Mercedes-Benz Unimog Concept celebrates its 60th anniversary

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 6, 2011

As part of the "60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog" jubilee, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks (MBS) unveiled the "Concept Design 60 Years Unimog" at Daimler’s Worth truck plant in Germany on June 3, 2011. Underpinned by the Unimog U 5000 chassis, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog Concept features a dynamic and expressive "face" consistent with Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle design’s future form language. The new Mercedes-Benz Unimog Concept essentially fuses the Unimog’s past and future and presents it in a very avant-garde manner. Bertrand Janssen, of the Daimler department for commercial vehicle design, quipped that in creating the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog, they fully considered the unique concept of the Universal-Motor-Gerat (Unimog) DNA.

In addition, the new Concept Design 60 Years Unimog is a curious creation that allows anyone who has seen it to further think about how the Unimog may look, feel and perform in the future. Yaris Pursun, Director of the Mercedes-Benz Plant at Worth and Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, has been enthusiastic about this new interpretation of the Unimog concept by the unit’s commercial vehicle designers and the responsible project team. He remarked that the unit decided to construct a design concept that will serve as a bridge between the progressive strength of self-renewal during Unimog’s 60 years of existence and the future design of the next generations of the vehicle.

Indeed, right from 60 years ago until today – after 26 product ranges introduced during the period – the Mercedes-Benz Unimog has always been able to renew itself again and again. Now, the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog shows that it is still possible to have the Unimog undergo evolution and innovation to give birth to future generations of the vehicle. MBS is expecting the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog to surprise anyone -- experts and enthusiasts as well as users and customers -- who sees it.

The chassis of the Unimog U 500 was chosen to underpin the design concept because of its excellent off-road capabilities. Janssen and his team were particularly inspired by the poison dart frog, which boasts of extreme mobility both in land and water. Thus in choosing the colors for the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog, the exterior appearance of the poison dart frog was specifically considered. As a result, green was chosen as the main color for the design concept – the same color that covered the first Unimog and quite a number of the next generations.

Traditionally, the Unimog has been known for its coil springs, which is one of the vehicle’s unique yet main selling points. To highlight this component, MBS painted it red in the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog. MBS also painted green the Unimog’s mudguards and specified the bonnet with the Mercedes-Benz line. The frame of the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog features visible, sweeping lines finished with high-grade trims cut from aluminum blocks while the vehicle’s same-size wheels are marked by their five-star alu-rim design.

Moreover, the concept design comes with headlights that could focus their beams of light. Janssen remarked that during the creation of the concept design, the team never let ideas be separated from reality, resulting to the Unimog that while purist, remains true to concept that some of its design cues and elements will be adapted by future generations of the vehicle. He quipped that the project team took the most important features of the Unimog that have characterized it for the past 60 years and which will characterize the vehicle in the future -- portal axles, coil springs and the frame concept. MBS has made it clear that the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog is not a prototype for a new product range, but is a unique vehicle concept.

In effect, the concept design clearly communicates that the Mercedes-Benz Unimog will have an innovative character in the future and a high degree of versatility in design and construction. According to Michael Dietz, Head of Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, the Unimog has etched a global name as an ambassador and image-carrier for the Mercedes-Benz brand in the past 60 years. He described the Concept Design 60 Years Unimog as a forward projection of the unique Unimog-DNA and as evidence of the innovative power of MBS.

Press Release

60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog: A spectacular design concept for the jubilee

-To celebrate their jubilee "60 Years Unimog", Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks (MBS) is presenting a design concept based on the U 5000 with its outstanding off-road mobility
-A formal unveiling and presentation will take place at the ceremony on 3 June in the Customer Centre at the Mercedes-Benz Plant in Wörth
-The design concept has been created as joint cooperation between the MBS development team, the Daimler commercial vehicle designers in Sindelfingen and a model designing partner
-Yaris Pürsün, Director of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks: "Future meets history – the design concept is a further milestone in the Unimog legend"
-As an analogy to the very first Mercedes-Benz Unimog of the product range 2010 which was built in 1951, the design concept from 2011 also has an open cab

Stuttgart / Wörth on Rhein – The unit Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks (MBS), which includes the product ranges Unimog, Econic and Zetros, presented a spectacular design concept on the occasion of the ceremony "60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog" on 3 June 2011 at the Daimler plant in Wörth. It has an impressive, dynamic and extremely expressive "face" corresponding to the future form language of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle design. The design concept combines the past and future of the Unimog in an extremely avantgardist way. "We have taken the Unimog-DNA with its unique concept features to 100 percent into consideration when creating this design concept," says Bertrand Janssen from the Daimler department for commercial vehicle design.

