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Stuttgart. Twenty-five years ago, Mercedes-Benz surprised not only roadster fans with its revolutionary concept: thanks to its folding vario-roof, the new SLK (R 170 model series) could transform itself from an open-top car into a coupé with a fixed, noise-insulating steel roof in less than half a minute. And it also scored heavily with a range of additional innovations, in the field of safety, for example. The SLK performed impressively in all the relevant crash tests through to the rollover test. The lightweight construction concept using magnesium, among other materials, reduced the weight of the basic version of the SLK 200 to just 1,270 kilograms. By 2004, no less than 311,222 SLKs of the R 170 model series had been built at the Bremen plant. In a total of three generations covering the R 170, R 171 and R 172 model series, this compact open-top Mercedes-Benz roadster sold more than 710,000 units – from 2016 as the SLC. The first generation is already a popular recent classic and, as a result, is already into the second stage of its existence. Trade magazine “Motor Klassik” commented in April 2019: “The first SLK model series (R 170) was a bestseller and had the makings of a classic.”

The roadster was given its name during the design phase, when engineers referred to it as the “SL kurz” (“compact”) in a tribute to the Mercedes-Benz SL. Indeed, the R 170 model series, with a body length of 3,995 millimetres, was around 500 millimetres shorter than the SL Roadsters of the then current R 129 model series.

World premiere in Turin

The production version of the SLK was presented at the International Motor Show in Turin on 22 April 1996. This sports car was perfectly matched to its time: open two-seaters were then experiencing a strong renaissance. In Western Europe, the annual number of car registrations in this market segment rose from 11,300 in 1992 to 98,500 in 1995. The SLK contributed to the boom in open-top cars of the 1990s and 2000s. For some of that time, this Mercedes-Benz was the bestselling car with a metal folding roof in Germany. The SLK was of great importance to the brand because it appealed to a younger and lifestyle-orientated group of buyers. In retrospect, Jürgen Hubbert, a member of the Mercedes-Benz Board of Management at the time, said: “The SLK, CLK and the M-Class models have contributed a lot to a new image of Mercedes-Benz.”

A study that was also presented in Turin in April 1994 whetted the public’s appetite for the roadster. It was based on work by the designer Michael Mauer and came very close to the later production model. Mauer’s model with short overhangs at the front and rear in conjunction with a comparatively long wheelbase highlighted many design details, from the bonnet with its power domes to a striking airflow break-away edge at the rear. A second concept car presented in Paris in autumn 1994 not only showed the vario-roof, but also a unique interior design. From 1996 onwards, the SLK standard-production sports car attracted considerable attention due to its surprisingly colourful and varied interior combined with refreshing exterior colours.

Bending the rules: The folding vario-roof

The folding steel roof of the SLK as an alternative to the classic fabric top was an outstanding and much admired technical achievement of the roadster. The idea was not completely new to the automotive industry, but the few designs before it involved the entire roof being lowered into the boot, which took up a lot of space. Mercedes-Benz engineers revolutionised the concept with a process known internally as the “trick with the kink”: the roof made of steel and glass panels folded back under the boot lid, which opened in the direction of travel. This meant that the rear end of the body could be kept short, and even when the roof was open, there was still room for luggage in the boot.

An electrohydraulic system choreographed the opening and closing process with the help of five hydraulic cylinders. Before the start of series production, 30 prototypes had to undergo the opening and closing process 20,000 times each. Projected over ten years, this corresponded to opening and closing the roof six times a day. Operation was simple: pressing a switch on the centre console transformed the SLK from a coupé into a roadster – or vice versa – within 25 seconds.

The SLK’s safety philosophy, which set standards in its class at the time, was worthy of special note. One striking feature was the two sturdy roll bars to protect occupants in the event of a rollover. Tube-reinforced A-pillars made a further contribution to occupant protection. In addition, the SLK was equipped with airbags, belt tensioners and belt force limiters as standard. The newly developed ellipsoid bulkhead which was part of the front structure increased the front deformation area in the event of a head-on collision – this reduced the risk of the footwell becoming constricted. In crash tests, the SLK met Mercedes-Benz’s own standards, thereby exceeding the stipulated mandatory requirements.
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Shanghai. At Auto Shanghai 2021, Mercedes-Benz celebrated the world premieres of the new, all-electric EQB compact model, the long-wheelbase version of the new C-Class and the new four-door CLS Coupé. Alongside the long-wheelbase version of the EQB developed for the Chinese market, the all-electric EQS luxury saloon and the compact, all-electric EQA were on display at the same show for the first time. All three Mercedes-EQ models already had their debut during the evening preceding the Auto Shanghai show, as part of a Mercedes-EQ Night.

In November 2021, the new EQB will be launched in China as the fully-equipped top model with seven seats and AMG Line. European customers have a choice between five and seven seats, all-wheel drive and different output levels. Production of the EQB for the European and North-American markets will likewise commence at the end of the year, in Kecskemét, Hungary.

