Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, financed by Bertha Benz 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. (Daimler Motors Corporation). Emil Jellinek, an Austrian automobile entrepreneur who worked with DMG created the trademark in 1902, naming the 1901 Mercedes 35 hp after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. 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 1926, Mercedes Benz was formed with the merger of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler's two companies.
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 driven 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. In 1944, 46,000 forced laborers were used in Daimler-Benz's factories to bolster Nazi war efforts. The company later paid $12 million in reparations to the laborers' families. 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.
For information relating to the famous three-pointed star, see under the title Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft including the merger into Daimler-Benz.
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 brand Maybach was under Mercedes-Benz cars division until 2013, when the production stopped due to poor sales volumes. It now exists under the Mercedes-Maybach name, with the models being ultra-luxury versions of Mercedes cars, such as the 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600.
Daimler coorporates 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.
Beside its native Germany, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are also manufactured or assembled in:
Since its inception, Mercedes-Benz had 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.
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 – Hatchback
B-Class – Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV)
C-Class – Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet
CLA-Class – 4 Door Coupé and Estate
CLS-Class – 4 Door Coupé and Estate
E-Class – Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet
G-Class – Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
GLA-Class – Compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)/ Crossover
GLC-Class – Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
GLE-Class – Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
GLS-Class – Large Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
S-Class – Luxury Saloon, Coupé & Cabriolet
SL-Class – Grand Tourer
SLC-Class – Roadster
V-Class – Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV)/ Van
AMG GT – Sports car/ Supercar
Mercedes-Benz produces a range of vans; Citan (a rebadged version of the Renault Kangoo), 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 and the Sprinter van.
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.
The Mercedes-Benz 600 or 600S Pullman Guard limousines offer the option of armour-plating and have been used by diplomats worldwide.
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. In most cases (the 600 limousine and Mercedes E-Class being the exceptions), if neither "E" or "D" is present, the vehicle has a petrol engine with a carburettor.
"G" was originally used for the Geländewagen off-road vehicle, but is now applied to Mercedes SUVs in general (for example, the GLA and GLK).
"K" was used in the 1930s, indicating a supercharger ("Kompressor") equipped engine. Two exceptions : the SSK and CLK, where K indicates "Kurz" (short-wheelbase).
"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 the SL-Class, SLR McLaren and SLS sportscars.
"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 liters 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.
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, SLS and GT 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 deleted at the request of the customer.
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.
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 nomenclature for the drive systems.
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 CO2 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. Mercedes expects 100 vehicles to be produced by the end of 2010 and a further 2000 by the end of 2011.
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 CO2 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 CO2 levels, with 181 g and 188 g of CO2 emitted per km, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH introduced three new bicycles in 2005, and the range has developed to include the patent pending Foldingbike in 2007. Other models include the Mercedes-Benz Carbon Bike, Trekking Bike, Fitness Bike and the Trailblazer Bike.
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 made history by winning 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 purchase 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, and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, both of which took the company to new heights by dominating the FIA's GT1 class.
Mercedes-Benz is currently active in four motorsport categories, Formula Three, DTM, 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. Fangio is considered by many to be the best F1 driver in history.
Mercedes-Benz returned as an engine supplier in the 1990s and part-owned Team McLaren for some years, to which it has supplied engines engineered by Ilmor since 1995. This partnership brought success, including drivers championships for Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999, and for Lewis Hamilton in 2008, as well as a constructors championship in 1998. The collaboration with McLaren had been extended into the production of roadgoing cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
In 2007, McLaren-Mercedes was fined a record US$100 million for stealing confidential Ferrari technical data.
In 2009, Ross Brawn's newly conceived Formula One team, Brawn GP used Mercedes engines to help win the constructor's championship, and Jenson Button to become champion in the F1 drivers' championship. 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 is, from this season on, a works team for Mercedes-Benz. As of 2016, the company currently provides engines to the Williams F1 Team, Sahara Force India F1 Team and the Manor Racing F1 Team.
In 2014, Mercedes clinched its first F1 Constructor's title with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with 3 races to go, after dominating much of the season. Mercedes repeated its dominance in 2015 in similar fashion, losing only 3 races out of 19 once again. Mercedes yet again dominated in 2016, losing only 2 races out of 21.
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 Adolf Daimler's aims for universal motorization: on land, water and in the air.Paul Bracq – major designer of automobiles in the 20th century
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.
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 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 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.
Half a century of vehicle safety innovation helped win Mercedes-Benz the Safety Award at the 2007 What Car? Awards.
In the 1980s, Mercedes built the world's first robot car, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns at Bundeswehr University Munich. Partially encouraged 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. A culmination point was achieved in 1995, when 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.
There are numerous independent tuners including Brabus, Carlsson, Kleemann and Renntech.
In football, Mercedes-Benz sponsors Germany National Football Team. 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 in New Orleans, Louisiana. On 24 August 2015, Mercedes-Benz was announced as the naming rights sponsor for the Atlanta Falcons' new home Mercedes-Benz Stadium, (Mercedes-Benz moved their US headquarters to the Atlanta area) scheduled to open in 2017.