Mercedes-Benz (German: [mɛɐ̯ˈtseːdəsˌbɛnts, -dɛs-]), commonly referred to as Mercedes, is both a German automotive brand and, from late 2019 onwards, a subsidiary – as Mercedes-Benz AG – of Daimler AG. Mercedes-Benz is known for producing luxury vehicles and commercial vehicles. The headquarters is in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg. The name first appeared in 1926 as Daimler-Benz. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz was the largest seller of premium vehicles in the world, having sold 2.31 million passenger cars.
|Founded||28 June 1926|
|Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management|
|2,164,187 cars worldwide (2020)|
The company's origins come from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft's 1901 Mercedes and Karl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first internal combustion engine in a self-propelled automobile. The fuel was not gasoline, but rather a much more volatile petroleum spirit called ligroin. The slogan for the brand is "the best or nothing".
Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first internal combustion engine in a car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, financed by Bertha Benz's dowry and patented in January 1886, and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG).
Emil Jellinek, a European automobile entrepreneur who worked with DMG, created the trademark in 1902, naming the 1901 Mercedes 35 hp after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. Jellinek was a businessman and marketing strategist who promoted "horseless" Daimler automobiles among the highest circles of society in his adopted home, which, at that time, was a meeting place for the "Haute Volée" of France and Europe, especially in winter. His customers included the Rothschild family and other well-known personalities. But Jellinek's plans went further: as early as 1901, he was selling Mercedes cars in the New World as well, including US billionaires Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan, and Taylor. At a race in Nice in 1899, Jellinek drove under the pseudonym "Monsieur Mercédès", a way of concealing the competitor's real name as was normal and very regularly done in those days. The race ranks as the hour of birth of the Mercedes-Benz brand. In 1901, the name "Mercedes" was registered by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) worldwide as a protected trademark. The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company on 28 June of the same year.
Gottlieb Daimler was born on 17 March 1834 in Schorndorf. After training as a gunsmith and working in France, he attended the Polytechnic School in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859. After completing various technical activities in France and England, he started working as a draftsman in Geislingen in 1862. At the end of 1863, he was appointed workshop inspector in a machine tool factory in Reutlingen, where he met Wilhelm Maybach in 1865.
Throughout the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz produced the 770 model, a car that was popular during Germany's Nazi period. Adolf Hitler was known to have been driven in these cars during his time in power, with bulletproof windshields. Most of the surviving models have been sold at auctions to private buyers. One of them is currently on display at the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. The pontiff's Popemobile has often been sourced from Mercedes-Benz.
From 1937 onwards, Daimler Benz focused increasingly on military products, such as the LG3000 lorry and the DB600 and DB601 aero engines. To build the latter, in 1936 it built a factory hidden in the forest at Genshagen 10 km south of Berlin. By 1942 it had virtually stopped making cars, and was entirely devoted to the war effort. According to its own statement, in 1944 almost half of its 63,610 employees were forced labourers, prisoners of war or concentration camp detainees. Another source places this figure at 46,000 forced labourers working in Daimler-Benz's factories to bolster Nazi war efforts. The company later paid $12 million in reparations to the labourers' families.
In 1958, the company began a partnership to sell their cars in the United States with Studebaker and some American dealerships converted to Mercedes-Benz dealerships when the company ended business in 1966.
Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the best-known and established automotive brands in the world.
In November 2019, Daimler AG announced that Mercedes-Benz, up until that point a company marque, would be spun off into a separate wholly owned subsidiary called Mercedes-Benz AG. The new subsidiary would manage the Mercedes-Benz's car and van business. Mercedes-Benz-badged trucks and buses would be part of the Daimler Truck AG subsidiary.
For information relating to the three-pointed star symbol of the brand, see under the title Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, including the merger into Daimler-Benz.
Subsidiaries and alliances
As part of the Daimler AG company, the Mercedes-Benz Cars division includes Mercedes-Benz and Smart car production.
Mercedes-AMG became a majority owned division of Mercedes-Benz in 1999. The company was integrated into DaimlerChrysler in 1999, and became Mercedes-Benz AMG beginning on 1 January 1999.
