The new test centre measures 270 by 170 metres with an internal, pillarless test arena – the heart of the crash facility – measuring 90 by 90 metres to allow even complex junction/pre-accident situations to be recreated in future. Consequently, the area of the test arena is considerably larger than a normal football pitch. The facility will cost triple-digit millions of euros, with the commencement of crash testing scheduled for autumn 2016.

    “As a safety pioneer, Mercedes-Benz has played a key role in ensuring that crash tests have today become an established part of the global automotive industry. Even in the age of computer simulation, crash tests remain indispensable, guaranteeing the high standards of passive safety in our vehicles”, says Thomas Merker, Director for Body and Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “The new Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety (TFS) represents a continuation of this pioneering role. The world’s most advanced crash test facility will enable us in future to carry out all crash tests on our own premises – not just more crash tests due to the growing product range, but also crash tests with future, new configurations”.

    The design of the new facility allows for collisions with many different angles of impact, including junction collisions, while also taking into account the particular crash-related requirements of vehicles with alternative drives. In addition, Mercedes-Benz aims to use the TFS to further investigate the potential of PRE-SAFE® and driver assistance systems in the event of a crash. To be able to recreate the pre-accident phase, the facility will include an automated driving system for such vehicles. It is also designed for crash tests with large commercial vehicles. A sled test unit will also allow the testing of individual components such as restraint systems.

    In total, the TFS will comprise an area of 55,000 square metres. At the heart of the complex is the 90 by 90 metre, totally pillarless test arena. The structural features also include temperature control using the waste heat from the adjacent climatic wind tunnels. Rotating crash blocks with a different solid barrier on each side for a particular crash test configuration will in future shorten the set-up times while making crash testing even more efficient. The same applies to vehicle measuring, which will be partially automated in future, with the vehicle being moved on a turntable in front of the camera. Likewise, new digital measuring technology in the dummies with just one data cable will take over from the previous analogue technology. MORE »

    Topics: Concern, Development | No comments »

    Nico Rosberg wins after strong race in Barcelona

    by Philipp Deppe | 10.Mai 2015

    Silver Arrows kick off European season in style with one-two finish in Barcelona!

    Nico took his first victory of the 2015 season – the ninth of his Formula One career to date – with a superbly controlled drive from pole position.
    Lewis recovered from a poor start to clinch the 75th podium of his Grand Prix career in second place thanks to a blistering pair of stints within a bold three stop strategy. Lewis now leads Nico in the Drivers’ World Championship by 20 points, with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS heading Ferrari by 70 points in the Constructors’ battle.

    Nico Rosberg: We had a perfect weekend here in Spain. We have a fantastic car and everybody did a really great job in the break, so thanks to the team for everything. My start was great for the first time this season. From there I was able to control the pace and I never felt in danger throughout the whole race. I’m so happy about this win. It’s still early days in the season so it’s good to close the points gap to Lewis. I will continue to push hard – starting with a home race for me in Monaco!

    Lewis Hamilton:I got off to a poor start with too much wheel spin and had to fight hard just to keep third. From there it was always going to be tough as it’s difficult to run right behind another car here and even tougher to pass. I managed to stay close enough to Seb before the first stops but unfortunately we lost a bit of time there. In the end, we went for a three stop strategy to try something different. That call was made quite early on as it was clear it wouldn’t have worked to stay out for that long and, again, passing on track was almost impossible. Luckily we had the pace to make it work. Nico was then 22 seconds ahead with 15 laps to go which was a big gap. I pushed really hard to close up until about 6 laps from the end but I was only gaining about a second per lap which wasn’t enough. So, damage limitation on a difficult weekend for me. But I’m grateful that I could score some good points for the team.

    Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: That feels like two P1 results today after such a demanding race. Nico did the perfect job this afternoon: he had a great start, built the gaps that he needed and made his two-stop strategy work in a fantastic way. He was controlled and composed throughout. Lewis lost a position on the start, then had a slow first pit stop, and that left him stuck behind Vettel’s Ferrari in the second stint. At that point, we knew that the only chance of getting past Sebastian was to do something different with the strategy but it was still a bold move to try the three-stopper. It was only going to work if Lewis managed to overtake on track and he made it work with great moves on Räikkönen and Bottas – he was decisive when he needed to be and showed some incredible pace on the prime tyre. As Lewis was building the gap he needed ahead of Sebastian in his third stint, we actually compromised Nico a little bit by leaving him out longer than optimum before his second stop. This made sure the two cars didn’t trip over each other on track, while running different strategies, and gave Lewis the clear air he needed to build the gap to secure P2. Following Lewis’ final stop, it was clear after a few laps pushing that the pace difference between the cars wasn’t big enough for him to challenge for the win, so we then told both drivers to bring the car home. It’s a great feeling to take a one-two finish at this circuit, which is a really severe test for the complete car package, and a confirmation that the updates we brought in a number of areas correlated to the track and delivered a good performance improvement. Well done to everybody back at both factories, now we will get our heads down and start working for Monaco. MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Nico Rosberg with his first pole position of the season in Barcelona

    by Philipp Deppe | 9.Mai 2015

    40th Formula One pole position for the Silver Arrows in Barcelona front row lockout!

