Mercedes-Benz is a German brand of luxury and high-performance automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks owned by Daimler AG. Mercedes-Benz has, over the years, introduced many of the technological and safety features that have become common in modern vehicles. (see Innovations section).
Origin of logo and brand
Established in 1871, Benz & Cie. was the most important of several companies founded by Karl Benz. The Benz patent motor wagon was ahead of its times; by 1886, Benz had the first four-stroke engine. Karl Benz is credited as the inventor of the first “true” automobile since Daimler’s vehicle was a horse carriage adapted with an engine, whereas the 1886 Benz automobile had a chassis designed from scratch.
Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft-(DMG) was founded by Gottlieb Daimler and his partner Wilhelm Maybach in 1890. Daimler died in 1900 and Maybach left DMG in 1907. By then, Benz & Cie. and DMG were rivals. In 1924, owing to economic necessity after World War I, they entered into an “Agreement of Mutual Interest” valid until the year 2000. This initial agreement still allowed each company to manufacture and sell their products under their original brand names. After the official merger in June 28, 1926, the firm became known as Daimler-Benz.
The hyphenated brand name Mercedes-Benz was established after that merger. The brand name Daimler had been licensed for use on other automobiles in France and the United Kingdom, and was therefore not available to Daimler-Benz. Instead, the name of its seminal Mercedes model designed by Maybach over twenty years before was chosen for the DMG portion of the new brand. (“Mercedes” had been painted on a DMG vehicle used in races by a man in honor of his daughter, and became the formal name of a DMG model in 1902, see below.) Thus, Mercedes-Benz became the brand name applied to the models of one of the new firm. Because of its eponymous tie to Karl Benz and his early vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also the name of the world’s oldest continuously produced automobile line.
As part of the 1926 merger, a new logo was created that would include a symbol for each and integrate the names of the two former companies. A three-pointed star had been designed by Gottlieb Daimler, to show the ability of his motors for land, air, and sea use. This star first appeared on a DMG model in 1909, so it was chosen for the new logo. The traditional laurel wreath symbol used by Karl Benz was added along with his name to complete the new logo. The logo with a plain ring, as seen today, was not used until 1937.
In 1998, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler agreed to combine their businesses — promoted as the “merger of equals” — and the new entity was named DaimlerChrysler AG. However, this was actually when Daimler-Benz bought out Chrysler.
On May 14, 2007, the separation of Daimler AG and Chrysler LLC was announced. Selling Chrysler has been seen as a positive move for Daimler by its shareholders, who hope that the separation will allow Daimler’s car brand Mercedes-Benz to be free to do what it does best without having the distractions of its heavily unprofitable U.S. partner Chrysler. However, Daimler retains a 20 per cent minority stake in Chrysler.
Origin of design
The origins of the Daimler-Benz company founded through a merger in 1926 date back to the mid-1880s, when Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900) working with Wilhelm Maybach (1846–1929), and Karl Benz (1844–1929) independently invented the internal combustion engine-powered automobile, in southwestern Germany. Although they were merely sixty miles apart, these pioneers were unaware of each other’s early work.
Karl Benz had his shop in Mannheim where he invented “the world’s first true automobile powered by an internal combustion engine” in 1885. It had three wheels. He was granted a patent for his vehicle dated January 29, 1886, for what he called the “Benz Patent Motorwagen.” Among many inventions, Benz patented his first engine in 1879, a high-speed single-cylinder four-stroke engine of his own design which he included in his “integral” design for the Motorwagen patent application.
In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler and design partner Wilhelm Maybach, working in Cannstatt, Stuttgart, were granted a patent dated August 29, 1885 for what is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine, that they named the “grandfather clock engine.”
On March 8, 1886, Daimler purchased a stagecoach made by Wilhelm Wimpff & Sohn and he and Maybach adapted it to hold this engine, thereby creating a four-wheeled carriage propelled by an engine, as many had before them. The only distinction about this carriage was that it carried an internal combustion engine. None of many similar attempts to adapt carts, boats, or carriages, in many countries, were propelled by this type of engine. On the official history pages of the Mercedes-Benz Internet site it is referred to as “a carriage — without a drawbar but with the conventional drawbar steering. A carriage without horses…” Daimler and Maybach later purposely built, from scratch, the first four-stroke engine powered automobile with four wheels in 1889. They founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, DMG, in 1890 and sold their first automobile in 1892.
Stationary engines were his major business and he invented many improvements to them and their application, but Karl Benz continued to refine his Motorwagen through several models and sold his first automobile in 1888. He built his first four-wheeled model in 1891. Benz & Cie, the company started by the inventor, became not only the world’s first, but also largest manufacturer of automobiles by 1900.
