Steve Cannon is Mercedes-Benz USA’s new president and CEO

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 16, 2011

Mercedes-Benz USA’s new president and CEO starting next year is Steve Cannon who gets a promotion from being marketing chief. Cannon has held the position of vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA since June 2007. Cannon, 50 years old, is the replacement for Ernst Lieb, who was abruptly terminated last October over a claim that he misused company funds.

A company spokesman said that Cannon is just the second American to be named CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. The first is Mike Jackson who currently serves as the CEO of AutoNation Inc.

While the position was vacant, the automaker assigned Herbert Werner as interim CEO. Werner is Mercedes-Benz USA’s vice president of finance and is the only German on its U.S. executive team.

Cannon will be responsible for the Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Sprinter and smart brands in the U.S. He will be reporting to Joachim Schmidt, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz Cars. In 1991, Cannon’s automotive career began by working as the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz of North America.

He then moved to the company’s global headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. He later joined a small team that developed, manufactured, and launched the M-Class. This is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV that was built in the U.S. for the same market. Many dealers welcomed the appointment of Cannon.

Michael Cantanucci, chairman of the Mercedes-Benz dealer board and president of New Country Motor Car Group based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was one of those who were “pleased” with Cannon’s promotion. Cantanucci said that Cannon helped in the company’s success and is extremely knowledgeable about Mercedes USA, the dealer body, the market and the products.

New Mercedes-Benz SL-Class expected to boost sales in the US

When Mercedes-Benz first released the SL-Class in 1952, it was as a racing car. Given the unique history of this range, the sixth generation version will be joining the new period with a refined and athletic design while being a groundbreaking trendsetter and packaged with a high utility value. This is not all as the new SL-Class is also giving new life to its SL name, which stands for super light.

The brand is expected to do this by having the SL-Class experience a systematic weight reduction. As such, the brand will be utilizing, for the first time in a series production vehicle, a bodyshell made entirely of aluminum. With this, the new version is revealed to weigh 110 kilograms lighter compared to the previous model. This was made possible by using a systematic and intelligent material mix of aluminum and aluminum alloy parts, all of which have been customized based on their specific needs.

It is then mixed in with some portions of magnesium and high-strength steel. In addition to being lighter compared to the previous model, it is more rigid, and thus safer. For actual figures, the SL500 weighs at 1,785 kilograms, making it lighter by as much as 125kilograms compared to the previous version. Meanwhile, the SL350 weighs 140 kilograms less than the prior model at 1,685 kilograms.

This is not only due to the use of aluminum for its bodyshell but also to a number of improvements to lower the weight. Since the weight was lowered, it made it possible to fit more features inside geared for safety and comfort. These different figures are not only excellent on paper alone but in actual practice as well. With the increase in the lateral and longitudinal dynamics, this results in amazing performance especially during cornering.

The track width at the front axle has been increased by an additional 38 mm with the rear axle having an extra 77 mm. This helps with handling as it gives that agile and sporty quality while ensuring that the vehicle is kept under safe control.

Indeed, the new SL-Class shows more agility than the previous generation and delivers extreme pleasure for those who prefer a sporty vehicle. For the new SL-Class, Mercedes-Benz will be offering two new engines. The first is the BlueDIRECT V6 engine for the SL350 with output at 306 hp (225kW). The second engine is the BlueDIRECT V8 unit for the SL500 with output coming in at 435 hp (320 kW). Both these figures show an increase of 12% compared to the previous versions.

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