Archive for the ‘Mercedes’ Category

F1 Legend Niki Lauda Dead at 70

“It was the most courageous thing I ever witnessed in sport.”

by on May.21, 2019

Few expected Niki Lauda to survive his crash at the Nurburgring on Aug. 1, 1976.

He was born to be a banker, like the rest of his patrician, Austrian family. So, when Niki Lauda asked his grandfather for the financial help he needed to land a ride on the Formula One circuit, he was cut off. Lauda eventually found a way to raise the money on his own, lining up a loan against his life insurance policy.

It was a risky bet, but Niki Lauda’s life was an ongoing gamble, whether on the track or in business, something that became all too apparent during a crucial race at Germany’s Nurburgring on August 1, 1976. Ironically, he had called for a boycott just a week before because of the lack of safety features on the winding course. But when the green flag dropped, Andreas Nikolaus Lauda was positioned at the front of the pack, despite a blinding downpour, determined to grab the lead against his F1 arch-rival James Hunt.

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On the second lap, Lauda’s Ferrari spun out, hit an embankment and burst into flames. Trapped in the car, his borrowed helmet having slipped off, Lauda suffered massive burns that few thought he’d be able to survive. After slipping into a coma, a priest delivered last rites. Yet, somehow, Lauda pulled through, though the injuries were severe, the fire burning off most of his right ear and hair, as well as his eyelids, while searing his lungs.

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Daimler Prepares Cost-Cutting Plans for New Chief Kallenius

New takes over for Zetsche.

by on May.21, 2019

Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche is on his way out into retirement. He will be succeeded by Ola Kallenius.

Daimler AG’s new chief executive is preparing a plan that would slash the company’s administrative costs by 20%, according to a report in Germany’s top business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Ola Kallenius, who will take over for Dieter Zetsche this week, has asked for recommendations due to the uncertainty facing car makers, the paper said. Central administration costs are to be cut by about 20%, the paper said, adding billions of euros in efficiency potential would be targeted.

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Daimler declined to comment on the Handelsblatt article, which appeared as Daimler was preparing for its annual shareholders meeting in Berlin. (more…)

Mercedes’ Electric, Semi-Autonomous ESF 2019 Concept Debuts Over a Dozen Potential Safety Breakthroughs

Even autonomous vehicles will occasionally crash.

by on May.20, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out its ESF 2019 to show off the semi-autonomous concept car.

The new Mercedes-Benz ESF 2019 started life out as just another midsize crossover, but the familiar GLE has undergone an array of modifications that could significantly improve the safety of passengers and pedestrians, the German automaker says.

These include changes to airbags, seatbelts and a child safety seat meant to make them more effective in a crash, as well as a steering wheel and pedals that retract when the ESF is operating in autonomous mode, and even an outside communications system meant to signal pedestrians and bicyclists what the vehicle is going to do next. There’s even a built-in robot that pops out of the back of the vehicle to warn oncoming traffic in the event of a crash.

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Some of the more than a dozen different innovations “are very close to series production,” said Ola Kallenius, the Daimler AG Executive Board member overseeing Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, though others “look well into the future.” (more…)

Another Automaker Abandons the V-8

Genesis will drop Tau V-8 when new G80 debuts this autumn.

by on May.20, 2019

The next version of the Genesis G80 will come to market without its familiar Tau V-8.

Way back in the late 1970s, when twin oil shocks and the then-new Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate forced automakers to start focusing on energy efficiency, conventional wisdom had it that the V-8 would soon vanish. It didn’t quite work out that way and the engine of choice for many performance and heavy-duty vehicles has remained surprisingly robust.

But as global emissions and mileage regulations continue to tighten, the V-8 appears, once again, to be an endangered species, and the Hyundai Motor Group is the latest getting ready to throw in the towel.

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The Korean carmaker’s luxury brand Genesis plans to abandon its 5.0-liter Tau V-8 when it rolls out new versions of its two biggest sedans, according to the marque’s CEO. That phase-out will begin later this year with the launch of a new version of the G80.

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EU Auto Tariffs Deadline Fast Approaching

European and American automakers alike hope for delay.

by on May.15, 2019

President Donald Trump has until May to either enact new tariffs on EU autos or order a delay.

With one trade war already underway, the White House could kick off another battle this weekend as the May 18 deadline nears for Pres. Donald Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on European auto imports.

Any move would follow the completion of a Commerce Department study completed last February that concluded auto imports pose a threat to America’s national security. The president has not given a clear indication of how – or whether – he will respond as a 90-day deadline approaches, though he has had harsh words about European automakers in the past, at one point threatening to banish all Mercedes products from the streets of his home city, New York.