    Nico took his first pole position of the season and the 16th of his Formula One career. Lewis will line up P2 on tomorrow’s grid, completing a third front row lockout of the season for the Silver Arrows. Both drivers ran twice in Q1 (prime / prime), once in Q2 (option) and twice again in Q3 (option / option).

    Nico Rosberg: Today was a good day in the office for me. The conditions were really difficult out there but, thanks to the team, we nailed the setup and got it all together. I really feel great in the car this weekend and was able to improve from session to session. So now I hope to have a good start and to control it from there. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and can’t wait for the race. It’s been a positive start but Sunday is where it really counts…

    Lewis Hamilton: It was quite tricky out there today. I did the best I could – but it wasn’t quite fast enough and Nico did a really good job. I think he’s been a bit more comfortable with the balance than I have so far this weekend. The rear was under-rotating quite a bit today, which means you have oversteer and poor traction, so I lost a lot of time in the middle sector. In the end, P2 isn’t so bad. Of course, being on pole makes life a bit easier but it doesn’t mean you can’t win from elsewhere on the grid. Generally speaking, the outside of the grid is cleaner here so you can usually get a good start from there. The main opportunities to gain places will be the start and the pit stops as it’s hard to overtake but I’ll give my best shot like always. Every race you do, you’re thinking about racing for the Championship and I’ll keep driving the same way I always do. It may not have been the greatest weekend so far but it’s not over yet – tomorrow is where it counts.

    Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: That was a brilliant lap from Nico in Q3 to take his first pole of the season. It just goes to show that things turn quickly in Formula 1. There have been lots of people asking questions about whether he could bounce back or had lost his momentum. But they have to remember that these guys are tough, they’re resilient and they’re not so much affected by these ups and downs in results as people think. Nico stayed focused this weekend, did his job so far and took a great pole position. Lewis suffered from an oversteer balance on his laps and it’s very hard to find the limit at this circuit when that’s the case. But he still took P2 and can target a strong race tomorrow. We have a solid half-second gap today but I am sure things will be closer in the race. The conditions are very hot and we will have to manage the tyres carefully tomorrow in order to find the right balance between durability and speed. I’m expecting a pretty interesting afternoon. MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz Actros in the Fuel Duel: 1000 fuel-consumption comparison tests in Europe: more than ten percent consumption advantage over the competition

    by Philipp Deppe | 8.Mai 2015

    From Northern Finland to Southern Italy, from Spain’s most westernmost point to Romania’s easternmost corner – the “Fuel Duel” fuel-consumption comparison test of Mercedes-Benz Trucks takes place in 22 countries in Europe. To this end, 90 Actros trucks are on the road, predominantly tractor units of models 1842 LS and 1845 LS with Euro VI emission control technology.

    By now, the 18-tonne and also 25-tonne trucks bearing the three-pointed star have competed in 1000 Fuel Duels against the most important European competitors – and covered some 5 million kilometres in all. And the Mercedes-Benz Actros has won more than 90 percent of these duels. The fuel consumption advantage over competitors is about 10.5 percent on average.

    The first of 1000 Fuel Duels started in the Netherlands
    The first fuel-consumption comparison test got under way in the Netherlands about two and half years ago. The conditions remain unchanged to this day: the Mercedes-Benz Actros takes on the jobs of a competitor vehicle in a fleet and handles its loads and routes for two weeks. The driver receives an in-depth briefing
    in advance and is initially accompanied by a professional trainer or an experienced member of the Mercedes-Benz Trucks sales team. Afterwards, the driver performs his usual jobs with the Actros by himself, supported by the FleetBoard telematics system.

