Stuttgart. To maintain an advantage over rival luxury carmakers and to secure German jobs, Mercedes-Benz is developing key technologies in-house.
"We have identified three fields that are clearly part of our core competency," said Hans Multhaupt, head of development and program management for the S class, SL and Maybach product lines.
Multhaupt said the three key technologies are: all-wheel drive, hardtop roofs and seats for top-line models.
"We are handling the development and most of the production on our own," Multhaupt said.
Mercedes latest 4Matic all-wheel-drive system was developed in-house and is being built in-house for the first time. Previously, Magna Steyr in Austria developed and built 4Matic technology for the carmaker.
The new 4Matic system debuted on the latest S class in October.
The German supplier CTS Car Top Systems lost its contracts to develop roof systems for Mercedes and now only handles final assembly for the SL and the SLK.
Seats for the S-class and CL-class models and for the Maybach have been developed and assembled in Mercedes' plant in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, since 1999. Johnson Controls, Lear and Keiper are the suppliers for the other model lines.
The in-sourcing is securing jobs. The number of engineers for roof systems is rising to 15, and to 20 in seat development. More than 300 employees work in seat manufacturing.
You may e-mail Harald Hamprecht at [email protected]