"China is not only the most important passenger car sales region for us, it is also the world’s leading market for electric cars", says Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China. "We are extremely delighted to present the all-electric EQB here in China for the very first time. With its seven seats the new EQB meets the needs of very family-oriented customers. In addition to the right products, our local production footprint is one of the decisive factors for sustainable growth in China. That’s why we are looking forward to produce the all-electric EQB in Beijing."

World premiere of the new long-wheelbase C-Class and the new CLS

As a further highlight in line with the motto "Made in China, for China", Mercedes-Benz presented the long-wheelbase version of the new C-Class. As well as more legroom, features such as luxury head restraints and a larger armrest with a particularly spacious stowage compartment, USB ports and cupholders ensure additional, luxurious comfort in the rear. Other special, market-specific features include the comfort suspension and enhanced noise insulation for an even quieter interior.

The new CLS celebrated its global debut. The sharpened design expresses the dynamism of the four-door coupé even more strongly. At the same time, the interior has been upgraded with additional leather and trim combinations as well as a new-generation steering wheel. A latest-generation diesel with an integrated starter-generator has been added to the model range. A sporty and exclusive special edition of the Mercedes‑AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 9.0-8.7 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 206-199 g/km)[1] limited to 300 units spearheads the model range.
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The Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams got the new season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS off to a successful start. In the opening race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Jules Gounon (FRA) finished second overall with the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP entry. In the Silver Cup, the #57 WINWARD Racing car with Philip Ellis (SUI), Mikael Grenier (CAN) and Russell Ward (USA) also achieved a podium finish with third place in class (seventh place overall). With eleven Mercedes-AMG GT3s, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach was the manufacturer with the largest contingent in the first-class field of participants.

With a total of 42 cars on track at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, steeped in tradition, qualifying for the 3-hour race turned out to be a difficult affair. Nevertheless, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP (#88) managed to post top-notch lap times in all three sessions to secure second place on the starting grid for the race, just a little bit down on the leaders. In the process, Jules Gounon set the best lap time of the entire drivers’ field with a 1m46.442s. The #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT car also secured itself a good starting grid position for the race with ninth place in qualifying, just like the #87 AKKA ASP Team and the #7 Toksport WRT cars, respectively the second- and third-fastest Silver Cup cars in qualifying.

Customer Racing Teams with a strong performance in the opening third of the race
Conditions were still dry as the race got underway, but dark clouds in the sky over Monza boded ill. Just over ten minutes into the race, there was a heavy downpour that forced many cars to make an early pit stop. With the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP car, Raffaele Marciello had a good start, defended his second place and went on to stage a tough battle for the lead with a Lamborghini. As rain intensified, all cars eventually headed into the pits for an additional stop to change to rain tyres. Raffaele Marciello made good use of this and was the first to head back out on track. After problems at the start, Maro Engel (GER) also showed a strong performance: initially having dropped back to P17, he gradually worked his way up through the ranks for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT by means of strong overtaking manoeuvres and eventually slotted into second place behind Marciello to secure a double lead for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. The Silver Cup cars from AKKA ASP Team (#87) and Toksport WRT (#7) made up positions during the opening stages and temporarily held a double lead in the Silver Cup. Team owner Hubert Haupt also had a good start from P35 with the #5 Haupt Racing Team car and worked his way up to P12.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 dominate middle third of the race
After around one hour, Luca Stolz (GER) took over the #4 car from Maro Engel and moved up into the lead of the field when Marciello headed into the pits for the second time to hand the #88 car to Daniel Juncadella as scheduled. After the halfway point of the race and another full-course yellow, five cars from Affalterbach were among the top ten for an extended period. Among them were Mikael Grenier (CAN) in the #57 WINWARD Racing car and Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) with the #90 Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3. Following a start from the pit lane due to an engine failure in qualifying, the defending Silver Cup champion temporarily worked his way up to eighth place with the #90 car. Luca Stolz, meanwhile, lost the lead in the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 due to a puncture. He managed to bring the car back to the pits without any consequential damage, but had to slot in further back in the field and final driver Vincent Abril (FRA) could only bring home 13th place overall.

Thrilling race finale with podium result for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

In the final third of the race, there was another extended full-course yellow because several teams had to deal with punctures. Jules Gounon, who was now behind the wheel of the #88 car, held on to his second place within striking distance from the leader. At the same time, he also had to defend his position from an opponent who was closing up, but successfully kept the latter at bay and managed to bring the podium result from a turbulent season opener at Monza home after 79 laps. The #57 WINWARD Racing entry was the second-best Mercedes-AMG GT3: having started 19th on the grid, final driver Philip Ellis finished the race seventh overall equalling third place in the Silver Cup.

Silver Cup podium in GT4 European Challenge

The support package of the GT World Challenge Europe at Monza included two races of the GT4 European Series with an impressive field of 46 cars in total. Here, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport was also the brand with the largest contingent with eleven cars from five customer teams: AKKA ASP Team, CD Sport, NM Racing Team, Selleslagh Racing Team und Trivellato Racing by Villorba Corse. The most successful car was the #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 that finished sixth overall and third in the Silver Cup in the second race. The #74 CD Sport entry also made it into the top ten of the overall classification equalling seventh place in the Silver Cup ranking. In the opening race on Saturday, the AKKA ASP Team had secured the best result of the Mercedes-AMG GT4s with its #87 car: ninth place overall meant fifth position in the Pro-Am class. The next GT4 European Series event is taking place at Circuit Paul Ricard from 28-30 May, again on the support bill of the GT World Challenge Europe.

Juncadella and Companc score points in Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series
For the first time, a virtual race of the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series featuring real-world GT professionals was held as part of a GT World Challenge Europe event. Daniel Juncadella, who got into the sim rig for the AKKA ASP Team, was second across the finish line at the digital Monza circuit. As a result, he scored two points for his team, to be added to the team’s total points’ score at the end of the season. In second place of the Silver classification, Ezequiel Perez Companc also managed to end up on the podium for Madpanda Motorsport and therefore also secured two points for the team. This season, the GT professionals have the opportunity to score additional points for the teams’ standings in the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series during every Endurance Cup weekend.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “All in all, it was a very challenging weekend for us, both for the Mercedes-AMG GT3s and for the Mercedes-AMG GT4s. Second place overall for the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP car in this extremely strong field is a successful start of the GT World Challenge Europe. The puncture for the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry is a real pity as here, more would certainly have been possible. But things like that happen in such a turbulent race. With third place in the Silver Cup for the #57 WINWARD Racing car, we can also successfully conclude the season-opening weekend in this class. In an equally strong competitors’ field with 46 cars in the GT4 European Series, we have also managed to score a Silver Cup podium finish and further top ten results. Now, we have to analyse the weekend precisely in order to attack again during the first Sprint weekend at Magny-Cours.”

Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: “I am very happy to be part of the Mercedes-AMG family now, too. I have known Raffaele and Dani for a very long time already and we have a great team spirit within the AKKA ASP Team. The results in qualifying already showed us that we would have to hold steady in an extremely strong field today. The handing of our Mercedes-AMG GT3 was fantastic, we were very fast throughout the race. Second place is an excellent result, something that we can build on. I am very proud of the entire team and I am looking forward to an exciting season in the GT World Challenge Europe.”

Philip Ellis, WINWARD Racing #57: “For us, qualifying wasn’t optimal with 19th position, but then, Russell had a super start. Mick was able to make up further ground with rain tyres in difficult conditions. Here, we were also lucky with a few safety car interventions. Eventually, we were out with slicks again and we had bad luck in that the tyres cooled off considerably during a full-course yellow. As a result, we were no longer able to attack the class leader. All in all, however, we can be very happy with third place in the Silver Cup and the entire weekend.”

Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4: “At the start, I made a mistake and we initially lost positions as a result. Then, however, the car ran superbly and I was able to make up positions relatively quickly. Of course, the puncture is extremely annoying – it cost us the lead and also a top result. Today, there surely would have been something in store for us, but unfortunately, we didn’t have any racing luck.”
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Formula One / 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Sunday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 09:19:45 PM »
Lewis Hamilton

Considering I was facing the barrier at one stage, then a lap down, yeah, it was a difficult day in that regard. I had some really good pace in the rain and was catching but just a little bit impatient, maybe, with the backmarkers. I’m only human so these mistakes happen. I’m grateful that I was back in the race and could hunt down and get back to second. The car had a rough time today. I started first, should have been first at the finish but these things are sent to test us and we’ve got a great battle on our hands. Game on.

Valtteri Bottas

I’m okay physically. It was a half-decent shunt but obviously could have been a lot worse at that speed. George got close and decided to go for a move. Obviously the track is quite narrow, there is only one dry line and he went for the outside, there was space all the time for two cars but he obviously lost the car and hit me. I haven’t spoken to him so far: I couldn’t hear a thing what he was on about and obviously we will have a different perspective on it. It was a tough race until then, from where I started it wasn’t easy to make ground. But I need to take whatever positives I can from this weekend and move on.

Toto Wolff

Leading the Championship with the fastest lap is one thing but what actually gives it a silver lining or positive connotation today is that we seem to have a really quick race car.

Unfortunately, the crash between George and Valtteri was unnecessary. Valtteri had a difficult first 30 laps and shouldn't have been there but George should have never launched into this manoeuvre considering that the track was drying up. It meant taking risks and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him and in any drivers’ development as a young driver you must never lose this global perspective. Lots to learn for him I guess.

Apart from that we had all highs and lows from the incident in the first corner which cost us two tenths in aero performance on Lewis’ car. Then we had Lewis hitting the barrier on lap 31. The recovery drive from Lewis after the race restarted was really brilliant, ten out of ten.

Overall, today was very difficult to judge because of the circumstances but we had a very good car today in the wet and in the drying up. We are slowly starting to understand it but according to the data we are still not having a car and power unit that can match the Red Bull Honda.

Andrew Shovlin

On lap 31 it was difficult imagine how things could get any worse. We had Lewis stuck in the gravel with a broken wing and Valtteri out with a massive amount of damage. So, leaving here still in the lead of both championships is quite a relief and I suppose we should be grateful for that.

For Lewis it was very much a race of two halves. The early part was defined by the damage to the front wing after the contact with Max - that improved slightly when the footplate came away completely but we still had a chunk of load and balance missing. As such, we were a bit surprised when Lewis was able to close in on Max towards the end of the intermediate stint. The transition to dry was okay, warm-up was a challenge and I think we look worse than our competitors in this regard but as we didn’t have time to change the wing it was always going to be a struggle to put Max under pressure. That became a bit of a moot point when Lewis slid off passing some traffic and lost a load of time and positions. The suspended race allowed us the chance to repair the car and in the final stint we saw what it was capable of. It was a great recovery by Lewis and an impressive fastest lap.

Valtteri’s day was even more difficult. He was finding the warm-up more of a challenge than Lewis, struggling mainly with rear grip. That was the case on both inter and slick tyres but on the transition to dry it was particularly bad. He got swamped by a few cars and ultimately, that was what started the events that triggered the crash with George and the end of this race. Overall, a frustrating weekend and one where we have plenty of areas that we need to look to for improvement.
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Formula One / 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Saturday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 09:16:42 PM »
Lewis Hamilton

Today has been great, obviously. I definitely didn’t expect us to be ahead of the two Red Bulls. I think they’ve been so quick this weekend. There were times when they were six tenths ahead. We didn’t really know where they would be, but the car was already feeling a lot better from the beginning of this weekend, so you know, mad respect to the Team for the hard work to really narrow down the window.

This track is all medium and high speed corners, so I think that’s why we’ve closed the gap. Temperatures are much lower which has brought us closer to the Red Bulls. But they are so strong – it’s going to take absolutely perfect laps to stay ahead of them if we are going to have a chance of the win tomorrow.

Valtteri Bottas

Today was a little bit confusing and I don’t understand the Q3 performance yet. On the first run of Q3 I had oversteer and then the second run, the rear end was not so good. Not what I was aiming for today, especially with the feeling I had at the start of qualifying.

Q3 first run, I went into turn two and had a really sudden snap from the rear end and I lost a lot of time. The same in run two, I couldn’t trust the rear end. That isn’t something I felt in Q1 or Q2 so it’s difficult to understand - we will have to investigate. Overtaking here is difficult with a narrow track but I will fight to give it everything tomorrow.

Toto Wolff

The pole was a surprise because at the moment we do not have the quickest car. It was so close and Max, without the mistake, would have been on pole. But the loss compared to last year is just enormous – we were six tenths ahead and now we are two tenths behind. So, we need to scratch our heads and just try to find the performance. It’s a quicker car than in Bahrain, I think we have got the car in a better balance window, that’s the main reason for the improvement. We had some drivability concerns in Bahrain and we are sorting that out - slowly we are getting there.

It’s a big advantage for them because not only two Red Bulls behind but Perez is starting on softs so they can do two different strategies. Valtteri has to make his way through the soft runners, which he will and can, but I think we are a little bit on the backfoot.

Andrew Shovlin

Congratulations to Lewis on his 99th pole position. He certainly had to work hard for this one but drove really well through the session. It’s not been an easy day by any measure. We were struggling to get enough temperature for a single lap and if you start with the tyres on the cold side, the grip just isn’t there and you spend most of the lap sliding around. We’ve got a bit of analysis to do to understand Valtteri’s issue. He was looking very strong in Q1 but set his best time on the third lap and couldn’t repeat that time for the rest of the session. We’re expecting another close fight tomorrow, we’ve at least got both cars on the medium tyre which should give us flexibility around stop laps and hopefully we’ve got a car that’s fast enough to fight for the win.
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Formula One / 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Friday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 09:14:39 PM »
Valtteri Bottas

The car is feeling much better than on the first day in Bahrain. As I said yesterday, it is a different track and type of circuit with different grip levels and surface. The weekend has started in a positive way, I’m much happier with the balance of the car.

The car feels better, we still have the same type of issues as in Bahrain but less so. Still not perfect but we are only on event two out of 23 this season so hopefully we have time to fix it. I feel like we’ve made steps forward so that’s really good. The whole grid from midfield to the front looks very close. We didn’t see the best from Red Bull today but we’ll see that in Q3 tomorrow. No doubt they are going to be fast. We still don’t think we are the fastest car and we really need to improve on that on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton

The team worked very hard to understand what happened in the last race where we were weak and to see if we can try to tweak the car for a better set-up. I also think the track has come a little bit more in our direction. We started off with a really good set-up today, a few tweaks here and there but no major issues. So far, good pace from us this weekend.

We haven’t seen the best from the Red Bulls yet. It looks like they had messy sessions with traffic but it will be interesting to see just how quick they are tomorrow. Positioning is important here - it’s hard to follow around this track so nailing the set-up and maximising tomorrow is going to be so important.

Andrew Shovlin

We brought a few aerodynamic updates here and our early work today confirmed that they were performing correctly. The car has also had a reasonable balance from the start which has made working through the programme relatively easy. Generating tyre temperature isn’t especially easy here - the air and track are cold - but at least we’re not suffering from poor rear grip like we were in Bahrain.

The traffic has been a bit of a challenge, both drivers struggled to find clear track at times but today is about understanding the car rather than setting quick laps and I think we have done some good work in that regard. We’ve still not managed to get the grip out of the soft tyre on lap one so that’s something we need to work on overnight. We also can’t say where we stand in terms of pace as we’ve not seen Verstappen on a single lap or long run but both drivers are reasonably happy with how the car is working and the issues we need to solve are all within the realms of normal setup tuning.
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Formula One / 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Preview
« Last post by fasteddy on April 14, 2021, 09:20:06 AM »
Toto Talks Imola

The 2021 F1 season certainly began in spectacular style. It was an encouraging first race, coming away from Bahrain with a double podium, and hopefully the duel in the desert between us and Red Bull is a sign of what’s to come this year.

We may have won the first round, but we’re under no illusions that this will be a straightforward season. The car is still lacking pace over a single lap and Red Bull appear to have the edge right now. We’re pushing hard to close the gap, and this is a challenge we relish.

We’ve been eager to get back on track over this three-week break and round two, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is just around the corner. Imola is such an historic and iconic venue, and it’s a track the drivers really enjoy, with its sweeping nature, high speeds and variety of corner types.

It’s quite a narrow track, which makes overtaking more difficult, but this puts more focus on strategy and makes qualifying even more crucial. We all enjoyed returning to Imola in 2020, after a 14-year gap, and it was made more special by the fact we secured our seventh Constructors’ championship on that weekend. We’re looking forward to being back there again this weekend and seeing what the 2021 race has in store!
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Daimler Business / Annual Meeting: Daimler accelerates electric push
« Last post by fasteddy on April 01, 2021, 10:26:27 AM »
Stuttgart (Germany) - Daimler AG (ticker symbol DAI) is pressing ahead with its structural realignment and the acceleration of a shift to electric mobility. “The year 2020 was the most challenging for Daimler during my term as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. We passed the pandemic stress test with flying colors, defined the necessary cost-cutting measures, and initiated their consistent implementation to make the company more crisis-proof. We also refocused our strategy on sustainability and climate protection. Our sustainable business strategy must strike a responsible balance between environmental, social and financial goals,” said Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG, on Wednesday at the company’s virtual regular Annual Meeting. Bischoff has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2007 and is stepping down after the Annual Meeting.

This year Mercedes-Benz Cars is significantly expanding its offering of fully electric vehicles: The compact electric model EQA will be followed shortly by the EQS and the EQB as well as the EQE later this year. Also, Mercedes-Benz Vans will enrich the portfolio with electric vehicles: before the end of the year concepts for an electrified Citan and the T-Class will be presented. Daimler Trucks & Buses is also focusing on CO2-neutral passenger and goods transportation: Series production of the eActros, which has a range of well over 200 kilometers and is suitable for urban heavy goods and distribution transport, will start in fall this year. For longer distances with a range of about 500 kilometers, the eActros LongHaul is being developed for market launch as of 2024. In addition, fuel-cell trucks are scheduled to go into series production in the second half of the decade. With the buses, the eCitaro and the articulated eCitaro are two vehicles already available for CO2-neutral urban transport.

“Today, Daimler has the broadest electric range in the automotive industry – from city cars to heavy-duty trucks. But that’s not enough for us. We want to accelerate the electrification of our product portfolio. Almost two years ago, we presented our Ambition2039. We want a CO2-neutral fleet of new cars. It’s our goal to reach this target sooner,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and of Mercedes-Benz AG.

A prerequisite for the breakthrough of electric mobility is an efficient public charging infrastructure which expands to keep pace with the electric ramp-up of manufacturers. To meet the European Commission’s CO2 targets, Europe needs three million public charging points by the end of the decade. “Today, we don’t even have a tenth of this. We need to speed this up. Daimler, as part of the auto industry, will play its part. For example, we will further expand the Ionity charging network. I am convinced: When industry and politics work hand in hand, we move forward together. We should not focus our efforts only on banning the status quo. We should make possible the new, this is key," said Källenius.