    Among other things, the Actros trucks are equipped with the streamlined StreamSpace cab for extremely low drag and low fuel consumption, as well as with the Mercedes PowerShift “economy” driving program, which supports a particularly economical driving style. Furthermore, they all are powered by efficient BlueTec 6 engines, which in conjunction with the standard-specification long final drives deliver extra torque in 12th gear when needed. The anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and the FleetBoard telematics system also support an economical driving style. Other features include the radiator shutters, which improve drag when closed and consequently help save fuel and the two-stage water pump, which is standard equipment on every Actros truck. As a special feature, the Actros trucks in the Fuel Duel sport prominent campaign decals, which were designed specifically for the comparison.

    Mercedes-Benz Center Hildesheim supports four Fuel Duels simultaneously
    Martin König, at the Mercedes-Benz Center Hildesheim responsible for truck sales, has recognised the opportunities provided by the Fuel Duels early on. He accounts for four of the 86 fuel-consumption comparison tests conducted in Germany so far. One test has already been won, another is currently in progress and two are in the pipeline. Martin König: “The Fuel Duel offers the unique opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of the Actros to our customers in a highly objective way. At the same time, drivers can use the FleetBoard telematics service to examine and improve their economical driving style”.

    FleetBoard Performance Analysis tracks factors of relevance to wear and fuel consumption such as anticipatory driving, changes in speed or braking behaviour for example. As a result the vehicle and driver behaviour can be depicted and analysed.

    Fuel Duel results provide sales arguments
    Professional consultant Thomas Abele from the Professional Training & Consulting Team Germany analysed the data of the Hildesheim Fuel Duels every day at the plant in Wörth. In an interim report and in a final presentation he also provides information to the forwarding company and the driver about the result of the Fuel Duel. As he did in the case of Nowatzki Logistik Company in Hildesheim as well. The company has been a customer of Martin König for many years and was founded in 1981. The family-run company employs about 100 people. Among its customers are clients from the automotive sector, machinery and plant engineering as well as from the construction, chemical, paper and food industries. Some 30 Actros tractor units ensure smooth transport – predominantly domestically and in neighbouring countries.

    Carsten and Lars Nowatzki make great effort to ensure that their fleet is maintained optimally. The vehicles in the fleet of the forwarding company are only two years old on average. Accordingly, each year a certain number of new vehicles are ordered. The fuel-consumption comparison test provides real sales arguments – especially in times of aggressive pricing policies on the part of the competitors.

    Martin König is convinced that Nowatzki Logistik will remain faithful to the Actros this year as well. Arguments that support his conviction are the high levels of reliability and safety as well as its exemplary economic efficiency. An Actros 1842 in the Fuel Duel at Nowatzki Logistik has just provided proof thereof. The results are not in yet, but the Actros 1845 in the Nowatzki fleet is also supposed to be tested in a second Fuel Duel as an alternative engine variant.

    1000th comparison test at Kreykenbohm Forwarding Company
    Completely finished on the other hand is the 1000th fuel-consumption comparison test in Europe, which was conducted at Kreykenbohm Forwarding Company in Holzminden, Germany. The Fuel Duel gave Martin König the opportunity to place Actros vehicles for the first time in a fleet of 22 trucks utterly dominated by the competition.
    Willi-Ingo Kreykenbohm leads the family-owned company established in 1924 in keeping with the motto of “You are the top dog with us”. His standards for the quality of customer care are accordingly high: “Friendly, prompt and fast service is our foremost principle. That is why a reliable vehicle fleet is also of greatest importance to us. One example of this is the independent inspection of each of our vehicles every four weeks. This is how we ensure always having freshly maintained vehicles with a high level of quality”.

    26.5 litres per 100 kilometres, 3000 litres less fuel per year
    On the other hand, Kreykenbohm is also vigilant about the efficiency of the tractor units, which mainly operate in daily container transport between Hamburg, Bremerhaven and the company’s own container terminals in Holzminden and Adelebsen.

    On average, each Kreykenbohm truck drives up to 120,000 kilometres annually. The average fuel consumption without the Actros is 29 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. This figure had to be beaten in the Fuel Duel. And the Actros 1845 LS succeeded once more: with an average overall consumption of 26.5 litres, it clearly outperformed the competition. With an annual distance driven of 120,000 kilometres, this results in savings of at least 3000 litres and a CO2 reduction of 7.9 tonnes.

    A pro at the wheel: driver is awarded a FleetBoard grade of “A plus”
    Based on the result of the Fuel Duel, high praise is heaped not only on the Actros 1845 LS, but on its driver Christian Krukemeyer as well. According to the FleetBoard analysis, the graph of all gears indicates that gear changes were economical in 89 percent of all instances. The driver has made excellent use of the available assistance systems such as the anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and consequently the Actros frequently operated in the fuel-saving “Eco Roll” mode. FleetBoard Performance Analysis also attests to the fact that Krukemeyer made economical use of the two braking systems in the vehicle: he predominantly used the wear-free brake when needing to slow down.

