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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Marking a milestone in one of the key hindrances to plague electric vehicles (EVs) thus far, eight of the word’s automakers have agreed to unify on a harmonized charging system capable of a 15-minute recharge.
It’s been two years since Daimler and BYD of China announced a partnership to develop electric vehicles for the Chinese market, but the collaboration finally has a name: Denza.
The two have not decided on what the logo will look like, but it appears that there are three possibilities being considered. None of the logos being proposed resemble the badges from Mercedes-Benz or BYD. It’s believed that the first Denza-badged vehicle will be built on the previous-generation Mercedes B-Class platform.
While Mercedes is in charge of the chassis, BYD will be in handle developing the electric powertrain. As For now, Denzas will only be sold to the Chinese market. Further details are scarce but we’ll probably hear more about the first Denza model when the Beijing Motor Show kicks off.
GALLERY: Denza Proposed Logos
[Source: Sohu via Leftlane News]
Car enthusiasts probably cringed during Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis” video as the duo mangled a Maybach 57, but the joke seems to be on them now.
The irreverently-altered Maybach was supposed to bring between and estimated $100,000 and $150,000 at auction. That money was meant to go, at least in part, to the Save the Children Charity.
Unfortunately, as the audacious music stars learned, people don’t really like the idea of spending that kind of money on what amounts to a disfigured and outdated Maybach. The car earned $60,000 — an less than a quarter of its original value. While that’s chump change to own an ultra-exclusive Maybach (especially because the company is gone), it’s still a lot to pay for junk.
It’s too bad one of the music moguls didn’t just “give” it to the other as a memento of the video shoot. They could have collectively donated more to the charity without breaking much of a sweat. Heck it wasn’t so long ago that Birdman gave his brother and Lil Wayne Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Mulsanne respectively.
Nonetheless, Save the Children is probably grateful for whatever money it got, regardless of wasted potential. At least it still raised more than Justin Bieber‘s Hyundai Genesis, though even that is questionable considering the Hyundai sold for more than its original MSRP.
You can watch the music video after the break.
Wikipedia is known to the world as the open encyclopedia that anyone can edit on the Internet. While it may seem like the foundation of a disaster, Wiki contributors have, for the most part, kept things accurate and factual.
So why is it a surprise to some that a company would edit its own Wikipedia page? Well, it’s not really, since it probably happens more often than is documented, but it’s unfortunate when the company selectively removes anything negative that was written about them.
That’s what Daimler is being accused of when their German Wikipedia page was edited and the IP address of the user pointed back to Daimler AG’s headquarters in Germany. The information that was removed mentioned that Daimler, BMW, and Porsche had all received the “Worst EU Lobbying Award” back in 2007 for their joint efforts to delay Europe’s upcoming CO2 regulations.
Naturally Daimler is saying that the edit was not made on behalf of Daimler but that it was the work of an independent Wikipedia contributor that also added onto an article about Victoria, the Crown Princess of Sweden, and another article about müesli. We’re not sure what those alleged edits have to do with Daimler, but it doesn’t seem so shocking that the company would remove negative information from a public forum, given the ability.
Although Daimler has announced the discontinuation of the Maybach brand, young money ballers, shot-callers now have the opportunity to bid on what’s arguably the most notorious Maybach of all.
Starring in the Jay-Z and Kanye West “Otis” music video, the chopped “Mad Max” Maybach will be put on the block by auction house Phillips de Pury & Co. at the New York Contemporary Art Evening sale on March 8. All proceeds of the Maybach auction will be donated to Save the Children. Previously, this vehicle was also up for auction to benefit the victims of drought in East Africa.
Burning rubber in four-wheel drifts and spitting fire in the process, Rockafella’s insane whip is estimated to raise between $100,000 to $150,000. Considering Jay-Z and Kanye’s handiwork left us with half a car, it seems appropriate for its estimate to be half the value of a Maybach 57 when new.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a funky, but rugged luxury SUV from the German automaker, and it appears that it’ll be in production until at least the year 2020.
Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler has come to an agreement with Magna Steyr to extend the production of its G-Wagen in Graz, Austria and was able to get more favorable conditions along with a better price from Magna. Daimler went so far as to threaten Magna that the company would move production of the G-Class to Hungary but it appears that Magna conceded to Daimler’s wants and production will continue in Austria.
The G-Class was originally designed to be a rugged off-roader and a light military vehicle for the German Army. The plant in Graz began production of the SUV back in 1979 and is currently the longest produced Mercedes-Benz in Daimler’s history. Last year, 7,200 G-Class vehicles were made, and this year the number is set to 8,500. Mercedes hopes to hit an annual production of 10,000 for their G-Wagen.
Daimler got caught with their pants down this year when Audi passed Mercedes-Benz for the first time in history to become the world’s number two luxury car maker. That won’t be the case if they have their way next year.
According to internal documents obtained by Automotive News, Daimler is spurring Mercedes to increase output by 13 percent next year to more than 1.4 millon passenger vehicles. Those numbers don’t include their Smart or soon-to-vanish Maybach brands. With those figured into the mix, the company projects 1.52 million vehicles next year, though a Daimler spokesperson declined to comment on the goals.
“Mercedes-Benz is going on the attack,” Daimler board member for manufacturing and procurement Wolfgang Bernhard said in a press release. “We are securing our path to the top by extensively investing in the expansion of our high-performance production network.”
Mercedes fell to third place this year despite breaking company records by selling 1.25 million cars and SUVs.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class
[Source: Automotive News]
Lieb’s five-year run as Mercedes CEO was cut short when he was dismissed for allegedly misusing $100,000 in company funds to upgrade a Mercedes-owned home in New Jersey. Lieb’s lawyer, Stefan Naegele, states that some of the improvements were ordered or approved by Daimler’s facility management. Those that weren’t on the list were called necessities with Naegele stating that the washer and dryer were replaced because they were not repairable and the home gym was refurbished because of water damage.
Naegele will be approaching the case with the premise that Daimler has fired dozens of former executives unfairly as a result of their “zero tolerance” crackdown on ethics violations. The American government had alleged that Daimler made improper payments of at least $56 million from 1998-2008 to at least 22 countries in order to obtain government contracts. In April 2010, Daimler paid out $185 million to settle the charges.
The long rumored Aston Martin-Daimler alliance appears to be taking shape, with a report in the Financial Times suggesting that the British sports car builder has approached Daimler with a request for assistance regarding engines, safety systems and other technology.
Aston Martin seems to be seeking independence from former owner Ford, which helped out greatly on the technological front. Aston Martin and Ford have an engine deal that lasts until 2013, and the Kuwaiti consortium that now owns Aston has been previously rumored to have approached Daimler regarding a possible collaboration with their Maybach division.
Remember Maybach? Of course not, we’re in a recession. But back in the day, when the grass was green and birds sang sweetly in the forests, Mercedes’ experiment with ultra-luxury was quietly shuttered after people decided that two-tone paint wasn’t compelling enough a reason to buy what looked like a melted S-Class owned by Simon Cowell.
So now, Mercedes-Benz is quietly weighing their options. They could turn Maybach into a sub-brand of Mercedes, like AMG or Designo: more in line within the company than as a separate division. They could ask Aston Martin to build the next Maybach—the Brits have already created four concepts based on the S-Class for Benz’s consideration. Or, they could take it out back and shutter it.
Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, admitted that a partnership with Aston Martin was in the talks. And, the Daimler board need to reach a conclusion on Maybach by July 1st, the next time they are scheduled to meet. Spokespeople for both companies refused to comment.
Hey, after all, nouveau riche Beijingers and oil sheiks have needs, too.
[Source: Automotive News]
The slow-selling luxurious Maybach may be in trouble and we will find out by July 1. Mercedes parent company Daimler AG is trying to decide what to do with the Maybach company after slumping sale issues. Daimler will either axe the car or possibly partner with British car-maker Aston Martin for a second-generation car.
