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Mercedes Sets $167,000 Price for New Maybach S500

First sedans set to go on sale in February.

by on Dec.15, 2014

The new Mercedes-Maybach S600 will likely start at over $200,000 when it reaches the US.

The new flagship Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will go on sale next February at a starting price of 134,053.50 Euros, the German maker says, or the equivalent of $166,700 at current exchange rates.

That’s for the “base” Mercedes-Maybach S500, with the 12-cylinder S600 model commanding 187,841.50, or about $234,000. To put that into perspective, a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG sedan goes for $142,375.

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On the other hand, the two new ultra-lux models might be considered a veritable bargain compared to the original sedans offered when Maybach operated as a true, standalone brand. U.S. buyers pay around $340,000 for the M57, and $430,000 for the M62 S, with the Maybach Landaulet semi-convertible demanding a stiff $1 million.

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First Look: Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

From concept to coupe.

by on Dec.09, 2014

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.

Picking up on the design theme first revealed in the form of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe, the Teutonic automaker is giving us a first official look at the all-new GLE Coupe it will introduce at next month’s Detroit Auto Show.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with the news in recent weeks, Mercedes has decided to confuse – er, clarify – things by restructuring its model nomenclature, a move that primarily impacts its coupe and SUV models. So, GLE is a new name for the old M-Class. And, for 2016, the familiar four-door will now be joined by a coupe.

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Well, make that a coupe-like SUV, the GLE Coupe adopting the sort of rounded roof line we’ve been seeing on recent BMW models such as the X6 while maintaining the convenience of keeping those rear doors. The overall look is more of a tall wagon than a traditional SUV.

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Mercedes Hints at Driverless Car Interiors

CEO Zetsche will unveil autonomous concept at CES next month.

by on Dec.08, 2014

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche plans to unveil an autonomous concept at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas, but the maker released a few drawings in advance.

The race to put the first fully autonomous vehicle on the road is heating up. Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG CEO, plans to unveil a Mercedes concept car loaded with the technology is hopes to use for its vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz released a few drawings of the interior of this vehicle, which allows the front seats to swivel around to face the back seat, allowing all of the occupants to engage in conversation. There’s even a small table in the center of the cabin that could act as a small coffee table.

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Zetsche will be the keynote speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas, which is when he’ll show off this new concept. (more…)

Recalls Aside, Automobiles Becoming Safer than Ever

An era of zero fatalities may be within reach.

by on Dec.03, 2014

Volvo's new AstaZero safety proving grounds. The maker wants to see zero deaths in its vehicles.

With a record 54 million vehicles facing recall — and nearly another month to go before the books are closed on 2014 — it’s no surprise American automakers and auto buyers alike have been focused on safety this year.

But despite all the lapses that have seen dozens of deaths from faulty airbags and flawed ignition switches, there’s another side to the story: cars are safer than ever. U.S. highway fatalities are now about 40 percent down from their 1970s peak, even though there are more cars on the road logging more mileage.

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“I don’t think we’ve ever seen vehicle safety reach this level before,” contends Raj Nair, global product development director for Ford Motor Co.

The latest vehicles are not only better-equipped to survive crashes but also to avoid them altogether. That’s led several automakers, including both Nissan and Volvo, to declare that they hope to see no deaths occur in the new vehicles they bring to market by the beginning of the next decade.

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Mercedes Launching More Affordable AMG Sport Line

New performance models will offer AWD as standard feature.

by on Dec.01, 2014

The first two AMG Sport models are set to make their debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

It will cost you a modest $29,900 to slip inside the popular Mercedes-Benz CLA, the maker’s entry-level sedan. But should you want to pump up the power and performance, expect to push that price tag up to $47,450 for the AMG-badged CLA45.

But as part of its bid to double sales over the next few years, the German maker is launching an all-new line of performance models that will slot between the “base” Mercedes family and the top-end performance division. To be called AMG Sport, we’ll get a first look at two new models when the Detroit Auto Show rolls into town a little more than a month from now.

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“The new Sport models represent a convincing proposition for our customers: genuine sports car technology becomes accessible, appealing to an even broader-ranging clientele worldwide,” explains Tobias Moers, chairman of the Mercedes-AMG management board. “In the next three years we aim to more than double our total sales for 2013.”

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First Look: Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

Revisiting the wagon.

by on Nov.26, 2014

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake may be what's needed to change the opinions of U.S. drivers about wagons.