Daimler's ultra-luxury Maybach brand was under the Mercedes-Benz cars division until December 2012, when production was stopped due to poor sales volumes. It now exists under the Mercedes-Maybach name, with the models being ultra-luxury versions of Mercedes-Benz cars, such as the 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600. In November 2019, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 SUV debuted.
Daimler cooperates with BYD Auto to make and sell a battery-electric car called Denza in China. In 2016, Daimler announced plans to sell Mercedes-Benz branded all-electric battery cars in China. Beijing Benz is a joint venture with BAIC Group to produce Mercedes-Benz branded cars in China. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz apologized for inciting controversy in China by quoting the Dalai Lama on an Instagram post.
Beside its native Germany, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are, or have been, also manufactured or assembled in:
|Algeria||Africa||Manufactures buses and trucks in cooperation with SNVI (Actros, Zetros, Unimog, and G-Class, Sprinter).|
|Argentina||South America||Manufactures buses, trucks, the Vito and the Sprinter van. This is the first Mercedes-Benz factory outside of Germany. Built in 1951.|
|Australia||Australia||Various models were assembled at the Australian Motor Industries facility in Port Melbourne from 1959 to 1965.|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Europe|
|Brazil||South America||Manufactures trucks and buses. Established in 1956. The A-Class (W168) was produced from 1999 to 2005 and the C-Class was produced until 2010 as well.|
|Canada||North America||Fuel cell plant in Burnaby, British Columbia, opened 2012.|
|Colombia||South America||Assembly of buses, Established in Soacha 2012 and Funza 2015|
|China||Asia||Beijing Benz, manufactures A-Class, C-Class, E-Class, GLA-Class, GLB-Class, GLC-Class and EQC-Class for mainland China market.|
|Denmark||Europe||Bohnstedt-Petersen A/S assembled the models 130 and W136 between 1935-1955, although no production took place during the Second World War. Between 1955 and 1966 the models W120, W121 and W110, together with the van L319 and a number of trucks and buses, were assembled by the company in Hillerød. Assembly of special variants of Mercedes-Benz trucks continued until 1984.|
|Egypt||Africa||Via Egyptian German Automotive Company E-Class, C-Class and GLK|
|Finland||Europe||Valmet Automotive, New A-series (W176) is manufactured in Uusikaupunki since late 2013, being the first M-B passenger car ever built in that country.|
|Hungary||Europe||Manufacturing plant in Kecskemét, making B-class and CLA.|
|Jordan||Asia||Bus company factory, Elba House, Amman.|
|India||Asia||Bangalore (R&D), Pune (C-Class, E-Class, S-Class/Maybach, GLA/GLE Class/AMG). Chennai (Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd.) Buses, Trucks & Engine Manufacturing unit.|
|Indonesia||Asia||Manufactures Axor trucks, coach buses, C, GLC, E, GLE, S, GLS and V vehicles.|
|Malaysia||Asia||Assembly of C, E and S class vehicles by DRB-HICOM.|
|Mexico||North America||Mercedes-Benz Mexico fully manufactures some Mercedes and Daimler vehicles completely from locally built parts (C-Class, E-Class, M-Class, International trucks, Axor, Atego, and Mercedes Buses), manufactures other models in complete knock down kits (CL-Class, CLK-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class) and manufactures a select number of models in semi knockdown kits which use both imported components and locally sourced Mexican components (S-Class, CLS-Class, R-Class, GL-Class, Sprinter).|
|Nigeria||Africa||Assembly of buses, trucks, utility motors and the Sprinter van|
|Russia||Eurasia||Joint venture Mercedes-Benz Car Trucks Vostok in Naberezhnye Chelny (jointly Kamaz). Available in trucks Actros, Axor, multi-purpose auto four wheel drive medium trucks Unimog. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic is also produced in Russia.|
|Serbia||Europe||FAP produces Mercedes-Benz trucks under license.|
|Spain||Europe||Factory at Vitoria-Gasteiz Mercedes-Benz Vito, Viano and V-Class have been built there.|
|South Africa||Africa||The assembly plant is located in East London, in the Eastern Cape province, where both right and left hand versions of the C-class are built.|
|South Korea||Asia||Mercedes-Benz Musso and MB100; Ssangyong Rexton models manufactured by SsangYong Motor Company.|
|Taiwan||Asia||Assembly of Actros by the Shung Ye Group|
