Daimler has rolled its first 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan off the assembly line at its manufacturing site in Sindelfingen, Germany. The roll-off was graced by the Mercedes’ new head of production, Andreas Renschler, who took the post in April 2013. Renschler is facing quite a big challenge to implement a large chunk of EUR2 billion ($2.65 billion) in planned cost cuts at Mercedes by the end of 2014.
Daimler is in deep pressure to keep up with rivals BMW and Volkswagen, particularly in China. Renschler is also expected to play a crucial role in getting labor concessions from Mercedes’ German unions.
He vowed to continue the efficiency program started by his predecessor Wolfgang Bernhard while being open to taking a conciliatory approach. He remarked that his plans are not about doing something against the will of the works council or against the management board, noting that the goal of the carmaker’s workforce is to be productive and efficient.
He told reporters that he and the works council have a common interest – which is to make the German sites more efficient. He said that they aim to reduce the average hours needed to build a unit from around 40 to 30 in the medium-term, adding that the new S-class sedan will help in this aspect.
He remarked that when production is fully ramped up, the new S-class sedan will be produce up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor. As purchasing chief, Renschler is tasked to craft a plan to offset EUR6 billion of material costs that include new features such as multimedia displays. He is tasked to gain concessions from both suppliers and workforce to achieve around 60 percent of the EUR2-billion cost cut goal.
Thanks to its classic face, any Mercedes-Benz vehicle is easily recognizable as one anywhere in the world. This has always been the case throughout the brand’s history.
Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener remarked that the sophisticated design of the S-Class has been an expression of luxury and automotive grandeur. Moreover, Wagener called the S-Class as a modern embodiment of sensual clarity, thanks to its classic architecture as well as flowing silhouette. He added that the design of the new S-Class serves as a between the classic elegance of Mercedes cars in the 1930s and the sophisticated, progressive design idiom. Wagener quipped that the S-Class is a true design icon, thanks to the harmony between stylish sportiness, timeless clarity sensual forms, and effortless superiority.
Helping highlight the effortless superiority of the new S-Class is its larger and more upright three-dimensional radiator grille while underscoring its classic saloon proportions are its long bonnet, flowing domed roof line and the slanting rear end. Mercedes made sure that the size and space of the S-Class lends it with prestigious yet dynamic appearance.
As expected, the new S-Class features the brand’s signature “Dropping Line,” which is essentially a character line that drops gently from the front to the rear. This Dropping Line provides structure as well extra dynamism to the flanks of the S-Class, making it seem that the car is moving even when it is at a standstill. Meanwhile, the flank’s convex-concave draft allows the S-Class to exude a combination of excitement and calmness. Also helping emphasize the S-Class sporty nature is the pronounced shoulder located above the rear wheel.