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Auto imports from Europe totaled $56.4 billion last year, according to Commerce figures, Germany responsible for the bulk of that. The risk of new tariffs sent shares of German manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reeling in recent days. But even U.S. automakers, as well as suppliers and dealers, have been pressing the Trump Administration to hold back on launching a new front in the trade war.

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China Car Sales Tumble for 10th Consecutive Month

Downturn comes as US trade war escalates, domestic economy slips.

by on May.13, 2019

Klaus Bischoff, VW design chief, shows off the SMV Concept at Auto Shanghai last month.

For much of the past two decades, China’s new vehicle market was the envy of the world, with routine double-digit annual growth approaching triple-digit gains on several occasions – but the numbers were down 14.6% in April, marking the 10th consecutive monthly decline.

At 1.98 million vehicles, China remains solidly in the lead as the world’s largest automotive market, but the downturn raises troubling issues for both foreign and domestically owned brands, such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Geely and Great Wall, impacting industry earnings around the globe.

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With China locked in an escalating trade war with the United States and the country’s overall economy showing signs of weakness, industry analysts question how soon the car market will show a recovery. The downturn could force automakers to look for ways to export products from increasingly underutilized Chinese plants, according to observers.

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Daimler to Go “Carbon Neutral” Under “Ambition2039″ Sustainability Plan

Company credited with inventing the I.C. engine is helping to put it to rest, says environmental group.

by on May.13, 2019

Mercedes revealed the U.S. version of its first long-range EV, the EQC Edition 1886, in NY last month.

The automaker that effectively brought the internal combustion engine to life appears ready to drive a nail into its coffin.

Daimler AG, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands says it expects plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, accounting for fully 50% of its sales by 2030, with a goal to go completely “carbon neutral” by 2039.

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“One of the defining issues is how we address our CO2 footprint,” Ola Kallenius, Daimler’s next CEO, said during a conference in its headquarters city of Stuttgart on Monday morning.

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Is Mazda Planning to Bring Vision Coupe Concept – and New Engine Line — to Life?

I-6 engine to power new product line off “Large Architecture” platform.

by on May.10, 2019

Mazda is finishing up a "Large Architecture," like the one that underpinned the 2017 Vision Coupe Concept.

For such a small company, Mazda has had a history of coming up with lots of creative powertrain technology, from its original rotaries to the latest Skyactiv-X that manages to combine some of the best attributes of a diesel and a gas engine. Now, it appears, the Hiroshima-based manufacturer is busy working on an inline-six design that could be powered both by gas and diesel.

Considering the size and design of Mazda’s current line-up, that might seem an odd choice, however. With the exception of the MX-5 Miata, the automaker’s products have been designed to use shorter powertrains that work in a transverse, or east-west, configuration, rather than the longitudinal, or north-south, layout that would be required with a longer inline-six engine.

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That would suggest that Mazda has another surprise coming, and it appears to be a production car based on what is being referred to as the “Large Architecture,” a platform that could be used for a bigger product than any in the current portfolio. And that immediately brings to mind Mazda’s recent Vision Coupe Concept.

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“You Want to Be There” When the EV Market Takes Off, Ford CEO Hackett Tells Shareholders

The upcoming “Mustang-inspired,” all-electric SUV will “reconceptualize’ the way cars are designed.

by on May.09, 2019

Ford is counting on its "Mustang-inspired," long-range electric SUV, codenamed Mach1, to help it plug into the emerging BEV market.

Ford Motor Co. will launch its “Mustang-inspired,” crossover later this year, its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, and CEO Jim Hackett told shareholders that while the EV market has been slow to build momentum, “When it happens you want to be there.”

Hackett focused a lot of his energy on describing the automaker’s electrification plans during Ford’s first “virtual” shareholders meeting on Thursday, clearly hoping to build support for a program in which it plans to invest $11 billion by 2022, more than double what Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, had committed to spend by 2020. All told, Ford has laid out plans to roll out 40 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

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The question is whether there will be a market for those vehicles, especially when considering the generally tepid response for earlier Ford battery-based models like the C-Max Energi, a PHEV, and the Ford Focus Electric, a BEV. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Taking Orders for New EQC Electric Crossover

New electric crossover already faces competition from VW's ID.3.

by on May.09, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is taking orders for its new EQC electric crossover vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz has begun taking orders for its new electric vehicle, the EQC, which the German luxury-car maker describes as the “Mercedes-Benz of EVs.”

“With the Mercedes-Benz EQC, we are entering a new era of mobility,” said Britta Seeger, member of the board of management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales.

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“It is part of the growing family of all-electric vehicles at Mercedes-Benz and combines brand-defining features such as quality, safety and comfort. We offer our customers progressive design and unique ride comfort – and this with a range absolutely suitable for everyday use.” (more…)

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