|Thailand||Asia||Completely Knocked Down (CKD) production of A, GLA, C, E, S Classes and Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) production of C-coupe, GLC, GLC-coupe, GLE and CLS. Additionally, local production of Mercedes-AMG such as C43, E53 and CLS53 have been integrated to the existing production lines making it unofficially regarded as the largest Mercedes-Benz factory by number of classes produced under a single roof. The factory is operated by contract manufacture the Thonburi Group under supervision of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing (Thailand).|
|Turkey||Eurasia||Mercedes-Benz Türk A.Ş.|
|United Kingdom||Europe||The SLR sports car was built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. Brackley, Northamptonshire, is home to the Mercedes Grand Prix factory, and Brixworth, Northamptonshire is the location of Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines|
|United States||North America||The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Sport Utility, the full-sized GL-Class Luxury Sport Utility and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles are all built at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International production facility near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Trucks (6,000 per year in the early eighties) were once assembled in Hampton, Virginia.|
|Vietnam||Asia||Assembly of E-Class, C-Class, S-Class, GLK-Class and Sprinter. Established in 1995.|
Since its inception, Mercedes-Benz has maintained a reputation for its quality and durability. Objective measures looking at passenger vehicles, such as J. D. Power surveys, demonstrated a downturn in reputation in these criteria in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By mid-2005, Mercedes temporarily returned to the industry average for initial quality, a measure of problems after the first 90 days of ownership, according to J. D. Power. In J. D. Power's Initial Quality Study for the first quarter of 2007, Mercedes showed dramatic improvement by climbing from 25th to 5th place and earning several awards for its models. For 2008, Mercedes-Benz's initial quality rating improved by yet another mark, to fourth place. On top of this accolade, it also received the Platinum Plant Quality Award for its Mercedes’ Sindelfingen, Germany assembly plant. J. D. Power's 2011 US Initial Quality and Vehicle Dependability Studies both ranked Mercedes-Benz vehicles above average in build quality and reliability. In the 2011 UK J. D. Power Survey, Mercedes cars were rated above average. A 2014 iSeeCars.com study for Reuters found Mercedes to have the lowest vehicle recall rate.
Current model range
Mercedes-Benz offers a full range of passenger, light commercial and heavy commercial equipment. Vehicles are manufactured in multiple countries worldwide. The Smart marque of city cars are also produced by Daimler AG.
- A-Class – Subcompact luxury Hatchback and Sedan
- B-Class – Subcompact luxury Multi Purpose Vehicle
- C-Class – Compact executive luxury Sedan/Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet
- CLA – Subcompact luxury 4-Door Coupé and Estate
- CLS – Mid-size luxury 4-Door Coupé
- E-Class – Mid-size executive luxury Sedan/Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet
- G-Class – Luxury Off-road vehicle
- GLA – Subcompact luxury Crossover
- GLB – Compact luxury Crossover
- GLC – Compact luxury Sport utility vehicle
- GLE – Mid-size luxury Sport utility vehicle
- GLS – Full-size luxury Sport utility vehicle
- S-Class – Full-size luxury Sedan/Saloon, Coupé and Cabriolet
- V-Class – Luxury Multi Purpose Vehicle
- AMG GT – Luxury Sports car
- AMG GT4 – Luxury sports 4-Door Coupé
- EQA - Luxury Electric Crossover
- EQB - Luxury Electric Crossover
- EQC - Luxury Electric Sport utility vehicle
- EQV - Luxury Electric Multi Purpose Vehicle
Mercedes-Benz produces a range of vans; Citan, Vito, and Sprinter
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is now part of the Daimler Trucks division and includes companies that were part of the DaimlerChrysler merger. Gottlieb Daimler sold the world's first truck in 1886. The first factory to be built outside Germany after WWII was in Argentina. It originally built trucks, many of which were modified independently to buses, popularly named Colectivo. Today, it builds buses, trucks, the Vito and the Sprinter van.
Mercedes-Benz has been making buses since 1895 in Mannheim in Germany. Since 1995, the brand of Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches is under the umbrella of EvoBus GmbH, belonging 100% to the Daimler AG. Mercedes-Benz produces a wide range of buses and coaches, mainly for Europe and Asia. The first model was produced by Karl Benz in 1895.
