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New Mercedes C-Class: elongated, flatter, more streamlined

Christian Schulte
New Mercedes C-Class
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E at the moment it is simply not, the state of mind of the Explore the Mercedes brand. 'We sold more vehicles in September and in the third quarter than ever before in this period,' says the latest sales reports that this year, up to the end of September, units sold increased by 4.7 percent (a total of 1,043. 910). The trouble is that Audi and BMW are once again ahead of the game. Mercedes has also miscalculated when it comes to profits: Instead of the expected 8.8 billion euros, there are probably only eight that will flow into the company's cash register this year.

So Mercedes is still too much on laurels the past? No, on the contrary - the brand is undergoing major changes: the newly shaped Mercedes A-Class is attracting attention everywhere, the B-Class is rushing from sales success to sales success. The A-Class is indeed a winner with the public, but in the comparison test in issue 24/2012 it left behind with its very sporty character. 'Quo vadis?' some people wonder about the destination of the trip. After all, traditional brand values ​​such as comfort, clarity and space have already been neglected in favor of a youthful, dynamic orientation. The new magic word of the house is glamor - and from 2013 the S-Class successor and from 2014 the new edition of the Mercedes C-Class should spray it. Why? Because emotional values ​​are becoming more and more important for the success of a company - this is not only how Mercedes sees it.

New Mercedes C-Class with stylish sportiness?

The Mercedes C-Class should be more stylish Sportiness is convincing, but with the front-wheel drive CLA, it will have a new, 4.65-meter-long competitor from its own company as early as 2013, which is offered around 3,000 euros cheaper. So the mid-size sedan is initially growing beyond itself - by 100 millimeters to just under 4.70 meters and by 80 millimeters in the wheelbase. From a stylistic point of view, the proportions particularly benefit from this, especially since the track is also 40 millimeters wider. The new Mercedes C-Class looks much more elongated and flatter, especially on the sidelines, without being worth mentioning. The headlights are getting bigger, more slanted and more pointed and have an LED cube chain in the upper area. The newMercedes C-Class will undoubtedly cause a new stir in the style establishment. One thing is already certain: Audi and BMW have not shown that much courage for a long time.

Nine-speed automatic in the new Mercedes C-Class

Entered as the first representative of a new rear-wheel drive platform The new Mercedes C-Class is also technically uncharted territory and comes with a completely new floor pan and a refined axle construction. The aim is to be best in class with this car in terms of weight. This of course also reduces CO2 emissions, and - depending on the engine variant - by up to 20 g /km. At the start there are the well-known engines, possibly supplemented by a small diesel with around 180 hp from the cooperation with Nissan /Renault. A jointly developed gasoline engine (1.6 to 1.8 liter displacement) and a plug-in hybrid that allows up to 30 kilometers of purely electric driving will follow in 2015 at the earliest.

The nine-speed Automatic and a head-up display will only be available later. From the start, however, there is a new operating technology in the form of a touch pad, which is used to control the multimedia unit - and which will not be available for the new S-Class until one year after its launch in 2014. In the new Mercedes C-Class, it is located in an extremely wide center console that tapers off narrowly at the bottom. The driver is also relieved by a large number of electronic helpers: The Distronic is new with automatic lane change, traffic jam assistant with steering intervention and a brake assistant that reacts to cross-traffic and, if necessary, independently initiates a braking maneuver until a standstill.

Cooperation between Daimler and Renault /Nissan

The strategic cooperation between Daimler and Renault /Nissan was only sealed in April 2010, but it is already rolling the Kangoo offshoot Citan and the new A-Class with a modified Renault diesel from the assembly line. Time is of the essence because both manufacturers are struggling with overcapacity and must also reduce costs as quickly as possible. So will other identical products follow, each with a different brand logo, possibly even in the Mercedes C and E-Class segment? Barely. There were intensive discussions about delivering the predecessor platforms of the Mercedes models to Renault, but the plans are now on hold.

Both companies have greater worries, especially Renault. In the low-margin small car segment, the Franco-German alliance is pushing joint developments and putting the next generation of Renault Twingo and Smart Forfour on a common basis, from which the Smart Fortwo should also be derived. The Daimler subsidiary also receives a platform from Nissan for a small off-roader in the B segment, i.e. an adaptation of the extraordinarily designed Juke. In return, Nissan's premium brand may use the Daimler compact architecture MFA (A- andB-Class). The model derived from the Etherea study will be launched in 2014 and was originally intended to be built by Magna in Graz with an annual production of 50,000 units. Now, however, the compact car has to use its own plant in Sunderland, UK. The SUV, which is also planned on an MFA basis, is expected to roll off the assembly line in Mexico.

Utilization as the dominant issue

In fact, utilization seems to be the dominant issue, as the new Renault Europe boss and ex-VW manager Stefan Müller confirms: 'We have to improve the use of our plants and further reduce the number of platforms.' In addition, he pursues the goal of 'producing the products in their most successful regions if possible' - which, of course, can work better together with Daimler. Actually, things should go faster because since the Renault /Nissan cooperation was founded in 1999, savings of just two billion euros have been achieved. After all, another two billion should be added by 2016. But a Mercedes E- or C-Class based on Renault-Nissan? The collaboration that Ghosn and Zetsche calls a flirtation does not seem to go that far. Not yet.


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