In 1899, DMG automobiles built at Untertürkheim (a city district of Stuttgart) were raced successfully by Emil Jellinek (1853-1918), an automobile enthusiast and dealer. He had the name of his daughter, Mercedes, painted on the automobiles for good luck. Wanting faster race cars, it was Jellinek who spurred the development of the seminal 1902 DMG model that would be the first of the DMG Mercedes series, bearing the name of his daughter.
After suggesting some design specifications, he promised to purchase thirty-six of the new DMG model if Maybach would name the new 35 hp (26 kW) engine contained in it, the Daimler-Mercedes engine. A contract of five hundred and fifty thousand marks was made for these new models. Within weeks he contracted for thirty-six of another DMG model with 8 hp (6.0 kW) engines. He was granted an exclusive concession to sell the new DMG automobiles in Austria-Hungary, France, Belgium, and USA.
That new model later would be named “Mercedes 35 hp” (in 1902) and it was a very important advance in automobile design. The contract called for delivery of the first automobile to Jellinek in the Fall, but it did not reach him until December 22, 1900. He became obsessed with the name Mercedes and even had his name changed to Jellinek-Mercedes. Jellinek was invited to sit on the DMG board of directors, which he did from 1901 until 1909, when he retired from automotive activities in favor of diplomatic appointments.
The name change also was helpful in preventing legal troubles, because after the death of Daimler, DMG had sold exclusive rights to the name, Daimler, and technical concepts to companies abroad. As a result, luxury automobiles branded Daimler were, and still are, built in England. A fire that gutted the old Steinway piano factory in New York, which had been converted to produce the new Mercedes models, cut short the dream of American production.
The rival companies of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and Benz & Cie. started to cooperate in 1924, due to necessity arising from a troubled German economy after World War I, and finally merged in 1926 to become Daimler-Benz AG, which produced Mercedes-Benz automobiles and trucks. The merger agreement established that the two companies were required to remain together until 2000. While focusing on land vehicles, Mercedes-Benz also built engines to power boats and airplanes (military and civil), and even Zeppelins. Karl Benz died in 1929.
Although the brand is most famous for limousine models, a significant number of notable sports cars have also been produced. For example, the early supercharged SSK developed by Ferdinand Porsche.
Another distinctive model was the iconic 300SL Gullwing of 1954; that was suggested by Max Hoffman, explicitly for the USA market, and introduced at the New York Automobile Show.
Mercedes-Benz has also produced higher volume, less expensive cars. Interestingly, the prototypes of the Volkswagen were built and tested in Stuttgart, in cooperation with Porsche. Before that, Mercedes-Benz had a similar rear-engined, yet rather unsuccessful, small car, the 130 H. In recent years Mercedes have produced the A-Class, relatively inexpensive compared to its other models. Also the Smart brand of city cars has been part of the Mercedes-Benz Group since 1994.
Since its inception, Mercedes-Benz had a reputation for quality and durability. Increased focus on costs and volume, and the increased complexity in modern automobile electronics led to falling quality in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By 2005, Mercedes temporarily returned to the industry average for initial quality (if the “complexity” variable was ignored), 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 to 4th place, surpassing quality leader Toyota and earning several awards for its models. 
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- both had entries in the very first automobile race Paris to Rouen 1894. This has continued, and throughout its long history, the company has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sportscar 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 300SLR collided with another car and killed more than eighty spectators. Although there was some activity in the inteverning years, it was not until the late 1980s that Mercedes-Benz returned to front line competition, returning to LeMans and sportscar racing with Sauber.
This long absence inspired by the disaster is understandable considering that Mercedes-Benz is viewed by many to be the world’s safety leader due to their dominant contribution to automotive safety as well as licensing their safety innovations for use by their competitors, placing family safety above profit and competitive advantage.
The 1990s saw Mercedes-Benz purchase engine builder Ilmor, and campaign cars at the famed Indy 500 race under the USAC/CART rules, eventually winning that race with Al Unser, Jr. at the wheel. The 90’s also saw the return of Mercedes-Benz to GT racing, and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, which took the company to new heights (both figuratively) by dominating the FIA’s GT1 class and (literally) by notably taking flight at the end of a long straight at La Sarthe.
Mercedes-Benz is currently active in three forms of motorsport, Formula Three, DTM and Formula One. In Formula One, the company part owns Team McLaren and has supplied the team with engines since 1995. This partnership has brought great success, including back to back Drivers Championships for Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999 and a Constructors championship in 1998. The collaboration with McLaren has been extended into the production of roadgoing cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
In 1958 Mercedes-Benz entered into a distribution agreement with the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana (USA), makers of Studebaker and Packard brand automobiles. Under the deal, Studebaker would allow Mercedes-Benz access to their U.S. dealer network, handle shipments of vehicles to those dealers, and in return receive compensation for each car sold. Studebaker also was permitted to use the German automaker’s name in its advertisements, which stressed Studebaker’s quality over quantity.
