Mercedes-Benz is on track to pass BMW to become the world's best-selling premium brand this year, regaining a title it lost to its rival in 2005. A key reason is the "sensual purity" design language developed by Gorden Wagener, global vice president of design for Mercedes parent Daimler AG, who will speak Jan. 10 at the Automotive News World Congress.
Wagener has led a styling turnaround at Mercedes since moving into the position in 2008. The expanded product line has pushed into new car and crossover segments. A variety of models on the road now bear Wagener's signature.
After studying industrial design at the University of Essen in Germany, Wagener studied transportation design at the Royal College of Art in London. Before he joined Mercedes in 1997, he worked as an exterior designer at Volkswagen, Mazda and General Motors.
Among other speakers at the World Congress are Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, General Motors product development chief Mark Reuss, Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz, Bentley Motors CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind and Ford's president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs.