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    MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS & Starwood Extend Innovative Formula One Partnership

    by Philipp Deppe | 25.Oktober 2014

    The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is pleased to confirm the extension of its team partnership agreement with Starwood Preferred Guest, the award-winning loyalty program me from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

    This unique partnership began in 2012 and the two-year extension will allow Starwood to continue to offer its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members unique access to Formula One experiences with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS in destinations around the world. The brand is also the preferred hotel partner for the team, who stay at its resorts in locations such as Barcelona, Monaco, Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

    The free-to-join SPG programme allows members to register for their chance to redeem their Starpoints for ‘Access Like No Other’ Experiences which offer unparalleled access to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team. To date, these experiences have ranged from exclusive events with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Starwood Hotels over the race weekends, to simulator and behind-the-scenes experiences at the team’s Operations Centre in Brackley, UK. Such experiences have proved highly popular, with a 250 percent growth in SPG members redeeming their points to participate since the launch of the partnership in 2012.

    Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, commented: “We are delighted to have extended our partnership with Starwood Preferred Guest for a further two years. Not only have our team enjoyed the benefits of staying in some wonderful Starwood properties as we follow the Formula One calendar around the globe but we can see the tangible benefits reflected in the excitement and enthusiasm of the SPG members who join us over the race weekends for their exclusive experiences. Knowing that our association with SPG has helped to drive the success of their membership program me is very satisfying and we look forward to more successful seasons together.” MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Import Car of the Year Japan 2014-2015: Mercedes-Benz C-Class honoured as the best import vehicle in Japan

    by Philipp Deppe | 24.Oktober 2014

    Following in the footsteps of its predecessor models, the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been voted Japan’s best import car. With this achievement the mid-range series saloon continues an impressive winning tradition.

    Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC, Avantgarde, Diamantweiss metallic,

    The four predecessor generations of the C-Class already held the title of “Import Car of the Year Japan“. For 2014-2015, the jury composed primarily of Japanese motoring journalists decided in favour of the C-Class that celebrated its world début last year. The jury based its choice in particular on the fact that the C-Class has realised quantum leaps in technology and has made sophisticated radar-based safety technology available, for example. MORE »

    Topics: C-Class | No comments »

    Free new app makes it easier to charge electric cars: “App”solute charging convenience

    by Philipp Deppe | 23.Oktober 2014

    Around 3000 charging points, 230 operators, countless charge cards and payment systems – anyone wanting to charge their electric car while out and about has to be well prepared these days.

    Charge&Pay für Mercedes-Benz

    To help make everything more convenient in the future, Mercedes-Benz is now offering “Charge&Pay for Mercedes-Benz”. This app allows Mercedes-Benz and smart customers to find available charging stations and manage the whole charging and payment process. Payment is made simply and transparently using PayPal. “Charge&Pay for Mercedes-Benz” does not involve any binding contracts or regular fees. The app can be downloaded free of charge for the iOS and Android operating systems from December 2014.

    On 5 August 1888, when Bertha Benz ran out of fuel on her journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Willi Ockel, the pharmacist in Wiesloch, helped out with two litres of ligarine. Today, 128 years after the automobile was invented, refuelling is much easier. At least for those whose cars run on petrol or diesel. Drivers of electric cars still sometimes feel like pioneers when charging their cars out and about. Not only do they have to find an available charging station – they also have to register with the various station operators in order to be able to use any public charging station. Registration is often complicated, and the payment process is not always transparent.

    But now, charging your car using the public infrastructure is set to become as easy as using a ticket dispensing machine – and what makes it even more convenient is that “Charge&Pay for Mercedes-Benz” allows you to charge your electric car or hybrid regardless of the charging station operator. The app, developed in cooperation with Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, shows the location of available charging stations in your vicinity. Before you charge your car, the app shows the price at the station in question, and customers can conveniently verify their identity using their smartphones. Every charging process is paid for automatically using PayPal. Another advantage is that using “Charge&Pay for Mercedes-Benz” allows you to be completely flexible. Instead of entering into contracts with a number of different charging station operators, often involving fixed terms and regular fees, customers using the new app benefit from the convenience of a single solution that works with all providers – one that can be used anywhere, anytime via your smartphone, with no binding contracts and no fixed costs.

    The app offers access to almost the entire remote-compatible (i.e. accessible via smartphone) public charging infrastructure in Germany. Other European markets are set to be added one by one. Mercedes-Benz is also planning to make it possible to reserve charging stations as part of the next phase of development. MORE »

    Topics: Marketing | No comments »

    Daimler restructures cooperation with Tesla

    by Philipp Deppe | 22.Oktober 2014

    Daimler AG (stock exchange symbol: DAI) has reorganized its cooperation with Tesla Motors Inc. In this context, Daimler has terminated the share-price hedge it initiated in 2013 and has sold its stake in Tesla of approximately 4%. The cooperation between the partners on the automotive projects is unaffected. Development work for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is completed, the partnership with Tesla remains in place.

    “We pursue our strategy for emission-free driving consequently. Electric vehicles are one component of this roadmap. In Tesla we do have a bold partner. Together we launched the B-class Electric Drive successfully in the United States this summer. In November, the B-Class Electric Drive will be launched in Europe as well. We are convinced that this powerful electric vehicle for every day use will appeal to a lot of customers,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Furthermore, the batteries for the first generation of the smart fortwo electric drive had been from Tesla. The two-seater with electric drive is one of the best-selling electric cars in Germany. “Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued”, added Zetsche.

    Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Finance & Controlling and Financial Services: “We are extremely satisfied with the development of our investment in Tesla, but it is not necessary for our partnership and cooperation. For this reason, we have decided to divest of our shares. This will also allow Tesla to broaden its investor base.”

    The sale of Daimler’s stake in Tesla will result in a cash inflow of around$780 million, which will be used to strengthen Daimler’s operational business. The impact on EBIT for the year 2014 is approximately in the same amount.

    “We have supported Tesla as a startup company for many years and have learned a lot from Tesla. At the same time, Tesla was able to profit from our automotive expertise. The cooperation with Tesla is one component of our activities in the field of electric mobility. It optimally complements our involvement in Deutsche ACCUmotive,” explained Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

    Daimler has the industry’s biggest portfolio of electric vehicles, from cars and vans to buses and light trucks: smart electric drive, Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL, B-Class Electric Drive, B-Class F-CELL, SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive, Vito E-CELL, Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid, Fuso Canter E-CELL and Freightliner Custom Chassis MT E-CELL All-Electric. Systematic hybridization is also a fixed element of Daimler’s powertrain strategy. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz sold more automobiles with hybrid drive than all other German manufacturers combined. The focus will continue to be on plug-in hybrids in the coming years. By the year 2017, Mercedes-Benz Cars will launch ten new plug-in hybrid models in all market segments. MORE »

    Topics: Concern | No comments »

    Mercedes-Benz Vans lays groundwork for long-term production strategy for the next generation of the Sprinter

    by Philipp Deppe | 21.Oktober 2014

    Mercedes-Benz Vans has finalized its long-term strategy for the production of the successor model of the Sprinter. As the only manufacturer in the segment of large vans that is producing vehicles in Germany, Mercedes-Benz Vans will assemble the next generation of the Sprinter at its plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde.

    For this purpose, Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest a total of €450 million in the modernization of the two German plants . “Our plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde have a highly skilled workforce that has built up a comprehensive stock of van production know-how over a period of several decades. That’s why we are putting these two plants at the center of our production strategy for the next generation of the Sprinter as well. Through investments of almost half a billion euros, we will safeguard the long-term competitiveness of our German plants and make them fit for the fierce global competition in this segment,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

    Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest €300 million in the Düsseldorf plant, specifically to modernize the body shop, the paint shop, and the assembly line. The closed models of the Sprinter have been produced here since 1995. In addition, the Düsseldorf plant, which is the leading plant for worldwide Sprinter production, will play an even more central role in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Vans in the future.

    “The substantial investments in the modernization of our plant and its expansion into a worldwide center of competence for the Sprinter represents a clear commitment to our location and a significant boost for the long-term development of Mercedes-Benz Vans in Düsseldorf,” says Martin Kelterer, Plant Director and Head of Production at the Düsseldorf Mercedes-Benz plant.

    Extensive investments are also flowing into the plant in Ludwigsfelde, where the open models of the Sprinter have been produced since 2006.
    “We’re glad that the next generation of the Sprinter will also be rolling off the assembly line in Ludwigsfelde and that the investment of €150 million will safeguard the long-term competitiveness of our plant,” says Michael Bauer, the Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Ludwigsfelde GmbH.

    Establishment of local Sprinter production in the NAFTA region is necessary
    The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been a success story in the van business for almost 20 years now. It is the worldwide market leader in the large van segment and is delivered to customers in about 130 countries all over the globe. This makes the Sprinter a key pillar of the worldwide growth strategy “Vans goes global,” which aims to systematically internationalize the division’s business operations and exploit additional sales potential in the growth markets outside Europe. The U.S. is now the Sprinter’s second-largest sales market after Germany. About 23,000 Sprinter vans were delivered to U.S. customers in 2013. As part of its growth strategy, Mercedes-Benz Vans has set itself the goal of more effectively benefiting from the high growth rates of the North American market in the large van segment.

    Because of the high import tariffs, the Sprinters for the U.S. market have so far been produced at the two German plants, partly dismantled in a time-consuming process, and reassembled at the plant in Charleston, South Carolina. This process results in a significant competitive disadvantage on the U.S. market for Mercedes-Benz, since it leads to long delivery times, makes the vehicle more expensive for U.S. customers, and is therefore not economical in the long term in view of the expected growth in demand. MORE »

    Topics: Sprinter | No comments »

    Celebrating 20 years of history: smart Hambach plant writes next chapter of its success story

    by Philipp Deppe | 20.Oktober 2014

    Highly efficient assembly and logistics processes and suppliers directly located on the plant’s premises as system partners: the smart plant in Hambach, France, has stood for the success story of an innovative, particularly lean production concept since the decision was made in 1994 to build the plant.

    smart Werk Hambach: Produktion des neuen smart fortwo // smart Hambach plant, production oft he new smart fortwo

    In its domain, it has set standards in the automotive industry and continues to do so. Around 1.6 million smart fortwo vehicles have rolled off the plant’s production line until today. With investments of around 200 million euros for the production of the new generation of the two-seater, the plant has continued to develop the original production concept with state-of-the-art technologies and further increased production flexibility.

    Luftbild smart Werk Hambach // smart Hambach plant, aerial view

    Around 20 years ago, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board of the former Daimler-Benz AG made one of the most important decisions in the foundation of smart: On completion of an extensive selection process, Hambach in the French region of Lorraine was chosen as the production site. Until today, around 1.6 million smart for two vehicles have rolled off the plant’s production line; the new smart fortwo has been produced since July 2014.

    Dr. Annette Winkler, head of smart: “The history of smart is inseparably linked to our Hambach site. From production of the very first vehicle up to the all-new smart fortwo: our team here has made a very significant contribution to put our success story on the road by the millions. And now, as a new era begins with the new smart generation, smartville is one of the key success factors of our brand.”

    “Just like the new smart generation continues to embody the core features of the original smart, we have also maintained the core of our production philosophy which was revolutionary at that time”, says Dr. Joachim Betker, who had already been part of the team as a young engineer at the time of the plant’s grand opening in 1997, and who returned to Hambach as plant manager in 2011 after various assignments in the Daimler group.

    “Our production concept is based on the smart team’s overall coordination of the site with responsibility for the final product, and at the same time the cooperation with specialized suppliers and service providers – the so-called system partners – in numerous areas”, Betker points out.

    ‘smartville': innovative, particularly lean manufacturing concept
    An aerial view explains why the Hambach site is also referred to as ‘smartville': centrally located within the industry complex with a total size of 68 hectares – of which 17.5 hectares built-up area – is the smart central building. It is surrounded by separate halls for the system partners and their production of components, pre-assembly of modules or provision of logistics services.

    The central building, shaped like a plus sign, houses the final assembly: a band-conveyor carries the vehicles through each of the building’s four branches with the respective assembly stations. Thanks to the long exterior walls of these branches, all modules and parts can immediately be provided at the stations for assembly, exactly at the appropriate time (‘just in time’) and in the correct order (‘just in sequence’) for each individual vehicle. The system partners deliver directly via transportation bridges, further materials are supplied via the many truck docking stations. In the middle of the plus sign are further floors in which the plant’s administrative functions are located. An octagonal, roofed inner courtyard allows constant eye contact with production. The canteen on the top floor is available to all staff at smartville, serving as a daily point of contact for the smart team and the employees of the system partners. MORE »

    Topics: Smart | No comments »

    Paul Di Resta finishes fourth at Hockenheim in DTM home race for Mercedes-Benz

    by Philipp Deppe | 19.Oktober 2014

    The 30th anniversary DTM season ended with a home race for Mercedes-Benz on Sunday at Hockenheim in front of 155,000 spectators, who came through the gates during the weekend.

    At the end-of–season finale of the internationally popular touring car series, Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) crossed the finish line in P4 with a deficit of two tenths of a second on Jamie Green (Audi) in third place. During the race, he moved six positions up the field from tenth on the grid to finish fourth. Audi’s Mattias Ekström won the race.

    Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) placed tenth in the final race of the season. Christian Vietoris (Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) was 15th. Robert Wickens (FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) booked P17.

    Daniel Juncadella (Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Pascal Wehrlein (gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Vitaly Petrov (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) retired just before the end of the race. They were placed 18th, 20th and 21st respectively.

    Paul Di Resta (28, Scotland, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 4th
    “That was a positive day for me. We had a decent weekend and didn’t make any mistakes except in qualifying. I gained a few places at the start but lost some time at the beginning of the race. Perhaps what I lost would have been enough to see me overtake Jamie at the end. When you think how we were doing at the start of the season, we’ve improved considerably. All the guys have done a brilliant job, for which I would like to especially thank them. The long nights spent working have paid off. We can go into the winter break with a positive result, but the new season actually starts tomorrow for us.”

    Gary Paffett (33, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 10th
    “I made a great start and gained a few positions. Then I got hit off the track three times on the first lap which put me at the back of the field. I was having a good battle through the race but I lost two places at the pit stop because we pitted one lap later than the other guys. In the end, all the places we lost on the first lap cost us some points. Apart from the first lap, racing was okay today.”

    Christian Vietoris (25, Germany, Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 14th
    “That was a tough weekend. We took Edoardo Mortara as our benchmark. Things didn’t go well for him either – we both failed to finish in the points. Mike Rockenfeller ultimately caught us in the overall standings. Too bad!”

    Robert Wickens (25, Canada, FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 17th (including a post-race penalty)
    “I got off to a good start and was up to P8 by the end of the first lap. I think I was third best of all the people starting on primes. So, everything was going well but unfortunately I wasn’t really happy with the car. I had a lot of understeer after struggling with the same issue in qualifying. Unfortunately, under parc fermé conditions, you have to race the car you had in qualifying. It was a tough race. But Paul did a good job finishing in P4.” MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Pascal Wehrlein in P6 on grid at DTM season finale in Hockenheim

    by Philipp Deppe | 18.Oktober 2014

    The DTM is staging the grand finale of its 30th anniversary season this weekend. Pascal Wehrlein (gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:33.483 minutes) will line up in sixth position for the tenth and final round of the 2014 season, which is a home race for Mercedes-Benz.

    In the final DTM qualifying of the year, Paul Di Resta (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:33.468 minutes) booked P10 on the grid. Fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Robert Wickens (FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:33.525 minutes) finished the qualifying in P12. Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:33.708 minutes) came home in P16. Daniel Juncadella (Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:33.721 minutes) took P17.

    Christian Vietoris (Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.066 minutes) and Vitaly Petrov (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.443 minutes) qualified in P22 and P23 respectively for the final race of the season.

    Looking ahead to the race: The final race of the 2014 season gets under way on Sunday at 2:00 pm (live on ARD, from 1:30 pm onwards). The race is staged over 42 laps, equating to a total distance of 192.108 km. Audi driver Miguel Molina (1:33.316 minutes) will start the race from pole position.

    Comments after Qualifying
    Pascal Wehrlein (19, Germany, gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 6th, (1:33.483)
    “In the circumstances, P6 is a respectable result for us. It’s perhaps not the outcome that we had expected, but we can achieve a lot from this position on the grid. We had some difficulties in free practice, but that’s fairly standard if you’ve brought along new parts and you’ve not had a lot of time to try them out. We’ve improved the car since this morning. We’re expecting a tough race tomorrow, but I’ll be going all out on the attack in this last race of the season.”

    Paul Di Resta (28, Scotland, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 10th, (1:33.468)
    “I’m reasonably satisfied with my result. It’s a little bit frustrating. We were in good shape for Q3. We had two sets of tyres left over thanks to our speed in Q1. We’ve got a very good setup and I’m very confident with where the car is. Hopefully we can put something together tomorrow for a strong race.”

