DaimlerChrysler has folded its Mercedes-Benz Advanced Engineering department into the brand's design department.
According to Mercedes-Benz sources, engineers were shocked by the switch. Their reporting lines, as of Jan. 1, now lead to chief designer Peter Pfeiffer, who reports directly to Mercedes-Benz development boss Hans-Joachim Schoepf.
But not all Mercedes engineers were disappointed.
"It is all down to what we make out of it," a leading manager said, "but I think this move makes a lot of sense. It will bear very positive fruits because our advanced developments can be taken in consideration a lot earlier and possibly open up new design possibilities."
Schoepf explained that the restructuring is another step toward more customer orientation.
"We are in the process of changing radically from a purely engineering-driven company to a company that is focusing entirely on customers' wishes," he said. "Now (with this move) we have driven our dedication even further and created a very modern structure."