According to CEO Dieter Zetche, “there is a higher likelihood to come to a positive decision” for a new-generation of Maybach if a partner joins production. Zetche did confirm that Daimler has been discussing a partnership with Aston Martin and that there are no other prospects. A concept for the next-generation Maybach has been designed but a final decision has not been made, according to Zetche. Daimler invested over $1 billion on development for the Maybach, but ”it was not a good investment for a small-volume vehicle.”
Slow-selling would be an understatement. Only 157 Maybachs were sold last year, according to IHS Automotive, far short of the Mercedes- Benz goal of 1,500 units.
If Aston Martin produces the Maybach, the British automaker would be inclined to buy engines (V8 and V12) and transmissions (seven-speed automatic) from Mercedes-Benz but would implement them into other Aston Martin vehicles.
GALLERY: 2011 Maybach Lineup
[Source: Automotive News]
The struggling Smart brand was set to get a potential savior this year with the introduction of a new four-door based on a Nissan platform. That, however, will not happen now, as part of a new agreement where Smart and Mercedes parent company Daimler has taken back distribution of its mini-car from the Penske Automotive Group.
There are two main reasons behind the change, the first is for simplicity’s sake with the U.S. the only market in the world where Smart and Mercedes operate independently. The more important reason, however, is fuel economy, with Mercedes eager to bolster its CAFE numbers with the 41-mpg Smart fortwo.
After initial sales of 24,622 cars in 2008, Smart managed to move just 5,927 vehicles last year. While dropping the planned Nissan model does seem like a bad move, it shows signs of a long-term plan with Mercedes willing to deal with low sales in the short term in order to properly built up the Smart brand.
In the mean time, however, the future is bleak for Smart with 21 dealers set to loose their franchise rites, while the remaining 58 will be forced to soldier on with what is essentially one model (the ForTwo), as well as an ultra-niche market electric version of the car.
[Source: Automotive News]
Although the Smart ForTwo hasn’t been warmly received by American buyers, there is hope for the quirky maker of diminutive city cars, as parent company Daimler is backing the brand with new products and utilizing their alliance with Renault-Nissan to give the lineup a boost.
A Smart representative confirmed that a four seat model will arrive sometime in the future, a vehicle that will doubtlessly expand Smart’s appeal to a much broader customer base. While this car will arrive in a few years, a 5-seater hatch with 5-doors reportedly based on the Nissan Micra is set to bow in the last quarter of 2011. A revised ForTwo, which will share a jointly-developed Renault-Nissan platform will also debut, but on an unspecified time frame.
If you work for the Daimler corporation, you’re about to get a nice bonus from the company for doing absolutely nothing. As part of their 125th anniversary celebrations, all 260,000 employees of Mercedes-Benz‘s parent company will be getting a bonus to celebrate the milestone, with the total amount estimated at 100 million euros.
The average bonus is expected to be about 1000 euros per worker, or $1370 US, depending on seniority and other factors. Workers in Germany will also get a 3150 euro bonus, or $4315 , to celebrate Daimler’s successful financial year in 2010.
[Source: Detroit News]
It’s no secret that the revival of the Maybach brand by Mercedes parent company Daimler has been a flop. Perhaps it’s because of how much the cars shared with their S-Class counterparts, but apart from the odd Russian oligarch, the world’s wealthiest folks have decided to stick with faithful British brands like Bentley and Rolls-Royce when it comes to their ultra-luxury needs.
The ability of British brands to built true luxury cars has apparently not gone unnoticed by Daimler and according to a report by the Financial Times, Daimler may source Aston Martin to build the next generation of Maybach models.
In exchange, Aston Martin would reportedly get access to engine technology from Mercedes-Benz, something AM desperately needs as its 6.0-liter V12 engine (used in almost every vehicle it sells) is quickly becoming outdated.
A Daimler spokesman has denied the report, but did comment that the lines of communication between the two automakers is open. This comes as no surprise as Aston Martin’s Lagonda concept (which debuted at the Geneva Auto Show two years ago) was based on the Mercedes GL platform.