    Robert Wickens (25, Canada, FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 12th, (1:33.525)
    “It was not a good qualifying but also not a bad one. It could have been better, though. Q1 was pretty standard. I was happy to go through to Q2. Unfortunately, we then had a small problem with the car on the first run in Q2. We had to stop the run and switch immediately to the second set of new tyres. I just didn’t do a good enough lap. I couldn’t really prepare for the lap because of the problem we had on the first run. I went in a bit blind. Starting twelfth tomorrow is better than I’ve started in the last two races, and I scored points in both of them. Hopefully, we can score points and finish the year on a good note.” MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    “FOR” the new smart generation

    by Philipp Deppe | 17.Oktober 2014

    The market launch of the new smart generation on 22 November 2014 brings the new era in the history of the smart brand to the roads and cities.

    smart fourfour, W453

    The international brand campaign entitled “FOR” has already conveyed emotionally how the brand sets itself apart from the competition: smart embodies the attitude of being FOR something and creates more urban joie de vivre. This attitude is now consistently continued in the two product campaigns. The campaign for the smart fortwo positions the vehicle as being “The urban original”. The campaign for the new smart forfour also continues the umbrella idea “FOR” and demonstrates the distinctive feature of the smart forfour as being “the smart among the four-seaters”. The international campaigns supply content for all communication channels, from print media and TV to online and social media.

    “FOR sums up the unique quality of smart in just three letters. The brand, the smart drivers, and especially the employees stand for a new concept of mobility: more colour and joie de vivre, more room and clever solutions, more safety and driving fun in the city. We embrace this fundamental attitude in our communication with colorful, creative and varied elements – and with our new for two and forfour from November we will also put this concept on the road more emphatically than ever before,” remarks smart boss Dr Annette Winkler.

    smart fourfour, W453

    The product campaigns commence the second and third parts of the international launch communication for the new smart generation and are a seamless continuation of the “FOR” communication.

    With the three messages
    “FOR being a pioneer.”, “FOR loving the city even more.” and “FOR challenging the status quo.”, the commercial (http://youtu.be/0IGTAOmqCNg) shows that the brand and product values go hand in hand. In addition to a 30-second version, three commercials each lasting 15 seconds were made to convey these messages.

    The TV commercial for the smart forfour focuses on the fact that this vehicle has been built to meet the demands of the city better than any other four-seater. Five commercials will be shown, lasting 60, 30 and 15 seconds.

    The eye-catching print motifs for the smart fortwo have a new, dynamic and colourful look & feel, showing an iconic image of the car. The print communication will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, the smart fortwo will be positioned as “The urban original” with the three messages “FOR being a pioneer.”, “FOR loving the city even more.” and “FOR challenging the status quo.”. By contrast, the motifs in the second phase will focus on individual features that make the smart fortwo unique and new. The topics range from the exterior (“FOR a colorful city.”) and interior design (“FOR more beauty inside.”) to the turning circle (“FOR rushing through rush hour.”) and packability (“FOR fitting in every gap.”) as well as agility (“FOR more punch per inch.”) and safety (“FOR more safety on streets and seats.”). MORE »

    Topics: Smart | No comments »

    35 years of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Anniversary with world record and special model

    by Philipp Deppe | 16.Oktober 2014

    One man, one G, one life’s work. That sums up the essence of an unprecedented global adventure. When Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine set out in their Mercedes-Benz 300 GD to visit as many of the countries around the world as possible, the G-Class was just ten years old. Today, some 26 years, just under 900,000 kilometres, and 215 visited countries later, Gunther Holtorf drove his cherished G – christened ‘Otto’ – back home to Swabia.

    „Otto“ and G-Class Edition 35

    The marathon vehicle will take pride of place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, where it will go on show to visitors in the Classic Cars section from 21 October. As a world-record holder, ‘Otto’ will also be immortalised in the Guinness World Records. Since the finish of this unique journey around the world will coincide with the 35th anniversary of the G-Class, the occasion will be marked with the launch of the highly exclusive G 350 BlueTEC Edition 35 and G 500 Edition 35 special models.

    When the vehicle was officially handed over to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, was equally impressed by the driver and the vehicle. “I promise that there will still be a G-Class in the future. Will there be more characters of Mr Holtorf’s ilk in the future? I hope so,” said Dr Zetsche.