Significant models produced
- 1928: SSK racing car
- 1930: 770 "Großer Mercedes" state and ceremonial car
- 1934: 500 K
- 1936: 260 D World's first diesel production car
- 1936: 170
- 1938: W125 Record-breaking experimental
- 1939: 320A
- 1951: 300, known as the "Adenauer Mercedes"
- 1953: "Ponton" models
- 1954: 300SL "Gullwing"
- 1956: 190SL
- 1959: "Fintail" models
- 1960: 220SE Cabriolet
- 1963: 600 "Grand Mercedes"
- 1963: 230SL "Pagoda"
- 1965: S-Class
- 1966: 300SEL 6.3
- 1968: W114 "new generation" compact cars
- 1969: C111 experimental vehicle
- 1972: W107 350SL
- 1974: 450SEL 6.9
- 1977: W123- Mercedes' first station wagon
- 1978: 300SD - Mercedes' first turbo diesel
- 1979: 500SEL and G-Class
- 1983: 190E 2.3–16
- 1989: 300SL, 500SL
- 1990: 500E
- 1991: 600SEL
- 1993: C-Class
- 1995: C43 AMG
- 1995: SL73 AMG, 7.3 V12
- 1996: SLK
- 1997: A-Class and M-Class
- 2004: SLR McLaren and CLS-Class
- 2007: BlueTec E320, GL320 Bluetec, ML320 Bluetec, R320 Bluetec
- 2010: SLS AMG
- 2013: CLA-Class
- 2016: AMG GT
Until 1994, Mercedes-Benz utilized an alphanumeric system for categorizing their vehicles, consisting of a number sequence approximately equal to the engine's displacement in liters multiplied by 100, followed by an arrangement of alphabetical suffixes, indicating body style and engine type.
- "C" indicates a coupe or cabriolet body style (for example, the CL and CLK models, though the C-Class is an exception, since it is also available as a sedan or station wagon).
- "D" indicates the vehicle is equipped with a diesel engine.
- "E" (for "Einspritzung") indicates the vehicle's engine is equipped with petrol fuel injection. Also used for electric models and plug-in hybrids.
- "G" was originally used for the Geländewagen off-road vehicle, but is now applied to Mercedes SUVs in general (G, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLK, and GLS).
- "K" was used in the 1930s, indicating a supercharger ("Kompressor") equipped engine. Three exceptions : the SLK, SSK and CLK, where K indicates "Kurz" (short-wheelbase) (though the SLK and SSK had a supercharger).
- "L" indicates "Leicht" (lightweight) for sporting models and "Lang" (long-wheelbase) for sedan models.
- "R" indicates "Rennen" (racing), used for racing cars (for example, the 300SLR).
- "S" Sonderklasse "Special class" for flagship models, including the S-Class, and SL-Class, SLR McLaren, and SLS sports cars.
- "T" indicates "Touring" and an estate (or station wagon) body style.
Some models in the 1950s also had lower-case letters (b, c, and d) to indicate specific trim levels. For other models, the numeric part of the designation does not match the engine displacement. This was done to show the model's position in the model range independent of displacement or in the price matrix. For these vehicles, the actual displacement in litres is suffixed to the model designation. An exception was the 190-class with the numeric designation of "190" as to denote its entry-level in the model along with the displacement label on the right side of the boot (190E 2.3 for 2.3-litre 4-cylinder petrol motor, 190D 2.5 for 2.5-litre 5-cylinder diesel motor, and so forth). Some older models (such as the SS and SSK) did not have a number as part of the designation at all.
1994 to 2014
For the 1994 model year, Mercedes-Benz revised the naming system. Models were divided into "classes" denoted by an arrangement of up to three letters (see "Current model range" above), followed by a three-digit (or two-digit for AMG models, with the number approximately equal to the displacement in litres multiplied by 10) number related to the engine displacement as before. Variants of the same model such as an estate version or a vehicle with a diesel engine are no longer given a separate letter. The SLR and SLS supercars do not carry a numerical designation.
