Mercedes-Benz to make 1 million cars in Germany next year

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 30, 2011

Mercedes-Benz, owned by Daimler AG, is aiming to manufacture 988,110 SUVs and cars next year in its three facilities in Germany, internal documents obtained by Automotive News Europe have revealed. A spokesperson of Daimler refused to comment on the targets. The documents also disclosed that the German factories would comprise 65 percent of Daimler's worldwide passenger car production in 2012.

The total output target of Daimler for 2012 is 1.52 million units, including Smart as well as Maybach, which will be phased out soon. The largest Mercedes plant is in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart. It is anticipated to produce 460,860 cars in 2012, the internal documents show. Meanwhile, output at its Bremen facility is estimated to be 327,460 vehicles.

Moreover, the automaker's factory in Rastatt is predicted to create 199,790 units. Outside of Germany, the largest Mercedes facility is in Vance, Alabama, USA. It is estimated to produce 185,900 vehicles next year, an increase of 30 percent on its projected total of 143,000 in 2011. In 2010, the automaker manufactured 125,000 units in Vance.

It has been over five decades since Mercedes-Benz launched its first SL in 1952 in the guise of the W194 300SL race car. Now, the German premium carmaker is launching the latest and the sixth generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, which is still a refined athlete with appealing looks, laden with lots of innovations with superior utility value.

Two versions of the SL will be initially offered at launch – the SL350 and the SL500 – each powered by new yet different BlueDIRECT engines. The SL350 is powered by a new BlueDIRECT V6 engine that provides up to 225 kW (306 hp) of output, while the SL500 is powered by a V8 engine that’s 12-percent more powerful with 320 kW (435 hp) of max output. Its SL designation was derived from the German term “Sportlich-Leicht,” which means Sport Lightweight.

With the newest generation of the vehicle, Mercedes is giving SL a fresh meaning through systematic weight reduction. The new SL will be the first series production vehicle from Mercedes that features an all-aluminum bodyshell, which is around 110 kilograms lighter than a comparable bodyshell made from sheet steel.

While lighter, this aluminum bodyshell is more rigid and safer than its sheet steel predecessor, thanks to a clever material mix of aluminum alloys -- as well as aluminum components particularly developed for their respective requirements – along with a few portions of high-strength steel and magnesium.

While it is understandable that more comfort elements and more safety devices mean additional weight, Mercedes was able to offset these by employing an array of intelligent enhanced details in the new SL. To this effect, the new SL350 (at 1,685 kg) and the new SL500 (at 1,785 kg) are around 140 kilograms and 125 kilograms lighter than their respective predecessors. Of course, these figures are more impressive when felt.

A lighter SL means a corresponding surge in longitudinal and lateral dynamics, which in turn paves the way for superior performance especially during cornering. Handling and agility as well as stability have been greatly improved by greater track width on the front (plus 38 mm) and on the rear (plus 77 mm). Drivers of the new Mercedes SL are expected to find their new rides more agile than before, which should translate to a sporty driving pleasure.

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