    "OTTO'S" ROUND-THE-WORLD-RECORD-TOUR 1989-2014

    For 77-year-old Gunther Holtorf, his Mercedes-Benz 300 GD, which his wife Christine affectionately christened ‘Otto’, is quite simply the expedition vehicle par excellence for this kind of (torturous) tour. “In 1988, when I bought the car I was a bit more sceptical about the promise made by Mercedes-Benz, namely “Where there’s a G, there’s a way”. After all, I’d already seen something of the world beforehand and had a rough idea of what the vehicle would have to endure on this kind of world tour!” This initial scepticism gave way though to an unreserved trust in Otto’s capabilities as the years went by. Especially in precarious situations, the symbiosis between the Holtorfs and the G-Class grew.

    "OTTO'S" ROUND-THE-WORLD-RECORD-TOUR 1989-2014

    Earth – Moon – Earth plus 80,000 km under gruelling conditions
    The 300 GD covered over 250,000 of the just under 900,000 kilometres off-road, perfectly in tune with its innate characteristics. On gravel or washboard roads, in mud, on pot-holed roads or rocky uphill stretches in the mountains – for the suspension and chassis this punishing workout is equivalent to around 2.5 million kilometres under normal central European conditions. In addition to the challenging terrain there were also the disparate meteorological conditions to contend with, which ‘Otto’ took in its stride throughout all the world’s climate zones – from the unforgiving searing heat of the desert, through steaming jungle regions to the freezing cold of the Arctic climes. As if the demands on the 300 GD were not already high enough, ‘Otto’ actually always had to contend with overweight. Including expedition gear and food, with jerry cans, operating supplies, tools, recovery gear, spare parts and spare wheels, the expedition vehicle fully tipped the scales at 3.3 tonnes – around 500 kilograms in excess of the permissible gross vehicle weight. The roof alone of the cross-country vehicle had to take 400 kilograms. But according to the Holtorfs even that could not faze the world record vehicle: “Actually the G was always overladen, which is why I fitted it with reinforced springs and bad-road shock absorbers. Otherwise, ‘Otto’ remains like any series-production vehicle. The entire drivetrain with the engine, transmission and axles is still original. Neither the frame nor the body have shown any signs of fatigue.” MORE »

    Topics: G-Class | No comments »

    The official World Champion T-shirt now available

    by Philipp Deppe | 15.Oktober 2014

    After the weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, one thing is clear: the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS has prematurely won the prestigious Constructors’ World Championship in Formula 1 for 2014.

    F1 WM T-Shirt

    As it also applies to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the World Champions drive Mercedes. The official t-shirt, worn by the Formula 1 Team during the celebration after winning the title at the Sochi Autodrom, is now available online at http://shop.mercedes-benz.com or at the Mercedes-Benz sales partners.

    F1 WM T-Shirt

    Formula 1 fans are being fashionable on the winner’s podium while wearing the new official Constructors’ World Championship t-shirt. On the front of the black t-shirt is written in big letters, “WORLD CHAMPIONS 2014” as well as the name of the winning Formula 1 car, “F1 W05 HYBRID”. On the back of the t-shirt is a stylized laurel wreath, in the middle the Mercedes-Benz star and the words “2014 WORLD CHAMPIONS CONSTRUCTORS”. On the right sleeve is the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS logo. MORE »

    Topics: Marketing, Motorsports | No comments »

    Hamilton, Coulthard & Alesi at finale of DTM season in Hockenheim

    by Philipp Deppe | 14.Oktober 2014

    Some celebrity guests from Formula 1 will attend the finale of the DTM (18th-19th October 2014) at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg – former Formula 1 and DTM drivers Jean Alesi and David Coulthard will guest in Hockenheim, along with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

    Hamilton, Alesi und Coulthard certainly know their way around the DTM paddock. During 2004 and 2005, the Formula 1 world championship title contender lined up in the Formula 3 Euro Series which is a support series to the DTM. Hamilton won the championship in 2005 in a Dallara Mercedes prepared by ASM, taking 15 wins and 17 podiums from 20 races. Hamilton was at last year’s DTM finale in Hockenheim.

    “I’ve got fond memories of the DTM under whose banner I spent two years lining up in the Formula 3 Euro Series,” said Lewis Hamilton. “I’m looking forward to seeing old acquaintances and friends once again. Mercedes-Benz gave me the opportunity to try out a DTM car for the first time last year. The car was very powerful, and driving it was a lot of fun, even on a wet track.”

