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Daimler AG Expecting Banner Year for Cars, Trucks

Despite strong competition, Zetsche says ‘situation is good.’

by on Apr.09, 2014

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe loses 140 pounds but gains 4x horsepower. It's vehicles like this that has Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche expecting a big year.

Daimler AG predicts a big increase in earnings this year despite intense competition from its rivals, Audi and BMW.

“We are beginning 2014 at the same pace with which we finished 2013,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler board of management and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting.

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“We also review our plans critically,” he said. “But they seem to have been successful. We will keep our foot on the accelerator.” (more…)

Mercedes Stretches S600 to Fill Maybach Role

New top-of-the-line model laden with power, technology.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is pushing the S600 as the Maybach replacement until the Pullman arrives next year.

The death of the ultra-exclusive Maybach brand left Daimler AG in a quandary: how to compete against rivals like BMW-owned Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen’s Bentley. The plan calls for stretching the time-tested Mercedes-Benz brand even further up-market – even as it also dips lower than ever into the luxury segment with the likes of the new CLA and GLA models starting at under $30,000. Pushing its top price to 10 times that much is going to be a real test of the Mercedes tri-star’s pulling power.

We’re getting a sense of how the German maker plans to do it with this week’s launch of the new Mercedes-Benz S600. It’s the latest – and soon to be most-expensive – version of the flagship S-Class offered. But it won’t have that distinction for long. The new S600 sets the stage for the launch, later this year, of the Pullman, the stretch model that will be the true replacement for the old, and largely unloved Maybach.

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If the new S600 is the scene-setter, it does so in grand fashion. While there are plenty of new, high-line touches, the heart of the new beast is its bi-turbo V-12 engine which powers a sedan offered only in long-wheelbase form with a luxurious complement of equipment full of the latest connectivity and active safety technology as will as other advanced features Mercedes hopes will justify a price tag that could top $150,000. (more…)

Daimler Third-Quarter Earnings Rocket up 50 Percent

by on Oct.24, 2013

Daimler AG reported a 50% increase in earnings in the third quarter with Mercedes-Benz sales accounting for much of the increase.

Daimler AG saw it earning jump 50% in the third quarter as units sales increased by 13% on record sales by Mercedes-Benz.

In the third quarter of 2013, Daimler AG net income reached 1,897 million euros, compared with 1,238 million euros in the same period a year ago. Earnings per share were 1.72 euros versus 1.06 in the third quarter of 2012.

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On the basis of current market assessments, Daimler also said it expect earnings before interest and taxes to total 7.5 billion euros for full-year 2013. (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 Has Big Plans for Small Cars

CLA provides new “gateway” for brand to attract Millennials.

by on Sep.25, 2013

Mercedes is looking to make inroads with younger buyers with the CLA model.

Mercedes-Benz is betting big on its new small car line-up, the launch of the 2014 CLA part of a strategy designed to provide a “gateway” for the next generation of luxury car customers, explains the German maker’s U.S. marketing chief.

The CLA is the first U.S. model based off Mercedes’ New Generation Compact Car platform, or NGCC. But it will be followed by two others, the GLA compact crossover and an electrified version of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class already on sale in Europe.

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Slightly smaller than the current Mercedes C-Class, the new CLA carries a downsized price tag starting at just $29,900 – which is meant to appeal to buyers who might otherwise be attracted to well-equipped mainstream products, such as Ford Fusion Titanium edition, or the top-line version of the Honda Accord, said marketing chief Bernie Glaser. (more…)

Automakers Divided Over Bio-Diesel

Mercedes-Benz stops selling diesel models in Illinois.

by on Jul.26, 2013

At 46 mpg highway, the new Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel gives even hybrids a run for their (gas) money.

It’s the stuff of dreams for some environmentalists: a fuel you can make from renewable sources as diverse as algae and used cooking oil. But for some automakers, bio-diesel is a nightmare so worrisome one major maker has pulled out of the Illinois market after lawmakers there approved incentives meant to boost demand for bio-diesel.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only maker worried that bio-diesel could have a downside far different from the green image proponents present. The German maker warns that if poorly blended, the fuel could gunk up its engines and worsen air quality. That led the maker to recently stop selling diesel models like the new E250 BlueTec diesel in the land of Lincoln.

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Illinois lawmakers recently approved a plan to drop the state’s 6.25% sales tax on fuel with a bio-diesel content of at least 10%. Mercedes, which has been one of the strongest proponents of diesel fuel in the U.S. market, has set a limit of 5% biodiesel content, or B5. (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…)

First Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Adding a little magic to a German benchmark.

by on Jul.25, 2013

Mercedes introduced its 2014 S-Class dripping in comfort features and technology options.

Anyone who has had to navigate the sort of rutted roads we get in Detroit – indeed, in much of the country these days as cash-short road departments cut back on the patching crews – knows that sort of moment instinctively. You’re soaring along when you spot the sort of pothole or bump likely to jar your fillings loose. Likely as not, it’s too late to do anything but suffer the consequences and check to make sure your teeth are still intact.

Of course, it might help to have an extra set of eyes doing nothing but scanning the road ahead to give you fair warning of what’s coming. Unless you have a single-minded friend willing to ride shotgun, Mercedes-Benz has an alternative – one that might be a bit better, in fact – that it’s debuting on the all-new 2014 S-Class.

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Dubbed Magic Body Control, it uses a stereoscopic camera system mounted just behind the rearview mirror to scan the upcoming pavement. What it sees is fed into the microprocessor that controls the new sedan’s suspension system. The results can be pleasantly delightful, Magic Body Control making all but the worst potholes, ruts and speed bumps vanish as if they never existed. It’s not perfect; the technology only works during the day – and only in Comfort Mode – and requires a clean windshield to see through. Nonetheless, it highlights the sort of thinking that went into Mercedes’ new flagship sedan. (more…)

High-Tech Suspensions Smooth Out The Bumps

New systems improve ride and handling of luxury vehicles.

by on Jun.06, 2013

Mercedes improved the ride and handling on the S-Class for 2014 using a new system called Magic Body Control.

With more and more states and local communities struggling to balance their budgets, road repairs are among the first things to be cut. In places like Detroit, where winter is particularly tough on tarmac, that can translate into potholes that match the worst you’ll find in a third-world country.

But automakers and their suppliers are rolling out some high-tech solutions that can make all but the worst bumps and ruts virtually vanish.

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Electronically controlled suspensions have been around for several decades, but early systems did little more than firm up a vehicle’s shock absorbers and they usually seemed to either be too firm or too soft.


April Auto Sales Up 9 Percent

Mid-size segment competition getting fierce.

by on May.02, 2013

The Honda Accord took over the top sales spot from the Toyota Camry in April.

As U.S. car sales continue to heat up in 2013, no segment is as hotly contested as the mid-size segment. If the offerings and efforts of carmakers and the April sales figures are any indicator the competition in that arena is only going to even more fierce.

For one thing, the Toyota Camry, the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. for the past decade, lost its edge in April as the Honda Accord took over the top spot after Camry sales fell 17% last month. Toyota still holds the top through the first place through the first four months of 2013 in what has been a healthy market for new cars during the past half year.

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Toyota executives suggested part of the reason for the drop in Camry’s total was decision to pull back from fleet sales. Overall, Toyota sales dropped 1.1% in April.