    All this demonstrates: the man at the wheel was a real professional. It is therefore no surprise that Christian Krukemeyer scored 9.67 on the FleetBoard evaluation scale from 1 to 10.

    Source: Daimler Trucks

    Topics: General | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz achieves double-digit sales growth and a new sales record in April

    by Philipp Deppe | 7.Mai 2015

    Mercedes-Benz has been setting new sales records month for month for more than two years. In April, the brand with the star posted a new opening record for the second quarter: Overall, 148,072 customers picked up their new Mercedes-Benz (+11.3%).

    “We began the second quarter with double-digit sales growth”, said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “In the course of the year, we plan to keep that momentum going with a stream of new products including four new or revised SUVs. In addition, we recently showed the Concept GLC Coupé, which will go into series production in 2016, at the auto show in Shanghai”, continues Källenius.

    In Europe, 251,268 vehicles have been handed over to customers since the beginning of the year (+12.0%), of which 83,339 models went to Germany (+3.6%). In Great Britain, 50,196 customers opted for a Mercedes-Benz in the first four months of the year (+19.1%) – more than ever before. Since the beginning of the year, demand increased particularly strong in Spain (+33.4%), Portugal (+32.5%), Sweden (+19.7%), and Belgium (+15.7%).

    In the NAFTA region, Mercedes-Benz posted sales records in all three countries in April. In the USA, 29,188 vehicles were sold (+12.8%). Mercedes-Benz achieved the market leadership among the premium manufacturers in the USA and Canada in April. Canada saw a sales increase of 28.6%, and Mexico posted growth of 29.7%. Overall, 33,668 customers were happy to receive their new Mercedes-Benz in the countries of the NAFTA region (+14.6%).

    A sales record was also posted in the Asia-Pacific region with 45,034 vehicles sold in April (+23.3%). In China, where the local production of the GLA started last month, 27,069 customers opted for a Mercedes-Benz. The record could be achieved due to a sales increase of 20.6% compared to the same month of the previous year. In Japan (+37.5%) and Australia (+16.2%), Mercedes-Benz is the market leader among the premium manufacturers in April. In the emerging market of India, a new sales record was posted for the third consecutive time. There, Mercedes-Benz started into the second quarter with a sales increase of 49.1%.

    One year after the market launch of the GLA, it has made a significant contribution to the record sales of the compact cars of Mercedes-Benz in April. Last month, 45,016 customers opted for a compact car (+22.9%). The latest member of the compact car family, the CLA Shooting Brake, met with an excellent customer response in the first month after its launch.

    In April, sales of the C-Class remained at the same high level as in the previous months: Sales rose by 53.8% to 32,809 units of the C-Class Saloon and Estate. Thus, the two models are the top sellers of the month.

    The best-selling luxury saloon in the world, the S-Class, achieved a new sales record in April with 8,736 units sold (+6.4%). Since the beginning of the year, 34,585 S-Class Saloons have been delivered to customers. MORE »

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    Searching and finding: Daimler at re:publica 2015

    by Philipp Deppe | 6.Mai 2015

    For the fourth time, Daimler is a partner at the internet conference #rp15, which takes place every year at the beginning of May in the German capital. Under this year’s theme “Finding Europe”, some 450 speakers from 45 countries are expected in STATION Berlin. The over 6000 guests will have more than 300 hours of programme offerings to choose from. In keeping with the theme, everything will concentrate on identifying what is new in old systems and discovering digital innovations in the cultural space of Europe.

    “It’s just fun discussing ‘tomorrow’ with the ever-expanding community of this technophile, future-focused audience,” says Wilfried Steffen, Head of Business Innovation at Daimler AG. He adds: “All the more so since, as an international company, we hope that this year’s conference theme will give us some exciting ideas about Europe’s growing diversity.”

    As in recent years, Daimler, with its Business Innovation department and moovel GmbH, is a partner at re:publica, where, with the subconference re:think mobility, it will once again provide a platform for innovative concepts while also offering opportunities to critically examine the existing situation with the participants. The cosy atmosphere at the joint booth will be a place to reflect and relax amid the hustle and bustle of #rp15. Yet, there too, the focus will be on communication: for example, movement and mobility will be made visible by interactions of the visitors.

