When it comes to the automobile industry, no brand is arguably more synonymous with quality, luxury and longevity than Mercedes-Benz. For over 130 years, the titan vehicle manufacturer has consistently demonstrated its commitment to engineering innovation and cutting-edge development. It's this dedication to pursuing technological advancements that has made Mercedes-Benz one of the most successful automobile manufacturers in the world.
When analyzing why Mercedes-Benz has consistently outperformed other brands when it comes to both innovation and sales, it's important to look at the brand's background. A dive into the history of Mercedes-Benz reveals just how forward thinking the manufacturer has been when it comes to breakthrough automotive technologies.
The Origin of Mercedes-Benz
The story of how Mercedes-Benz came to be the iconic brand name it is today is proof of how it has truly earned its place as one of the world's top automakers. Mercedes-Benz formed as a merger between two competitor companies: DMG (Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft) and Benz & Cie. The founders of the two companies had independently and simultaneously created their own versions of the motor vehicle.
Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were the primary names behind the original brand DMG among other business partners and investors. Carl Benz along with business partners Rose and Esslinger founded the company Benz & Cie. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik Mannheim with the purpose of further developing the car engine. Benz & Cie. would end up becoming the leading manufacturer of motor vehicles by the turn of the century.
While both DMG and Benz & Cie. experienced individual successes of their own, they would both each face challenges that would force a creative change in plans. World War I ignited unfortunate economic circumstances that caused the two companies to merge and form a joint venture. The partnership became official in June 1926 under the company name Daimler-Benz AG. Combining the two automobile innovators together saw the birth of the brand name Mercedes-Benz and the world-famous three-points logo.
Examples of Classic Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
Mercedes-Benz has been producing automobiles since the late 1800s. Karl Benz was granted a patent in Germany for the first internal combustion engine vehicle. Outfitted with three-wheels, a crank to steer with and bench seating, it had a very basic design. Less than a dozen of the earliest versions were ever made, but they paved the way for more development of future models.
Here's a quick look at some of the Mercedes vehicles throughout history:
- Mercedes 540K
In production from 1936-1940, the Mercedes 540K became a popular choice in Germany for carrying high-ranking officers of Hitler's Third Reich from place to place. This model is prized for more than being a staff car, though. The 540K featured a 5.4 liter, straight-8 cylinder with a supercharger that could achieve a power output of an impressive 180 horsepower.
- 300SL Gullwing
The 300SL was produced for nine years (1954-1963), and it is considered one of the best-known models the company has ever released. Its Gullwing doors open straight up to create a unique, birdlike appearance. Originally introduced on the track as a race car in 1952, the Gullwing became so popular with the public that the company released the model to consumers in 1954. Two models were offered: the coupe and the roadster.
- 280SL “Pagoda”
The Mercedes 280SL Pagoda was only in production from 1967-1971, but it stands out for its graceful lines and color-coordinated hubcaps. This vehicle simply oozes class, and it doesn't disappoint under the hood, either. The 280SL carries a 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder engine capable of putting out approximately 170 horsepower. In the year the Pagoda was released, this was considered quite impressive.
The Mercedes-Benz 500E was hand-built by another manufacturer: Porsche. During the time this model was in production from 1991-1994, each one was sent back and forth between the Mercedes and Porsche company headquarters during the 18 days it would take to assemble them.
Mercedes-Benz Brand Today
Since its merger, the Daimler Company has gone on to produce and manage a diverse range of personal automobiles under 12 different brand names sold in over 200 countries worldwide. Daimler Company and its marquee Mercedes-Benz brand have withstood multiple economic recessions, two world wars and countless other challenges that have forced them to continue to innovate and improve on their product's performance to grow their global portfolio of assets.
Today, the powerhouse corporation employs nearly 300,000 people worldwide and prides itself on a diverse, innovative and fulfilling place to work at a long-term career. It also executes a strict environmental protection plan which it reports on annually as a means of maintaining accountability toward corporate sustainability initiatives.
As for the company's long-term vision, the leaders at Daimler Company have their eyes set on the title of world's number one selling brand in the premium automobile market with their “Mercedes-Benz 2020” growth strategy.