When Studebaker entered into informal discussions with Franco-American automaker Facel Vega about offering their Facel Vega Excellence model in the United States, Mercedes-Benz objected to the proposal. Studebaker, which needed Mercedes-Benz distribution payments to help stem heavy losses, dropped further action on the plan.
Mercedes-Benz maintained an office within the Studebaker works in South Bend from 1958 to 1963 when Studebaker’s U.S. operations ceased. Many U.S Studebaker dealers converted to Mercedes-Benz dealerships at that time. When Studebaker closed its Canadian operation and left the automobile business in 1966, remaining Studebaker dealers had the option to convert their dealerships to Mercedes-Benz dealership agreements.
Besides its native Germany, Mercedes-Benz are also manufactured or assembled in:
* Argentina  (Buses, Trucks and the van Sprinter. the first factory of Mercedes-Benz outside of Germany)
* Austria (G-Class) 
* Brazil 
* Egypt 
* Bosnia and Herzegovina
* India 
* Indonesia 
* Malaysia 
* Nigeria 
* South Africa 
* South Korea (Mercedes-branded Musso and MB100 models manufactured by SsangYong Motor Company)
* Thailand 
* Turkey 
* United Kingdom (The SLR supercar is built here at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking).
Mercedes-Benz automobiles are available at dealerships in over 130 countries and their work fleet (trucks and commercial vehicles) are available from a select group of dealers worldwide as well as the factory-direct. As with several European brand automobiles, Mercedes has offered a European delivery option for purchasing of a Mercedes Benz automobile.
Mercedes-Benz has also produced a supercar with McLaren Cars, an extension of the collaboration by which Mercedes engines are used by the Team McLaren-Mercedes Formula One racing team, which is part owned by Mercedes. Many anticipate there to be a range of McLaren–Mercedes supercars produced in Woking (McLaren’s manufacturing headquarters). The 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has a carbon-fiber body with a 5.5l V8 supercharged engine. This is the same block as featured in other Mercedes-Benz automobiles, such as the SL55 AMG and the CLS55 AMG, it has however been tweaked to give 460 kW and 780nm of torque. The SLR has a maximum speed of 334km/h and costs approximately US$500,000.
The most recent new joint-venture model, expected to reach production, is the mid-engine P8 supercar. Based around a unique carbon fiber monocoque, manufactured by McLaren, the P8 was originally predicted to receive the new naturally aspirated 6.3L V8 from Mercedes-AMG, but insiders now say that the engine will be modified for the car and will probably be twin- turbocharged to produce in excess of 600 bhp (450 kW). The car is still in development, but likely to reach production to go on sale in early 2008, and have a price tag less than that of the SLR.
In 1994 (starting with the 1994 models), the traditional nomenclature of Mercedes-Benz vehicles changed. Since the early days of the company the name would be in the form of 500E where the engine displacement made up the first three numbers and the last letter(s) represented the type of engine and/or chassis; for example: “E” for fuel injection (“Einspritzung” in German), “D” for Diesel, “L” for long wheelbase etc.
In 1994, this was altered so that the prefix reflected the model (“class”, German “Klasse”, in Mercedes-Benz terminology) and a number the displacement. The suffix was retained in some cases, for example “L” for long wheelbase, and “CDI” for Diesel (CDI = Common rail Direct Injection). Thus, the 500E in the example above became the E500 (“E-Klasse”, 5 liters displacement). It should also be noted that while in the past the model number generally accurately reflected the actual engine displacement, this is currently not always the case – for example the E200 CDI and E220 CDI actually both have a 2.2 liter displacement, and the C240 actually has a 2.6 litre engine. Also, there is a huge difference in power (and price) between some cars with the same engine number, such as C55 and SL55.