    Alesi and Coulthard both lined up in the DTM with Mercedes-Benz. Alesi competed in 51 DTM races for Mercedes-Benz between 2002-2006. During that time, he secured four wins, seven podiums and three pole positions. The winner of the 1995 Canadian GP notched up a total of 122 points in the DTM. MORE »

    Topics: Motorsports | No comments »

    Unstoppable: B-Class F-CELL sets continuous running record

    by Philipp Deppe | 13.Oktober 2014

    With more than 300,000 kilometers, a B-Class F-CELL from the current fuel cell electric vehicle fleet of Mercedes-Benz has achieved a continuous running record under normal everyday conditions.

    The world’s unique and still running test show that fuel cell cars are reliable even under extreme stress and over several years. For this achievement, Daimler AG was honored with the “f-cell Award 2014″ and therefore was, for the third time, convincing with its developments in the field of fuel cell technology in the competition for the Fuel Cell Innovation Award. “The test is a step in the direction of series-ready application of the fuel cell drive train”, says the jury comprising of experts from economics, science and politics.

    Produced under series production conditions, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL has already been in day-to-day use with customers in the European and American markets since 2010. Today, the total mileage of the Daimler fuel cell fleet, which now numbers more than 300 vehicles, including numerous research vehicles, reaches far more than 9 million kilometres. Based on the current and pending results, the Mercedes engineers expect to identify further potential for optimization, which will flow directly into the development of the next generation of fuel cell electric vehicles. The company has the clear objective to develop a common drive train in cooperation with Ford and Nissan and to bring competitive fuel cell electric vehicles in large numbers on the streets by 2017. MORE »

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    Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Grand Prix in Sotchi – Mercedes AMG Constructors Champions 2014

    by Philipp Deppe | 12.Oktober 2014

    Lewis Hamilton won the first ever Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix today at the Sochi Autodrom, with teammate Nico Rosberg finishing second after a strong recovery drive from a first lap pit-stop.

    The 1-2 victory is the team’s ninth in 2014 and sealed the F1 Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes-Benz. This is the first time in 120 years of motorsport that Mercedes-Benz has won the World Championship as a constructor. Lewis’ win means he equals the record number of wins for a British driver, set by Nigel Mansell (31). All of today’s top 5 finishers were powered by Mercedes-Benz, a fitting result to seal the company’s first Constructors’ title.

    Lewis Hamilton: It was a good day and an amazing weekend. Firstly I’m so proud to have contributed to the work of this great team, to get the first Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes-Benz is a huge achievement. Massive congratulations to the guys back in the UK and Germany, it’s history for us. Today I had to manage the tyres a lot through the race; managing the fuel wasn’t too bad. The car felt great and I didn’t have to push too hard. At the end, when Nico was behind, I needed to match his times, which I did. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the weekend here in Russia, it’s a great place. It’s been one of my favourite venues so far this year, so it’s very cool to have won the first race here. ‎The fans have been amazing; I didn’t know so many people followed it here but they were all there in the grandstands and looked excited! The organizers have also done a great job – the layout, the surface and the whole event; I take my hat off to them.

    Nico Rosberg: We are World Champions! I feel so happy for the team and the whole Mercedes-Benz family, today we made history. Thanks to everybody for their efforts, also thanks to the husbands and wives to send us your partners to make this happen. I remember well the hard times we had in this team. So now it’s great to be so dominant in our sport. But I’m also divided. Today was a really tough race for me. I just messed up in the first corner. I simply braked too late, which was unnecessary. So I flat spotted my front tyres and it was impossible to continue due to the vibrations. I had to pit, and on the prime tyre I had great pace. In the middle of the race I thought the degradation would start to increase. But very soon it was stable and I was able to push a lot. Then I managed to overtake Bottas. Also still at the end I was able to push, but the team asked me to control the pace as everyone was worried about dropping at the very end of the race. P2 was damage limitation. I really look forward to the last 3 races of the year with this outstanding championship car. MORE »

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    First and second in qualifying for Mercedes AMG – Lewis Hamilton with Pole

    by Philipp Deppe | 11.Oktober 2014

    Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in qualifying this afternoon for the 2014 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

    The team scored a fifth consecutive front-row lockout – and its ninth in all in 2014 – this afternoon in Sochi. Lewis’ 38th career pole position marks the team’s 15th pole from 16 races during the 2014 season. Both drivers completed just three runs in qualifying, using one set of option tyres in each part of the session. This marks the fifth time in 2014 that Mercedes-powered cars have secured the top four qualifying positions.