Today, many numerical designations no longer reflect the engine's actual displacement, but more of the relative performance and marketing position. Despite its engine displacement in two litres, the powerplant in the A45 AMG produces 355 brake horsepower so the designation is higher as to indicate the greater performance. Another example is the E250 CGI having greater performance than the E200 CGI due to the different engine tuning even though both have 1.8-litre engines. From the marketing perspective, E200 seems more "upscale" than E180. Recent AMG models use the "63" designation (in honor of the 1960s 6.3-litre M100 engine) despite being equipped with either a 6.2-litre (M156), a 5.5-litre (M157) or even a 4.0-litre engine.
Some models carry further designations indicating special features:
- "4MATIC" indicates the vehicle is equipped with all-wheel-drive.
- "BlueTEC" indicates a diesel engine with selective catalytic reduction exhaust aftertreatment.
- "BlueEFFICIENCY" indicates special fuel economy features (direct injection, start-stop system, aerodynamic modifications, etc.)
- "CGI" (Charged Gasoline Injection) indicates direct gasoline injection.
- "CDI" (Common-rail Direct Injection) indicates a common-rail diesel engine.
- "Hybrid" indicates a petrol- or diesel-electric hybrid.
- "NGT" indicates a natural gas-fueled engine.
- "Kompressor" indicates a supercharged engine.
- "Turbo" indicates a turbocharged engine, only used on A-, B-, E- and GLK-Class models.
- "AMG Line" indicates the interior or engine, depending which car, has been fitted with the luxuries of their AMG sports cars
Model designation badges can be removed at the request of the customer.
2015 and beyond
Rationalisation of the model nomenclature was announced in November 2014 for future models. The changes consolidate many confusing nomenclature and their placements in the model range such as CL-Class is now called the S-Class Coupé. The naming structure is divided into four categories: core, off-road vehicle/SUV, 4-door coupé, and roadster. AMG GT and V-Class are unaffected by the change. In October 2016, Mercedes unveiled the X-Class; a pickup truck built on the Nissan Navara. At the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the company announced the EQ, a family of upcoming battery electric vehicles based on a modular platform, expected to represent up to 25% of its global sales by 2025.
|Core||Off-Road Vehicles/SUV||4-Door Coupé||Roadster|
Note: The CLA is positioned between the A- and B-Class models, while the CLS sits between the E- and S-Classes.
In addition to the revised nomenclature, Mercedes-Benz has new suffix nomenclature for the drive systems.
|Natural Gas Drive||c for "compressed natural gas"||B 200 c|
|d for "diesel"||E 350 d
GLA 200 d
|e for "electric"||S 500 e
B 250 e
|Fuel Cell||f for "fuel cell"||B 200 f|
|h for "hybrid"||S 400 h
E 300 h
|4MATIC||4MATIC (4-wheel drive)||E 400 4MATIC|
The revised A45 AMG for 2016 model year on has shifted the model designation to the right side while AMG is on the left side. This trend commenced with Mercedes-Maybach with MAYBACH on the left and S500/S600 on the right.
Mercedes-Benz has developed multi-concept cars with alternative propulsion, such as hybrid-electric, fully electric, and fuel-cell powertrains. At the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, Mercedes-Benz showed seven hybrid models, including the F700 concept car, powered by a hybrid-electric drivetrain featuring the DiesOtto engine. In 2009, Mercedes-Benz displayed three BlueZERO concepts at the North American International Auto Show. Each car features a different powertrain - battery-electric, fuel-cell electric, and gasoline-electric hybrid. In the same year, Mercedes also showed the Vision S500 PHEV concept with a 19 miles (31 km) all-electric range and CO
2 emissions of 74 grams/km in the New European Driving Cycle.
Since 2002, Mercedes-Benz has developed the F-Cell fuel cell vehicle. The current version, based on the B-Class, has a 250-mile range and is available for lease, with volume production scheduled to begin in 2014. Mercedes has also announced the SLS AMG E-Cell, a fully electric version of the SLS sports car, with deliveries expected in 2013. The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID was launched in 2009, and is the first production automotive hybrid in the world to use a lithium-ion battery. In mid-2010, production commenced on the Vito E-Cell all-electric van.