While still mostly a rumor, the story doesn’t have any obvious holes in it with Daimler eager to partner with other automakers (including recent agreements with Renault/Nissan/Infiniti), while Aston Martin is no doubt eager to find a large partner to offset costs, especially with rivals like Ferrari being owned by Fiat and Lamborghini by Volkswagen.
Daimler Trucks has chosen the IAA auto show in Hanover, Germany as the venue to introduce its concept of a fully electric commercial vehicle based on a Mitsubishi/Fuso Canter 3s13 medium-duty cabover truck. Confused?
Well Daimler AG owns 85 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and the Canter has been a global best seller in its segment for years, so the reasons for choosing it to showcase electric drive technology aren’t quite as random as they might seem. Dubbed the E-CELL, the Canter uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, with the batteries mounted inside the frame. The result is a zero emission commercial vehicle, one rated at 3.5 ton gross weight.
The E-CELL is considered the next step from the current diesel engined Canter (recognized as one of the most fuel efficient medium-trucks currently available), as is a diesel/electric hybrid version – of which 1000 are currently undergoing trials in various markets around the world including Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland and Japan. The Canter hybrid is said to deliver fuel savings of around 15 percent over it’s conventional diesel counterpart.
However, whether electric power for commercial vehicle applications like the Canter E-CELL can prove a valid proposition remains to be seen, especially since the push for EV passenger cars is likely to further tax an already strained electricity grid in many parts of the world and heavier commercial trucks will likely require greater energy and storage capacity than cars to operate. Still, the E-CELL remains an interesting concept and proves that no matter what sector of the vehicle market, all kinds of different options for saving fuel and reducing emissions are currently on the table.
Mercedes parent company Daimler AG is in talks with Toyota over using the Japanese automaker’s hybrid technology. If a deal is struck, it would see Toyota provide Daimler with electric motors, batteries and technology.
Toyota has declined to comment on the report but has reiterated an earlier stance that it will consider requests from other automakers in search of its hybrid technology. Toyota already provides hybrid technology to Nissan, Mazda and Ford.
A hybrid deal between the two automakers would help Toyota cut production costs of its hybrid vehicles through economies of scale.
The arrangement is rumored to be a part of a larger partnership between the Japanese and German auto-giants that could see both parties work together on on fuel-cell technology as well.
Ok, so it’s not hitchhiking in the literal sense – it’s carpooling (we just thought that hitchhiking sounded edgier) – and Daimler has put together a pilot carpooling project that mashes ride sharing with social media. Called Car2gether, this new service is an offshoot of Daimler’s car2go Smart-sharing program. The Car2gether service will, according to the company, show “how flexible and independent mobility can be achieved without car ownership.”
To get onboard with the program, users enter details about their upcoming journey using a smartphone or PC. Once all the info is inputted, the car2gether software makes a match. If a user wants to make a match themselves, the software automatically posts details of ride offers and requests on a microblogging site similar to Twitter.
In the start-up phase of the program, the software is free. Passengers using the service will have to pay for their ride, about 9.5 cents per minute to reimburse the driver for vehicle maintenance, gas, etc. Passengers will pay drivers in cash at first, but as the system progresses, Daimler will debut an automated, cashless payment program.
Car2gether starts on September 18 in the German city of Ulm, and if it gains popularity, it may expand to other cities.
In a shockingly forthright appraisal of the Chinese auto market, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche laid out the harsh reality for the Chinese auto market, stating that petroleum-powered vehicles are not sustainable due to the massive demand, and that electric vehicles are imperative.
Speaking at an event in Beijing, Zetsche remarked “If you look at the population and the growth here, you quickly reach the conclusion that it would be unthinkable to provide these people with traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. There just isn’t enough oil for that. So there has to be personal transportation that is not dependent on oil and is CO2-free to the greatest possible extent. In this regard, BYD is clearly a front runner.“
Daimler is conveniently partnered with BYD in an electric vehicle alliance, and Zetsche singled out the taxi market as the most promising sector for any potential EV. With over 1 billion people, China is an obvious candidate for EVs, but how long will it be until the focus of a similar campaign is directed at North America?