Manufacturers have tried going the semantic root: dubbing them shooting brakes, estates, crossovers and cross country. But Americans have shown an uncanny ability to sniff out a station wagon and turn up their noses – which is all the more ironic considering wagons make up one of the hottest segments in Europe.

Could the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake bridge that gap? The more immediate question is whether the German maker will try. It isn’t yet saying whether it will import the “two-box” take on its popular new compact luxury model. But these initial images suggest it might be worth a try.

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“Like its big brother, the CLS Shooting Brake, the CLA Shooting Brake is targeted at active customers who are looking outside of the mainstream for a car that impresses with a high utility value,” says Ola Källenius, who oversees Mercedes marketing and sales operations. (more…)

Maybach Makes an Unexpected Return

How a once-abandoned brand name came back to life.

by on Nov.20, 2014

Mercedes-Benz introduced its ultra-exclusive S600 in Los Angeles yesterday with a bit of a surprise: it's the Mercedes-Maybach S600.

It is Los Angeles, so there’s always an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Just ask Mercedes-Benz which used the L.A. Auto Show this week to unexpectedly bring the once-abandoned Maybach brand name back to life.

Named for Wilhelm Maybach, a partner of Daimler AG founder Gottfried Daimler, the Maybach name graced a line of ultra-exclusive automobiles, such as the Maybach M57. But in 2011 slow sales led the company to announce it would kill off the brand.

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Mercedes wasn’t about to abandon the market’s most elite buyers, though. It planned a stretched and upgraded version of the elite S-Class, which was originally set to be called the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman. But in a surprise move, it has decided to call the new model the Mercedes-Maybach S600. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Has Most Satisfied Shoppers, Says JD Power

Explaining high-tech features critical to increasing shopper satisfaction.

by on Nov.13, 2014

Automakers providing new vehicle buyers with assistance in the use of new technology in their vehicles are seeing customer satisfaction scores rise.

Motorists have come to expect the latest high-tech features in the cars they buy. Ironically, that’s also a frequent cause of customer frustration, buyers struggling to figure out how to pair a phone or plug in a destination.

Manufacturers that hope to keep customers happy – and loyal – need to ensure that product specialists spend time at the showroom explaining how to make that technology work, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. Having the right staff on hand is one of the key reasons why Mercedes-Benz topped Power’s latest Sales Satisfaction Index, or SSI.

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“With such tech-heavy vehicles today, introducing product specialists into the sales process helps improve the delivery process and customer understanding of how to operate key features,” explained Chris Sutton, vice president of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. (more…)

BMW, Mercedes Slugging It Out for Sales Title

Duel over luxury crown headed for photo finish.

by on Nov.11, 2014

BMW is holding a slim lead over rival Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. luxury market.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz are locked in a battle royal for the sales crown in the prosperous market for luxury cars in the U.S. BMW held the title for the two previous years, but one of the two has been the leader since 2011: the last year Lexus held the crown.

“One of the noteworthy facts in the October U.S. new vehicle sales results is that BMW now leads its archrival Mercedes-Benz by just 5,389 sales through the first ten months of this year,” IHS Automotive Analyst Tom Libby said.

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“With such a small gap in sales through 10 months, the two makes will most likely use marketing tools extensively through the end of the year, including numerous types of incentives, to gain an edge.” (more…)

Mercedes Opts for Order in its Alphabet Soup Model Nomenclature

Return of the Maybach.

by on Nov.11, 2014

Mercedes announced it is bringing back the Maybach. The maker is also going to clean up the alphabet soup that is its naming system.

If you have a hard time telling an S from an E, or an ML from a GL, you’re not alone. With all the new models it has added in recent years – and more coming at the rate of about one per quarter – the names used for the various members of the Mercedes-Benz line-up have become increasingly confusing.

Now, the German maker wants to impose some order on its world and is rolling out a new nomenclature strategy that it says should be a good bit easier to understand – though it could add still more confusion in the short-term as the GLK becomes the GLC and the ML becomes the GLE.

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Mercedes also delivered a surprise by announcing it is bringing back the Maybach name it seemed to have abandoned for good just a couple years ago. It’s new super-premium models will now carry the designation Mercedes-Maybach, while its highest performance offerings will be dubbed Mercedes-AMG. (more…)