In 2008, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would have a demonstration fleet of small electric cars in two to three years. Mercedes-Benz and Smart are preparing for the widespread uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK by beginning the installation of recharging points across their dealer networks. So far 20 Elektrobay recharging units, produced in the UK by Brighton-based Elektromotive, have been installed at seven locations as part of a pilot project, and further expansion of the initiative is planned later in 2010.
In the United States, Mercedes-Benz was assessed a record US$30.66 million fine for their decision to not meet the federal corporate average fuel economy standard in 2009. Certain Mercedes-Benz cars, including the S550 and all AMG models sold in the United States, also face an additional gas guzzler tax. However, newer AMG models fitted with the M157 engine will not be subject to the gas-guzzler tax, due to improved fuel economy, and newer models powered by the M276 and M278 engines will have better fuel economy. In 2008, Mercedes also had the worst CO
2 average of all major European manufacturers, ranking 14th out of 14 manufacturers. Mercedes was also the worst manufacturer in 2007 and 2006 in terms of average CO
2 levels, with 181 g and 188 g of CO
2 emitted per km, respectively.
Mercedes has opened its sixth battery factory in 2018, which makes it a tough competitor to Tesla, Inc. The six factories are established across 3 continents.
The brand has also launched its electric EQ brand with the EQC SUV which was set for production in the year 2019. In September 2018, Mercedes unveiled the EQC, its first fully electric car, at an event in Stockholm.
While releasing details of the project, Markus Schäfer said,
"Our electric vehicles will be built in six plants on three continents. We address every market segment: from the smart fortwo seater to the large SUV. The battery is the key component of e-mobility. As batteries are the heart of our electric vehicles we put a great emphasis on building them in our own factories. With our global battery network, we are in an excellent position: As we are close to our vehicle plants we can ensure the optimal supply of production. In case of a short-term high demand in another part of the world our battery factories are also well prepared for export. The electric initiative of Mercedes-Benz Cars is right on track. Our global production network is ready for e-mobility. We are electrifying the future." After Audi declared that it would cut more than 9,000 jobs by 2025, the owner of Mercedes-Benz announced that the company will shed around 10,000 jobs worldwide to focus on electric cars.
The two companies which were merged to form the Mercedes-Benz brand in 1926 had both already enjoyed success in the new sport of motor racing throughout their separate histories. A single Benz competed in the world's first motor race, the 1894 Paris–Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th in 10 hours 1 minute. Throughout its long history, the company has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sports car racing and rallying. On several occasions, Mercedes-Benz has withdrawn completely from motorsport for a significant period, notably in the late 1930s, and after the 1955 Le Mans disaster, where a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR rammed another car (an Austin-Healey), took off into the stands, and killed more than 80 spectators. Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson won the 1955 Mille Miglia road race in Italy during a record-breaking drive with an average speed of almost 98 mph in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.
Although there was some activity in the intervening years, it was not until 1987 that Mercedes-Benz returned to front line competition, returning to Le Mans, Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), and Formula One with Sauber. The 1990s saw Mercedes-Benz partner with British engine builder Ilmor (now Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines), and campaign IndyCars under the USAC/CART rules, eventually winning the 1994 Indianapolis 500 and 1994 CART IndyCar World Series Championship with Al Unser Jr. at the wheel. The 1990s also saw the return of Mercedes-Benz to GT racing with the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, which took the company to two titles in FIA's GT1 class.
Mercedes-Benz is currently active in four motorsport categories, Formula Three, Formula E, Formula One and GT3.
Mercedes-Benz took part in the world championship in 1954 and 1955, but despite being successful with two championship titles for Juan-Manuel Fangio, the company left the sport after just two seasons.
Mercedes-Benz returned as an engine manufacturer in 1994, with the engines being designed and manufactured by Ilmor in Brixworth. It initially partnered with Sauber, before switching to McLaren in 1995. Although the Mercedes engines were not successful at first, they later won drivers' championships for Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999, and for Lewis Hamilton in 2008, as well as a constructors' championship in 1998. Mercedes part-owned McLaren, and the collaboration had been extended into the production of road-going cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
In 2009, Ross Brawn's newly conceived Formula One team, Brawn GP used Mercedes engines to help win the constructors' championship, and Jenson Button to become drivers' champion. At the end of the season, Mercedes-Benz sold its 40% stake in McLaren to the McLaren Group and bought 70% of the Brawn GP team jointly with an Abu Dhabi-based investment consortium. Brawn GP was renamed Mercedes GP for the 2010 season and became the main team for Mercedes-Benz. The company continued providing engines to other teams under customer relationships.
