Daimler overhauling Mercedes-Benz product development

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 22, 2012

Daimler is overhauling its product development organization and will be revising its structure as well as some of its executives’ responsibilities. Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, believes that the realignment will make processes more efficient. It also creates synergies, spurs innovation and enhances quality.

According to product development chief Thomas Weber, Daimler aims to expand model offerings; create hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles; reduce carbon dioxide emissions; implement Mercedes' design strategy; and boost vehicle connectivity. The product group managers of Daimler are now aligned with segments. Uwe Ernstberger is the chief of sports cars and the large Mercedes-Benz model lines with rear- and all-wheel drive.

The C and E class and their variants are headed by Michael Kraemer. Joerg Prigl is tasked with the recently set up New Compact Car Group and its offshoots. This group also covers new generations of the A class and B class and of a compact SUV and coupe.

A matrix arrangement is used by five r&d divisions with three product group chiefs. Meanwhile, Stephan Wolfsried is the leader of the recently consolidated Vehicle Functions and Chassis division. It manages normal production and preliminary development issues related to chassis and driver assistance systems, active safety, aerodynamics, as well as noise, vibration and harshness.

Thomas Merker is the successor of Ulrich Mellinghoff, who is set to retire. Merker will take over Body, Safety and Telematics. Bernhard Heil will still be the head of the powertrain area.

Herbert Kohler will be the head of two previously separate research areas, Corporate Research and Sustainability, which have since been consolidated. According to Harald Kroeger, the former chief of quality management for Mercedes-Benz Cars, he is the head of the newly created e-Drive & Electric/Electronics area. These functions were in separate research areas.

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