    Lewis Hamilton
    It’s an amazing feeling to come to this beautiful place and to race on this track. It’s fun to drive. Today, the laps in practice felt more special. In qualifying it seemed a bit harder to get that special lap but I’m grateful that I was able to improve. I crossed the line and I was just hoping I got it; when they tell you, it’s the biggest relief – a great feeling. The corners are mostly medium and high speed where you need a lot of downforce, so tomorrow should be a challenge. It’s a long run down to Turn One and we need to be mindful there are opportunities to overtake here‎. It was great to see such a strong turnout for the first Saturday of running at this new track. Hopefully we can give them a good show tomorrow.

    Nico Rosberg
    That was a very difficult qualifying today; we had to adapt a lot of things. The track is new and so unique: the tyres last very long as the surface is very smooth. Lewis was just quicker today so I need to have a good start tomorrow. Starting from the front-row is still a good position to begin the race. I guess this will be an exciting Grand Prix; there will be some opportunities to overtake on the straights and I am sure we will see plenty of action on track.

    MORE »

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    Preview 2014 Russian Grand Prix

    by Philipp Deppe | 10.Oktober 2014

    Round 16 of the 2014 Formula One World Championship brings us to Sochi for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, held at the Sochi Circuit.

    The Sochi circuit, located in the Black Sea resort of the same name, is the first purpose-built Formula One facility in Russia and will host the country’s inaugural Grand Prix in 2014. Located within Sochi’s impressive Olympic Park facility and winding its way around many of the architecturally eye-catching venues that were built for the Games, the 5.853 kilometer circuit will provide a fresh challenge to teams and drivers alike.

    Plans for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix first came to prominence in 2010, with construction of the facility falling under the design supervision of Hermann Tilke. The track itself varies in width from 13 metres at its narrowest point to 15 metres at the start-finish line. Running in a clockwise direction, the layout consists of 12 right-hand and seven left-hand corners and combines both high-speed and technical sections.

    With any new circuit, teams have no reliance on historical information. Data from other circuits will not be of particular use due to a lack of knowledge of tarmac characteristics, track layout, kerb configuration and so on. Predicting weather patterns, too, will be a relative unknown, with no prior knowledge of know how rain clouds form – i.e. whether they are blown in or form in cells above the circuit – for example. However, some understanding can be gleaned from simulations and video footage, while traditional methods and simulation tools are also much more heavily relied upon. By the time the teams arrive in Russia, each will have simulated thousands of laps of the circuit – ensuring the deepest possible knowledge of what will be believed to be the sweep of grips levels, performance parameters and likely setup configurations required. Initial impressions suggest that the Sochi Autodrom is a more traditional Hermann Tilke designed circuit, with plenty of long straights, relatively flat kerns and one or two key overtaking zones.

    At any new circuit, the best drivers on the grid will come to the fore. They will be the ones who get up to speed the fastest and are able to seek performance gains the soonest while others are still learning the track and trying to understand the tyres. Each step of the race weekend can be viewed as a continual set of building blocks. A driver who gets up to speed faster, be it by a few laps or an entire run, will find himself working a few ‘blocks’ further ahead relative to the competition. He can therefore begin to look at setup changes earlier, which will naturally bring an advantage when it comes to qualifying and the race. Again, though, it is essential to follow the natural progression of the ‘blocks’ rather than trying to jump a few steps ahead, as this will inevitably result in a driver losing his way.

    Lewis Hamilton: “It’s difficult to know what to say after a weekend like the one in Japan. As I crossed the line, obviously I was pleased to have finally won at Suzuka – but as soon as we got back to the pits and heard what happened to Jules it suddenly didn’t seem relevant anymore. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. This weekend is a new experience for Formula One as we head to Russia for the first time. I like a challenge and a new circuit always provides that. Of course, we’ve run through plenty of laps on the simulator – but you never really know what it will be like until you get out there and feel your way into the track. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s really like and how our car performs there. It felt great in the race in Japan and I’m sure it will be strong again in Sochi, so I’m hoping to keep up this run of results that we’ve built in the last few races.” MORE »

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