Furthermore, this design concept gives the observer sufficient room for thought to interpret its technical innovations. To cut a long story short, it is literally an unsually idea to make one think about the Universal-Motor-Gerät (Unimog) of the future. And Yaris Pürsün, Director of the Mercedes-Benz Plant at Wörth and Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, is visibly enthusiastic about this new interpretation of the Unimog idea by the commercial vehicle designers and the project team responsible. "The result is a complete success. At Mercedes Benz Special Trucks we decided to construct a design concept because we are of the opinion that such a vehicle will act as a bridge between the progressive strength of self-renewal that has distinguished the Unimog programme for 60 years and the future design of the coming generations of products."

The concept vehicle shows that even after 60 years – and including the 26 product ranges during this period – the Unimog is still able to renew itself. Just as its innovative power has left its mark on the Mercedes-Benz Unimog and driven it forward until the present day, the "Concept Design 60 Years Unimog" has shown impressively that a great deal of innovation is still possible in the engineering of future Unimog generations. This concept vehicle will no doubt surprise everyone who sees it, experts and enthusiasts, users and customers alike.

The design concept is based on the Unimog U 5000 chassis with its outstanding off-road capabilities. The traditional and well-known unique selling-point of the Unimog, its coil springs, are painted red in the concept vehicle, whereas Bertrand Janssen and his team have let its hulk of a bonnet with its typical Mercedes-Benz line and the mudguards shine out in a fresh green. When selecting the colours used, the designers in Bertrand Janssen's team were inspired by an unusual amphibian, the poison dart frog: Just like the Unimog it is also extremely mobile both in water and on land. And furthermore in this point it is once more the link between past and future as green was the colour of the very first Unimog and numerous follow-up generations of the vehicle.

The headlights are like stage lights, which focus the beam of light. The clearly visible, sweeping lines of the frame have been finished with high-grade trims cut from aluminium blocks. The four same-size wheels make a strong optical impression with their five star alu-rim design. Bertrand Janssen emphasises, " On no account did we work in an atmosphere where our ideas were divorced from reality. Here we have a vehicle which is puristic, but still clearly true to concept – with the claim, that some of its details will turn up in coming product ranges in future. We continued to take up the most important Unimog features which have characterised the vehicle for the last 60 years and which will also characterise it in future – features such as portal axles, coil springs or the frame concept." The design concept "60 Years Unimog" is not however a prototype for a new product range. But it becomes quite clear that the Mercedes-Benz Unimog will still continue to have an innovative character in future and will still possess a high degree of versatility in design and type of construction. It is after all a unique vehicle concept.

Michael Dietz, Head of Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks makes it clear. "During the last 60 years our Unimog has made a name for itself worldwide as an ambassador and image-carrier for the brand Mercedes-Benz. Whether working for numerous municipalities and contractors in Europe, under extreme conditions exploring for oil in the Taklamakan desert in China or for example as a motorhome "down under", the design concept is a forward projection of these unique Unimog-DNA and is impressive proof of the innovative power of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks."

Because of this, Yaris Pürsün pays the whole team a compliment. "Each of them brought his own competence to the project to the best of his ability. From the very beginning there was a unique spirt of cooperation. It has been a very emotional project which we all became very attached to." And in one very important point the design concept for the jubilee year 2011 and the very first Mercedes-Benz Unimog of the product range 2010 which rolled off the band on 3 Juni 1951 at the Gaggenau plant have something very obvious in common: Both vehicles are open – really genuine cabrios.

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