Project Focus offers potential

In order to utilize the full potential of the two industrial divisions during the industrial transformation and to create sustainable value, the Board of Management and Supervisory Board decided in February 2021 to initiate a fundamental change to the Group’s structure: Daimler intends to spin off Daimler Truck and list it on the stock exchange. It is planned to transfer a significant majority stake in Daimler Truck to the Daimler shareholders. “With a clear focus on commercial vehicles on one side, premium cars and vans on the other, we are creating the preconditions for more financially successful companies and thus also offer enhanced long-term job security. It is a matter of fact that the transformation of the automotive industry more than ever requires speed and an undivided focus on innovation,” said Bischoff. The transaction and the listing of Daimler Truck on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. It is also intended to rename Daimler as Mercedes-Benz in due course. The planned spin-off will be under voting at an Extraordinary Shareholder’s Meeting which is planned to take place in fall of 2021.

Path to profitable growth

“We want to shape the future. We are on the right track financially. Now we are keeping up the pace in order to achieve our profitability targets on a sustainable basis. Under strong market conditions, we strive for a double-digit margin at Mercedes-Benz Cars,” said Källenius. Daimler’s Board of Management was aware of its great responsibility towards employees, also with the targeted restructuring of sites. “In the long run, it benefits no one to work in a plant with a great tradition. It’s more important to work in plants with a great future. We do not wait for change – we are the ones who are changing. We will continue growing profitably and at the same time help make this world climate neutral with the aid of exceptional engineering and with a deep sense of conviction.”

2020 financial year better than expected

For the challenging 2020 financial year, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board propose distributing a dividend of €1.35 per share (2019: €0.90), in line with the company’s long-term dividend policy. As a result of strict cost discipline and extensive measures to preserve liquidity, as well as a strong performance in the divisions, EBIT increased by 53% to €6.6 billion. Adjusted EBIT reflects the ongoing business and amounted to €8.6 billion (2019: €10.3 billion). Net profit increased to €4.0 billion from €2.7 billion. Net profit attributable to the shareholders of Daimler AG amounted to €3.6 billion (2019: €2.4 billion). The Group’s unit sales fell by 15% to 2.84 million cars and commercial vehicles. Revenue decreased by 11% to €154.3 billion. The free cash flow of the industrial business amounted to €8.3 billion (2019: €1.4 billion). The adjusted free cash flow of the industrial business was €9.2 billion (2019: €2.7 billion). The net liquidity of the industrial business improved to €17.9 billion (end of 2019: €11.0 billion).

Outlook first quarter 2021

After a good start with a tailwind from last year, Daimler is confident about the current financial year. Based on the anticipated market development and the current assessments of the divisions, unit sales, revenue and EBIT in 2021 are still expected to be significantly above prior-year levels.

In the first quarter of 2021 the positive trend seen in previous quarters continues. Despite temporary bottlenecks for semiconductors, unit sales and revenues at Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans should be higher than in the prior year’s quarter, thanks to the Chinese market and a strong product mix. Due to strong pricing and continued stringent cost control, Mercedes-Benz is confident about profitability in the first quarter. Incoming orders at Daimler Trucks are very promising, especially in Europe and the US. Unit sales in the first quarter are expected to remain at year-earlier levels, despite the impact from the pandemic on the Indonesian market and on the bus chassis business. Thanks to stringent cost management, strong product mix and disciplined pricing, profitability is seen higher than in the first quarter last year. Furthermore, semiconductor bottlenecks are affecting the supply chain of Daimler Trucks & Buses. The division monitors the situation closely and is in constant contact with the suppliers.

Changes in the Supervisory Board

Petraea Heynicke, Jürgen Hambrecht and Manfred Bischoff are stepping down from the Supervisory Board at the end of the Annual Meeting. Elizabeth Centoni, Chief Strategy Officer and General Manager of Applications at Cisco Systems, Inc., Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell plc, and Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, are proposed for election at the Annual Meeting. Bischoff’s departure after 14 years as Chairman of the Supervisory Board marks the end of an era. “It is fair to say that Manfred Bischoff has left his mark on a piece of German industrial history. This company is extremely well positioned for the future, and that is largely thanks to him,” said Källenius. In December 2020, the Supervisory Board proposed as Bischoff’s successor Bernd Pischetsrieder, who will stand for election as Supervisory Board Chairman at the constituent meeting of the new Supervisory Board after the end of the Annual Meeting.
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Motorsports / TeamViewer to enter landmark partnership with Mercedes-AMG
« Last post by fasteddy on March 30, 2021, 08:45:28 PM »
TeamViewer will provide the teams with remote connectivity solutions and further cutting-edge technology to drive greater performance over the next five years. The software company breaks new ground as the first brand to agree a new partnership with Mercedes in Formula One and Formula E, including prominent branding on both cars and the drivers’ racing suits. As the only manufacturer competing in both series, Mercedes is uniquely positioned to deliver this partnership.

