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BMW Group Sets Sales Record for Third Quarter

Sales for first nine months also reach new highs.

by on Nov.06, 2013

The BMW Group reported record sales for the third quarter despite challenging times in Europe.

The BMW Group income increased 3.2% during the third quarter as its unit sales jumped more than 10% despite the challenging and volatile business conditions, prevailing across Europe.

“Reported figures for both the third quarter and the nine-month period have developed positively despite the higher level of expenditure on new technologies and a challenging market environment in Europe. We have recorded best-ever worldwide sales volume figures to date and remain within our targeted margin range for the Automotive segment,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

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Based on its strong performance in the first nine months of the year, the BMW Group also reaffirmed its outlook for the current year, Reithofer said. (more…)

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class to Get A Major Upgrade

Wave of new technology will include all safety gear now available on the big S-Class.

by on Oct.23, 2013

Mercedes-Benz is updating its C-Class for next year, but it offered a little early peek at the interior.

Following the update of key models like the S- and E-Class lines, Mercedes-Benz will offer up an all-new take on the little C-Class, it’s top-selling entry, a year from now.

But the maker is offering up a first sneak peek at what it has in store with these teaser images.  The emphasis, it suggests, will be in putting more “class” into the 2015 Mercedes C-Class interior. But the Teutonic maker also hints that the new luxury model will lose a significant amount of weight even while gaining a lot more content – including all safety technology on the current E- and S-Class models.

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The timing couldn’t be better – unless Mercedes were able to pull the launch of the 2015 model a bit forward. The compact luxury niche has become both one of the market’s fastest-growing – and competitive – segments, with a range of offerings from manufacturers such as Audi and Lexus, as well as mainstream makers looking to push more up-market. (more…)

Mercedes Aims to Redefine Luxury

Maker combines technology, comfort at unprecedented level.

by on Jul.25, 2013

Mercedes faced a significant challenge with the redesign of the S-Class: the maker's flagship sedan.

How do you enhance an icon? That’s the challenge Mercedes-Benz faced when the German maker set out to redesign its flagship S-Class sedan – a vehicle likely to spur big changes across the premium-luxury market.

While there are faster cars, more expensive cars and more exclusive cars, the S-Class has long been the benchmark in the premium luxury segment. And that’s a position Mercedes intends to maintain with a new 2014 model that not only introduces a raft of safety technologies that come a step short of autonomous driving, but also by adding such over-the-top features as an automated perfume dispenser and a hot stone-style massaging seat.

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“The definition of luxury is changing, but we intend to be at the forefront of that,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, during a break from driving the new S550 model through the lake country north of Toronto. (more…)

Mercedes Plugs in with B-Class Electric

German maker enters the battery-car market.

by on Mar.27, 2013

Mercedes rolled out its B-Class Electric at the New York Auto Show.

Slow to embrace the first wave of hybrid power, German luxury makers seem to be in a race to see who can now add more battery-based models to their line-up. We saw a flood of new offerings at the Geneva Motor Show, earlier this month, including the first plug-in hybrid from Audi, the A3 e-Tron, as well as the production version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive supercar.

Mercedes plugs into the New York Auto Show with a decidedly different take on battery propulsion, its new B-Class Electric Drive making its world debut on the German maker’s stand at Jacob Javits Center.

Set to go on sale in the U.S. early next year – likely with a focus on the green-minded California market – the Electric Drive is a battery-electric version of the maker’s compact people-mover, and the only version of the B-Class scheduled for sale in the States.

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This is no stripped down electric. It will be filled with the sort of up-market touches you’d expect from the tri-star brand, asserts Dr. Joachim Schmidt, the Mercedes board member responsible for sales and marketing: “The B-Class Electric Drive meets the wishes of many customers for emission-free driving without foregoing the hallmark attributes of a Mercedes-Benz, namely safety, comfort and, of course, not to forget exhilarating driving pleasure.”

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Q&A: Volkswagen’s Jacoby & Hackenberg

Betting on something the consumer may not want.

by on Sep.25, 2009

Governments may force the industry to build battery cars, like the 2013 Volkswagen e-Up, but governments will also need to subsidize their sale, says VW's global technology chief, Ulrich Hackenberg.

Governments may force the industry to build battery cars, like the 2013 Volkswagen e-Up, but governments will also need to subsidize their sale, says VW's global technology chief, Ulrich Hackenberg.

“If you build it, they will come,” goes the oft-quoted line from the film, “Field of Dreams.”  That’s the guiding principle of the auto industry, though in the coming years, there’s no guarantee consumers really will come to showrooms for some of the products now on the industry’s drawing boards.

Take the “e-Up,” the little electric car that Volkswagen unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, earlier this month.  Based on the smallest car in the VW line-up, it’s designed to meet tough new emissions and fuel economy standards, but at a stiff price premium – and with a trade-off on range.

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Whether there really will be a market for e-Up or any of the other plug-ins, E-REVS or battery cars is one of the questions TheDetroitBureau.com posed to two of Volkswagen’s top officials, global technology chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, and Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen of America.

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Opel Proposes Plan for Survival

Total subsidy requests are almost $8 Billion, with $1.2 billion in cost reductions and plant closings coming. Details are skimpy.

by on Feb.27, 2009

To keep running Opel needs cash not hydrogen.

To keep itself running Opel needs cash not hydrogen.

General Motors Europe and the Opel Supervisory Board approved a long-term plan for financial survival at its Rüsselsheim, Germany, headquarters this morning that will be submitted to government representatives.

German Government officials have been skeptical about granting Opel aid, even in the face of worker demonstrations and protests over the roughly 25,000 jobs at stake. It wants more detail.

GM’s Saab unit is facing similar doubts from the Swedish government in its attempt to become independent. GM has said that it will stop supporting Saab this year, but will continue to support Opel for the time being, once the center of its international auto empire.

What Opel terms a “confidential comprehensive” plan includes a funding request for €3.3 billion (US $4.2 billion at current exchange rates) in government support from German and other governments, and $3.8 in support from GM. Opel would also make $1.2 billion in structural cost reductions, presumably by eliminating jobs, manufacturing plants and cutting models. GM or Opel has operations in Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as Germany.

Opel maintains the plan uses conservative market assumptions and that GM Europe and Opel would become profitable by 2011 if it was implemented. The company has about an 8% market share in Europe. Further details were not publicly released. GM says it is working with representatives of the German government to answer questions and provide additional information that may be required to move the funding process forward. Since workers have representation on the Supervisory Board,  there appears to be some union support for cutbacks. (more…)

New Mercedes E-Class Tops in Resale Value

Could give new sedan an edge in the market.

by on Jan.23, 2009

2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

It’s not even on sale yet, but some folks are  worrying about what they’ll get on a trade-in for the all-new Mercedes E-Class. Let’s face it, buying a new car is exciting, but reselling it can be a big disappointment. That is why many people take into account the possible resale value of their new car years before they plan on selling it.

Mercedes buyers can be at ease: the German market research institute Bähr & Fess Forecast has calculated the resale value of the new Mercedes E-Class. And it’s forecasting that Mercedes’ mid-range sedan will have the highest value of any vehicle after three years of ownership in the luxury segment.

The new E 250 CD will realise up to 62.5 percent of its current new price, earning it accolades as ‘2009 value retention champion’ from the German weekly magazine AutoBild. In all, Mercedes passenger cars occupy the top positions in eight market segment.

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