* Mercedes-Benz C111-III – sports car with tail fin
* Mercedes-Benz Auto 2000 – 4 door sedan
* Mercedes-Benz NAFA – microcar
* Mercedes-Benz C112 – sportcar and mule
* Mercedes-Benz F 100 – Car introducted in 1991
* Mercedes-Benz F 200 Imagination – 2 door coupe introduced in 1996 Paris Motor Show
* Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life Jet – 3-wheel Car/Motorcycle unveiled in 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show
* Vario Research Car – One car, four vehicles Photo of Four in One car
* 1999 Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR – Prototype of Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, unveiled in 1999 North American International Auto Show
* Mercedes-Benz Vision SLA – convertible version of Vision SLR, unveiled in 2000 North American International Auto Show
* Mercedes-Benz F 400 Carving – A 2-seat roadster unveiled in 2002 Tokyo Motor Show
* Mercedes Benz F 500 Mind – 4-door fastback sedan unveiled in 2003 Tokyo Motor Show
* Mercedes-Benz F 600 HYGENIUS – compact fuel cell car, unveiled in 2005 Tokyo Motor Show
* Mercedes-Benz Bionic – Car unveiled in 2005 DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in Washington, modelled after boxfish
* Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive – a 4-door convertible based on the S600
* Mercedes-Benz F 700 – Large luxury saloon featuring the small capacity / high output DiesOtto engine, unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz automobiles are very popular among performance-oriented buyers, and several companies have become tuners/modifiers of these cars, adding even more performance and luxury to the brand.
* AMG is Mercedes-Benz’s performance-tuning division, specializing in high-performance versions of most Mercedes-Benz cars. AMG engines are hand-built and the completed engine receives a tag with the signature of the engineer who built it. AMG has been fully-owned by Mercedes-Benz since 1999.
In the 1980s Mercedes built the world’s first robot car, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns at Bundeswehr Universität München. 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 Euros. 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 kilometres per hour (roughly 110 miles per hour; there is no general speed limit on the German Autobahn). The car’s abilities left a big impression on many observers, and heavily influenced robot car research and funding decisions world-wide.
The “Safety cage” or “Safety cell” construction with front and rear crumple zones was first developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1951..
Anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control and airbags in the European market, were all Mercedes-Benz innovations. These technologies were introduced in 1978, 1986 and 1980 respectively.
In September 2003, Mercedes-Benz introduced the world’s first 7-speed automatic transmission called ‘7G-TRONIC’.
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 almost instantaneously, preventing the passenger from jerking forward in a crash.
Stability control, brake assist (Press Release) , 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.
The most powerful naturally aspirated eight cylinder engine in the world is the Mercedes-AMG, 6208cc M156 V8 engine. It is the first engine in the world to combine large displacement with the high-revving concept, allowing it to produce around 20 percent more torque than comparable naturally aspirated engines in this performance class. The V8 engine will be badged ’63 AMG’ and will replace the ’55 AMG’ M113 engine in most models (exceptions include the SL55 and G55 AMG which will retain the M113 engine). The M156 engine can produce up to 525 bhp (391 kW), and although some models using this engine do have this output (like the S63 and CL63 AMGs) specific output varies slightly across other models in the range.
The (W211) E320 CDI which has a (VTG) turbocharged, 3.0L V6 common rail diesel engine, set three new world endurance records. It covering 100,000 miles (the equivalent of four times round the Earth) in a record time with an astonishing average speed of 224.823 km/h (140 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 km and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) respectively. After all three cars had completed the run their combined distance of 300,000 miles (480,000 km) is one-and-a-quarter times the distance from Earth to the moon (all records were FIA approved).
Mercedes-Benz’s PRE-SAFE uses radar to detect an imminent crash and prepares the car’s safety systems to respond optimally. It can also calculates the optimal breaking force required to avoid an accident and makes it available for when the driver depresses the brake pedal. Occupants are also prepared by tightening the seatbelt, closing the sunroof and windows, and moving the seats into the optimal position. Volvo has a similar system in place on its larger models.
Mercedes Benz is in the process of pioneering a fatigue-detection system that warns the driver when they are displaying signs of micro-sleep (when the eyes stay closed for slightly longer than a natural blinking action). The system will use a variety of data including the individual driving style, the duration of the journey, the time of day and the current traffic situation. Fatigue mostly sets in gradually. Volvo has a system in production which detects when the driver is falling asleep or is not concentrating on the road.
The fastest (production) automatic road car in the world is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren at 334 km/h (208 mph). The car was co-developed by DaimlerChrysler and McLaren Cars. The fastest street-legal saloon car in the world is the Mercedes-Benz BRABUS (tuned) W211 ‘E V12’ – based on the E-Class saloon.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled its DiesOtto engine concept at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. The new engine could give the responsiveness of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with the frugality of a tiny diesel-burner. The DiesOtto is, at heart, a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with twin sequential turbochargers and direct injection. Mercedes engineers have incorporated both the conventional Otto cycle and a sparkless, diesel-style combustion. On start-up, the engine runs in standard petrol mode, with spark plugs igniting petrol injected directly into the cylinder. But once the engine is warm and cruising, it switches to a more efficient ‘diesel mode’, raising the compression ratio and deactivating the spark plugs. Because it runs on petrol, the DiesOtto boasts lower emissions than an equivalent diesel engine.