TeamViewer will be joining a high-tech ecosystem that is engineering the future of mobility in the world’s fastest development laboratory, thanks to advanced performance hybrid solutions in Formula One and battery electric technology in Formula E, which will find their ways into future passenger vehicles. The demanding remote operating conditions, as well as the data-driven nature of each racing series, will prove use cases that can be translated from the racetrack to the industrial environment for TeamViewer’s customers.

TeamViewer software will make the Mercedes teams more efficient, with optimized remote operations and enhanced connectivity between team processes trackside and back at base, notably in terms of race support during testing and racing. TeamViewer will furthermore play an important role in motorsport’s journey towards net zero emissions, by enabling people and companies to effectively monitor systems remotely. By enabling remote working and IoT solutions across multiple sites, TeamViewer technology can deliver further reductions of the carbon footprint of the racing teams, each of which achieved the FIA’s 3* Environmental Accreditation standard last year.

Today’s announcement also provides a sneak preview of the branding that will appear on the Mercedes race cars in Formula One and Formula E, as well as on the driver overalls and teamwear, from the respective Monaco races in each series – the Monaco E-Prix will be held on 8th May, with the Grand Prix de Monaco following two weeks later, on 23rd May.

Broadcast in more than 170 territories around the world and with more than 500 million global fans, Formula One is the world’s most popular annual sporting platform and reaches an annual cumulative audience of over 1.5 billion. Alongside the global pinnacle of motorsport, Formula E is growing a new and distinctive audience for its unique city racing format, and together the two series will support TeamViewer’s ambition to become a truly global tech brand through races in 25 countries across six continents.

“We are thrilled to announce this new partnership with TeamViewer,” said Toto Wolff, CEO and Team Principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Motorsport is a proven catalyst for technology and business development, and we are excited to work together on both fronts over the coming years. It is a dynamic and ambitious brand, and a perfect fit for the pioneering spirit of Mercedes-Benz in motorsport. By working together across F1 and FE, we can drive gains in technology performance, and we will help optimize remote operations for many companies across the globe. In addition to our own ambitions in terms of sustainability, we are convinced that the growth of companies like TeamViewer will make a meaningful difference to CO2 emissions on a much greater scale. I’m excited to welcome them to the team – and looking forward to seeing their brand enter the global stage with our Monaco races in May.”

Oliver Steil, CEO of TeamViewer: “We are very proud to become an official partner of Mercedes-Benz, one of the most iconic brands in motorsport. TeamViewer and Mercedes share the same values of performance, innovation, and engineering. This partnership is a key pillar in our strategy to build a truly global tech brand, while creating new opportunities to transfer use cases from the fastest-moving and most data-driven sports into the industrial environment of our customers. We are excited to provide the Mercedes Formula One and Formula E teams with our leading connectivity solutions for remote diagnostics and collaboration – making them faster, more efficient, and more sustainable. Joining forces with the most successful teams in motorsport underpins our strategy to grow stronger for longer and generates additional value for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

About TeamViewer

TeamViewer is a leading global technology company that provides a connectivity platform to remotely access, control, manage, monitor, and repair devices of any kind – from laptops and mobile phones to industrial machines and robots. Although TeamViewer is free of charge for private use, it has more than 550,000 subscribers and enables companies of all sizes and from all industries to digitalize their business-critical processes through seamless connectivity. Against the backdrop of global megatrends like device proliferation, automation and new work, TeamViewer proactively shapes digital transformation and continuously innovates in the fields of Augmented Reality, Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence. Since the company’s foundation in 2005, TeamViewer’s software has been installed on more than 2.5 billion devices around the world. The company is headquartered in Goppingen, Germany, and employs more than 1,300 people globally. In 2020, TeamViewer achieved billings of EUR 460m. TeamViewer AG (TMV) is listed at Frankfurt Stock Exchange and belongs to the MDAX.
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Stuttgart – When it comes to increasing vehicle safety, Mercedes-Benz Trucks has always been a pioneer in the industry. The company has invested hundreds of millions of Euros per year in research and development, for assistance systems to provide even greater assistance to drivers in their work and increase safety for all road users. Most recent examples include Active Sideguard Assist with automated braking function and Active Drive Assist 2 with automatic emergency stop function which the company presented to the world last autumn. With immediate effect customers in 24 EU countries and selected non-EU markets can order the new safety assistance systems for a number of Mercedes-Benz trucks for which these systems are available. Production starts in June 2021.