    Taking re:think mobility literally
    “Our mobility innovations are the basis for a leading, international exchange of ideas through which we aim to play a key role in shaping the future of mobility. Digitally savvy people, like the ones who visit re:publica, are a valuable source of ideas for us,” says Michael Kuhn, Head of Communications & Brand Management at moovel GmbH.

    For example, there will be a journey into the future in which humans and machines will share the roads. How will we communicate in the shared space of the future? What role can society play to ensure that living together works? Will we need to invent new languages? In this context, Daimler futurologist Alexander Mankowsky will report in his session on the new Mercedes-Benz research vehicle “F 015 Luxury in Motion” and discuss the relationship between humans and autonomous robots.
    The scope of human communication will also be addressed by Philipp Wex, an expert on speech interaction and user sensing at Daimler, who will highlight the challenges of using technology in the context of voice control. After that, gesture researcher Vanessa van Edwards will provide multimedia access to the concept of digital body language. The session will be rounded off by a performance by the gesture artist Mathias Schäfer.

    The “Female Leadership” session will involve a discussion from a variety of expert standpoints between Sanja Stankovic, freelance digital strategy manager, Regina Mehler, founder of the Women Speaker Foundation, and Kathrin Mahler Walther, member of the board of management of EAF Berlin, on the topical issues of women’s quotas, gender equality and promotion of women in Europe. What are the promises of politicians and industry really worth? Especially in view of the high proportion of 40 percent female visitors to re:publica, the open Q&A session can be expected to throw up some new ideas. Alongside this panel, the other sessions of the re:think mobility sub conference will be chaired by Stefanie Söhnchen, who, as a multimedia journalist and online communication strategist, feels at home in the area of mobility innovation.

    A trip around the world is the subject of a presentation by Gunther Holtorf, who has many tales to tell after travelling through 215 countries in 26 years in his G-Class called “Otto”. There are authentic insights into a fascinating kind of mobility. MORE »

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    World premiere on U.S. highway: Daimler Trucks drives first autonomous truck on public roads

    by Philipp Deppe | 5.Mai 2015

    Today Daimler Trucks became the world´s first manufacturer to be granted a road license for an autonomous heavy-duty truck. The first journey in the so-called Freightliner Inspiration Truck, which took place on U.S. highway 15 in Las Vegas, was made by Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard.

    The truck is equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system for autonomous driving. The state of Nevada licensed two Freightliner Inspiration Trucks for regular operation on public roads. Daimler Trucks is the global leading truck manufacturer and, with the Freightliner brand, also the biggest producer in the U.S.

    “Our Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the world´s first autonomous commercial vehicle to be licensed for road use. Our achievement here underlines yet again our role as a technological pioneer and demonstrates our consistent dedication to develop the technology for autonomous long-distance driving to series production standard. I am proud of this extra-ordinary achievement by the Daimler Trucks team,” stated Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG board member responsible for Trucks and Buses.

    Highway Pilot system to be developed to series production standard
    Transport in the future must be even safer, more efficient and more networked – this is the aspiration that Daimler Trucks has expressed in the new Freightliner Inspiration Truck. In July of last year, Daimler Trucks provided the world´s first demonstration of an autonomous truck in action when the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 drove along a cordoned-off section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg. Now, the first appearance of the Inspiration Truck on a public road in the U.S. marks the logical next step on the journey to series production. In the last few months the technology has been tested over many thousands of kilometers and configured for use in U.S. highway traffic.

    “We are in a unique position among manufacturers that we are able to implement technologies across all business units and brands. We have transferred our Highway Pilot system to our U.S. Freightliner brand within a very short time frame and developed it for the world´s first autonomous truck to be licensed for road use,” reports Dr. Bernhard.

    Spectacular world premiere near Las Vegas
    The world premiere of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck took place near Las Vegas, in front of representatives of the media, government as well as business and finance. Trucks are by far the most important means of transport in the U.S. In 2012, trucks transported around 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the United States. This way, a total of 9.4 billion tons of freight were moved by trucks. Globally, the road freight transport is expected to even triple between now and 2050. Autonomous trucks provide the opportunity to cope with this growth in a manner that harmonizes economic and environmental needs.

    “Nevada is proud to be making transportation history today by hosting the first U.S. public highway drive for a licensed autonomous commercial truck. The application of this innovative technology to one of America’s most important industries will have a lasting impact on our state and help shape the New Nevada economy,” said Gov. Sandoval. “The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been closely monitoring the advancements being made in autonomous vehicle development and reviewed DTNA’s safety, testing and training plans before granting permission for this demonstration of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck.” MORE »

    Topics: Trucks | No comments »

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