[Source: Automotive News]
According to a report by French auto-pub L’Automobile, the recent partnership between Daimler and Nissan parent company Renault could result in a new entry-level crossover for the Infiniti luxury brand. So far both automakers have only said that a new architecture will be used to build the next-gen Renault Twingo, Mercedes A-Class and B-Class, as well as a new four-door Smart model. L’Automobile suggests, however, that a new CUV could be built on this same setup, slotting in underneath the current EX. Likely called the DX, it would compete against the BMX X1 and Auid Q3.
As much of a stretch as this sounds, it’s not unrealistic. Such a small crossover might not be feasible for the North American market, and it might not ever be sold here. While BMW is planning to bring the X1 to our shores, Audi has repeatedly said the upcoming Q3 won’t be offered in the U.S.
Wed argue that the biggest strike against the possibility of a Mercedes-sourced Infiniti DX is the new Nissan Juke, which already sports a high-tech engine and advanced AWD system and could surely be adapted to the Infiniti brand and sold in Europe.
The Infiniti G will in fact be powered by a 4-cylinder engine in the future says company CEO Carlos Ghosn, and that four-banger will come from Mercedes. Earlier this week when Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault/Nissan announced a new partnership, the deal included the use of both 4-cylinder and V6 Mercedes powerplants in Infiniti models. One could presume these would be for the G, although there’s also speculation that the 4-cylinder could be used in a new entry-level model that Infiniti is reportedly planning.
According to a report by InsideLine, the Mercerdes 4-cylinder is likely to be the entry level engine, slotting in even under the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that reports have suggested Infiniti will launch next year in a model called the Infiniti G25. It’s possible the engine could be a 154-hp 1.8-liter supercharged engine currently used in Europe, although Mercedes has also been testing a supercharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder for the C-Class and is rumored to be working on a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
In terms of the upcoming entry-level Infiniti model, that vehicle will also be the result of a joint venture by both Infiniti and Mercedes and aimed at taking on the Audi A1 and BMW 1 Series.
As to whether all this cooperation might be bad for both brands, offering similar products to customers, Ghosn mentioned on a conference call that neither company sees it as an issue because Mercedes and Infiniti customers rarely cross-shop vehicles.
Infiniti to get 4-Cylinder and 6-Cylinder Mercedes Engines as part of deal
At a press conference earlier today a new partnership between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault/Nissan was announced that will see all three automakers working together to develop new products, while reducing overall costs. The partnership will see the German, French and Japanese automakers work together on future small car projects, engines and commercial vehicles.
The alliance also includes each automaker taking a share in the other with Daimler taking a 3.1 percent share in Nissan and Renault, while the Japanese and French automakers will each take a 1.55 percent share in Daimler.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the asset sharing was “symbolic” and commented that unlike the unsuccessful deal with Chrysler, this one focuses on shared products first. He even confirmed that, as rumored, the two automakers have been working together for some time already.
Zetsche commented on how the deal will see initial benefits for Daimler in the small car area, while Renault CEO Ghosn said that he expects to save 2 billion Euros over the next five years in cost reductions – apart from the new revenue the partnership will generate.
In terms of specifics, the two automakers will work to co-develop the next generation of the Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo, both of which are due out in 2013. Both models will be offered with electric engines at launch and new 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be developed for use in both vehicles.
According to a statement released by Nissan, the automakers will also work to develop the new line of premium small cars for Mercedes-Benz – presumably the A-Class and B-Class.
The Mercedes connection will also help Nissan’s luxury brand, with Infiniti getting 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines that are to be used across the product line in the U.S., China and other markets. There’s no word if the 4-cylinder will appear in a rumored compact front-drive Infiniti model, but Infiniti does expect the new engines will help the brand grow more quickly. This move will, however, allow costs savings at Daimler due to economies of scale.
As for the commercial vehicle side, Renault will develop a new commercial van for use by Mercedes. There was no mention, however, if Nissan could get any help with its next generation of pickup trucks by using older Mercedes truck technology.
Both automakers have also said they are open to the possibility of more development and product sharing in the years to come.
[Source: Automotive News]