Sideguard Assist from Mercedes-Benz on the market since 2016

Being on the road in a heavy truck in city traffic, sometimes on narrow roads and with confusing intersections is a challenge for many professional drivers. This especially applies to turning manoeuvres. The driver needs to pay attention to traffic lights, signage as well as oncoming and cross traffic in front and also pedestrians and cyclists to the side. The problem: vulnerable traffic participants are often unaware that a truck driver may not even be able to see them in certain situations. In addition, heavy trucks with large wheelbases or trailers often turn off in a way that is not easily understood by other traffic participants: before turning, trucks first drive straight ahead into the intersection, to make allowance for the trail characteristics of the semi-trailer or trailer. A cyclist or pedestrian crossing on the co-driver side of the truck therefore sometimes doesn't even think that the truck is going to turn off, but assumes that it's going to continue straight on.

In such situations, Sideguard Assist (S1R), developed by Mercedes-Benz Trucks and available ex works for many Actros, Arocs and Econic model variants since 2016, can intervene in a helpful way. Sideguard Assist can warn the driver by means of a multi-stage process during a right turn in case the system recognises, for example, a pedestrian or cyclist in the monitoring zone on the co-driver's side.

New: Active Sideguard Assist with automated braking application

From June 2021 Sideguard Assist (S1R) will be replaced on the majority of Actros and Arocs models by the new Active Sideguard Assist (S1X) equipped with a further function that could, under certain circumstances, save lives: Active Sideguard Assist (ASGA), available from production month June, can not only warn the driver of moving pedestrians or cyclists on the co-driver's side, but also initiate an automated braking manoeuvre at turning speeds of up to 20 km/h, bringing the vehicle to a standstill should the driver not respond to the warning tones. Active Sideguard Assist recognises the need for this intervention from the angle of the steering wheel and, ideally, prevents any collision. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is the first truck manufacturer in the world to offer such a system with active braking function, thus making its contribution toward further reducing the number of serious injuries or even deaths caused by accidents when vehicles are turning.

New: Active Drive Assist 2 with emergency stop function

Active Drive Assist (ADA) also represents a step forward in terms of safety – this is the system which in 2018 made the new Actros the world's first series truck to be capable of partially automated driving (SAE level 2). Under certain preconditions it actively supports the driver in the longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck and can automatically maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead, accelerate and also steer if the necessary system conditions such as sufficient curve radius or clearly visible road markings are met. If the driver comes too close to a vehicle in front, ADA can automatically brake the truck until the pre-determined minimum distance has been re-established. Once that is the case, the system can then re-accelerate the truck up to the pre-determined speed.

Available from June 2021, the newest-generation ADA 2 can do even more: the system is capable of initiating an emergency stop if it recognises that the driver has not been actively involved in the driving process for a longer period of time, e.g. due to health problems. First the system requests the driver via visual and acoustic signals to place his or her hands on the wheel. But if he or she does not respond after 60 seconds, even after multiple warnings, by braking, steering, accelerating or operating the vehicle systems via the buttons on the steering wheel, within its limits the system can brake until the truck safely comes to a standstill within its lane while warning the following vehicles using the hazard lights. The emergency stop manoeuvre initiated by the system can be stopped by using a kick-down at any time. If the truck comes to a standstill, the system can automatically engage the new electronic parking brake. In addition, the doors are unlocked so that paramedics and other first responders can directly reach the driver in case of a medical emergency.

Active Brake Assist 5 – emergency braking assistant for motorways and city traffic

Active Sideguard Assist's automatic braking intervention and Active Drive Assist 2's automatic emergency stop are not to be confused with Active Brake Assist 5's emergency braking function. ABA 5 works with a combination of radar and camera systems. Compared to ABA 4, it can respond to moving persons not only with a partial, but with an automated full-stop braking manoeuvre up to a vehicle speed of 50 km/h.

If ABA 5 recognises the danger of an accident with a preceding vehicle, a stationary obstacle or a pedestrian that is either oncoming, crossing, walking in their own lane or suddenly stopping in shock, an visual or acoustic warning can be issued to the driver first. If the driver does not adequately respond, the system can then initiate a partial braking manoeuvre in a second step, with a speed reduction of up to three metres per second, which corresponds to approx. 50 percent of maximum braking performance. If a collision is imminent nonetheless, within system limits ABA 5 can perform an automatic emergency full-stop braking manoeuvre and then engage the new electronic parking brake after reaching a standstill.

The following applies to all safety assistance systems by Mercedes-Benz Trucks: they are all designed to support the driver as much as possible within the system limits – however, and in accordance with the law, the driver remains fully and finally responsible for his or her vehicle.

That assistance systems which can actively support the driver in situations that the system recognises as critical can have a positive effect on road safety, was demonstrated by a field test which was carried out between 2008 and 2012 by the German Federal Association for Freight Transport, Logistics and Waste Disposal, the Trade Association for the Transport Industry (Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung, der Berufsgenossenschaft für Transport und Verkehrswirtschaft) and the Kravag insurance company with more than 1000 vehicles: it showed that the probability of trucks equipped with driver assistance systems being involved in an accident was up to 34 percent lower than for reference vehicles of the same type.
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