2010 Mercedes-Benz Brand Workshop in Stuttgart, First Impressions

April 9, 2010, By Alex Ion

Some of you may have known that on Wednesday morning I had to wake up really early (unlike me) and hop on a plane to Zurich, on my way to Stuttgart, for a Mercedes-Benz Brand Workshop. One of the company’s shuttles was there to pick me up and take me to the hotel. The same shuttle came 2 hours later and got us to the Mercedes-Benz Museum where we spent the rest of the day.

Mercedes-Benz Brand Workshop 2010

Here’s where I got to meet Tobias Müller, Kristina Mainka and Melanie Graf, the great guys in charge with organizing the whole event. They have managed to pull in a successful event and have made our stay as pleasant as possible (at least for me). So what exactly was all about at the brand workshop in Stuttgart?

Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart

On the first day, they took us on an exclusive Mercedes-Benz Museum tour. Everything started with a reception in the “Casino” room where Daimler AG futurologist, Alexander Mankowsky, having a presentation on European luxury. Pretty cool, but then the nicest part was actually seeing the cars.

From the first Daimler motorized carriage (the world’s first four-wheeled auto) that packed a small high-speed engine to a bunch of lovely models in the 50s and the 70s, I was amazed to see the amazing heritage each car bears. And did I tell you I know what California governer Arnie Schwarzie used to drive? Ahh .. I did, to some of you.

1902 Mercedes-Simplex 40PS (click for wallpaper size)

Good food and drinks followed, and we got the chance to network with all the other participants before going back to the hotel.

Talking to Alexander Mankowsky, Daimler AG futurologist

Second day was even more interesting. A trip to the Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Sindelfingen seemed like a nice way to forget I had to woke up at 7 o`clock, again.

Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Sindelfingen

They took all our phones and cameras and welcomed everyone in a large room with a special light wing ceiling which — they say — helps drive light wherever they need to. Then futurologist Alexander Mankowsky on “Paradigm shift – sustainable mobility” and the future of the auto industry.

Steffen Köhl talking about designing a Mercedes-Benz car

Steffen Köhl had a nice presentation on how a car enters mass production — from initial sketches, to clay models and how they choose which is the best — it’s an amazing process. After seeing what makes those exclusive Mercedes-Benz interiors so special, we could stand up close to with a bunch of new models and new concepts (that included a fuel-cell vehicle really nicely detailed for everyone to see).

2010 Mercedes SLS Gullwing Design Version (click for larger version)

The last part of the trip, and probably the most interesting for many of those who took part was playing around with some of the most powerful and greenest models, at the Malmsheim testing ground.

Mercedes-Benz testing ground in Malmsheim

I got a chance to stand behind the wheel of an S400 hybrid, a powerful ML 63 AMG (for those who don’t know it that’s a 510hp SUV), had my first electric ride in an electric Smart and pushed the pedal on a lovely E350 Coupe diesel (Tobias and Kristina, sorry for all the noise :p) that I later fell in love with.

Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid test drive in Malmsheim (larger version)

Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid test drive in Malmsheim (larger version)

What else?

I missed a lot, but will make sure I keep you updated in the days to come.
Oh and I promised some more images from the Mercedes-Benz Museum, will get to it in a jiffy.

Thank you guys for making the whole event, so perfect.

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