After major rule changes in 2014, Mercedes clinched the constructors' title with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, after dominating much of the season. Mercedes repeated the feat in 2015, winning 16 out of 19 races, and again in 2016, winning 19 of the 21 races. In the next four years, Mercedes continued their success by winning constructors' championships in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 for a total of seven consecutive titles. In these seven years, Hamilton won the drivers' title in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 while Rosberg won in 2016. They are the only Formula One team to ever win seven consecutive "double-championships".
Prior to pre-season testing of the 2019-20 Formula E Championship, it was announced that Mercedes, through its EQ branch, would join the championship with drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and 2019 FIA Formula 2 season champion Nyck De Vries. The team named their Spark Gen2 challenger the Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 01.
In June 1909, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) registered both a three-pointed and a four-pointed star as trademarks, but only the three-pointed star was used. To DMG, the star symbolized Gottlieb Daimler's aims for universal motorization: on land, water and in the air.
- Paul Bracq – major designer of automobiles in the 20th century
- Adolf Daimler – chief engineer, COO and member of the board of directors 1899–1913. Son of Gottlieb Daimler and developer of the brand logo.
- Béla Barényi – car safety pioneer (rigid passenger safety shell), joined Daimler-Benz in 1937
- Wilhelm Maybach – automotive pioneer, first met Gottlieb Daimler in 1865
- Ferdinand Porsche – founder of Porsche, joined Mercedes in 1923 and developed the Kompressor
- Bruno Sacco – joined Daimler-Benz as a designer in 1958. Head of Design in 1975, retired in 1999
- Rudolf Uhlenhaut – joined Daimler-Benz in 1931, his designs included the Silver Arrows, the 300 SL and 300SLR
- Adolf Eichmann – former Nazi criminal. Worked in Argentina's factory after WWII
- Rudolf Caracciola – one of the greatest GP drivers in history drove MB Silver Arrows in competition.
- Josef Ganz - Technical consultant and "Godfather" of the *Mercedes-Benz W136, with the revolutionary Independent suspension, Swing axle layout.
- Juan Manuel Fangio - Five-time Formula 1 World Champion, honorary president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina from 1987 until his death in 1995.
- Michael Schumacher - Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, drove for Mercedes in the World Endurance Championship in the 80s and then in their Formula One Team from 2010 till 2012.
- Lewis Hamilton - Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, current driver for their Formula One Team since 2013 who holds the all-time record for most pole positions (100) and race victories (98). Despite being a Mercedes driver since 2013, Hamilton has competed his entire career using Mercedes engines since 2007 and has been affiliated with Mercedes since he was 13 years old.
- Nico Rosberg - 2016 Formula 1 World Champion, drove for Mercedes in their Formula One Team from 2010 till 2016. Rosberg won all his races and achieved all his pole positions with Mercedes and is currently a brand ambassador for Mercedes.
Numerous technological innovations have been introduced on Mercedes-Benz automobiles throughout the many years of their production, including:
- The internal combustion engine automobile was developed independently by Benz and Daimler & Maybach in 1886
- Daimler invented the honeycomb radiator of the type still used on all water-cooled vehicles today
- Daimler invented the float carburetor which was used until replaced by fuel injection
- The "drop chassis" – the car originally designated the "Mercedes" by Daimler was also the first car with a modern configuration, having the carriage lowered and set between the front and rear wheels, with a front engine and powered rear wheels. All earlier cars were "horseless carriages", which had high centres of gravity and various engine/drive-train configurations
- The first passenger road car to have brakes on all four wheels (1924)
- In 1936, the Mercedes-Benz 260 D was the first diesel-powered passenger car.
- Mercedes-Benz were the first to offer direct fuel injection on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
- The "safety cage" or "safety cell" construction with front and rear crumple zones was first developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1951. This is considered by many as the most important innovation in automobile construction from a safety standpoint
- In 1959, Mercedes-Benz patented a device that prevents drive wheels from spinning by intervening at the engine, transmission, or brakes. In 1987, Mercedes-Benz applied for its patent by introducing a traction control system that worked under both braking and acceleration
- an Anti-Lock Brake system (ABS) was first offered on the W116 450SEL 6.9. They became standard on the W126 S-Class starting production in 1979 and first sold in most markets in 1980.
- Airbags were first introduced in the European market, beginning with the model year 1981 S-Class.
- Mercedes-Benz was the first to introduce pre-tensioners to seat belts on the 1981 S-Class. In the event of a crash, a pre-tensioner will tighten the belt instantaneously, removing any 'slack' in the belt, which prevents the occupant from jerking forward in a crash
- In September 2003, Mercedes-Benz introduced the world's first seven-speed automatic transmission called '7G-Tronic'
- Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), brake assist, and many other types of safety equipment were all developed, tested, and implemented into passenger cars – first – by Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz has not made a large fuss about its innovations and has even licensed them for use by competitors – in the name of improving automobile and passenger safety. As a result, crumple zones and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are now standard on all modern vehicles.
- The (W211) E320 CDI which has a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) 3.0-litre V6 common rail diesel engine (producing 224 hp or 167 kW), set three world endurance records. It covered 100,000 miles (160,000 km) in a record time, with an average speed of 224.823 km/h (139.70 mph). Three identical cars did the endurance run (one set above record) and the other two cars set world records for time taken to cover 100,000 kilometres (62,137 mi) and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) respectively. After all three cars had completed the run, their combined distance was 300,000 miles (480,000 km) (all records were FIA approved).
- Mercedes-Benz pioneered a system called Pre-Safe to detect an imminent crash – and prepares the car's safety systems to respond optimally. It also calculates the optimal braking force required to avoid an accident in emergency situations and makes it immediately available for when the driver depresses the brake pedal. Occupants are also prepared by tightening the seat belt, closing the sunroof and windows, and moving the seats into the optimal position.
- At 181 horsepower per litre, the M133 engine installed in Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is the most powerful series-production four-cylinder turbocharged motor (as of June 2013) and has one of the highest power density for a passenger vehicle.
In the 1980s, Mercedes built the world's first robot car, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns at Bundeswehr University Munich. Encouraged in part by Dickmanns' success, in 1987 the European Union's EUREKA programme initiated the Prometheus Project on autonomous vehicles, funded to the tune of nearly €800 million. In 1995 Dickmanns' re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes took a long trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark, and back. On highways, the robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h (109 mph) (permissible in some areas of the German Autobahn).
In October 2015, the company introduced the Vision Tokyo, a five-seat self-driving electric van powered by a hybrid hydrogen fuel-cell system. The super-sleek van is touted as "a chill-out zone in the midst of megacity traffic mayhem."
Several companies have become car tuners (or modifiers) of Mercedes Benz, in order to increase performance and/or luxury to a given model. AMG is Mercedes-Benz's in-house performance-tuning division, specialising in high-performance versions of most Mercedes-Benz cars. AMG engines are all hand-built, and each completed engine receives a tag with the signature of the engineer who built it. AMG has been wholly owned by Mercedes-Benz since 1999. The 2009 SLS AMG, a revival of the 300SL Gullwing, is the first car to be entirely developed by AMG.
In football (soccer), Mercedes-Benz sponsored the Germany national team until 2018. Mercedes-Benz sponsors Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart and provides the naming rights for their stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The company also holds the naming rights to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, an American football stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. On 24 August 2015, Mercedes-Benz was announced as the naming rights sponsor for the Atlanta Falcons' new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, (Mercedes-Benz's US headquarters are in Greater Atlanta) which opened in August 2017.
Mercedes-Benz worked with English magician Steven Frayne, also known as Dynamo, to create a video called Dynamo vs Coulthard. Formula One driver David Coulthard drove Dynamo around a track at race-speed in a Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, before Dynamo successfully drove around the same track in the same car whilst blindfolded and surrounded by pyrotechnics. The stunt was part of the finale for Series 3 of Dynamo: Magician Impossible, screened on UK television channel Watch.
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