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Mercedes "Steals" the Show

July 15, 2012

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Emphasizing environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient and safer vehicles, Daimler flashed highlights of its commercial vehicle brands in advance of the 64th IAA Commercial Vehicles show that will take place in Hanover, Germany, Sept. 20-27.
The new Mercedes Antos presented by Georg Weiberg, Head of Truck Product Engineering.
The new Mercedes Antos presented by Georg Weiberg, Head of Truck Product Engineering.


In early July, Daimler invited about 200 international trade editors to the Stuttgart Fairground for sneak preview of most of what will be presented at IAA in September. Like many other OEMs, Daimler chose to make a big media splash before the show to get publicity for news that otherwise might be lost in the enormous supply of news and information during the world's largest truck show.

Among the vehicles previewed were a new short-haul heavy-duty distribution truck, a Fuso Canter electric hybrid, the Sprinter van and a new small city van called the Citan.

Global platforms

While most of these truck models probably won't make an appearance in the U.S. anytime soon, it's worth watching international trends in this era of increasing global vehicle platforms.

Daimler officials also talked about the company's "module strategy for all powertrain components," meaning common engines, transmissions, axles and exhaust aftertreatment systems are or will be shared across all brands around the world. That's already seen, for instance, in the Heavy Duty Engine Platform used in the big long-haul Mercedes Actros introduced last year in Europe and in the DD 13 and DD 15 engines in North America.

"Regardless if vehicles were from Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner or Fuso - all Daimler subsidiaries - they all have the target to demonstrate an innovative leadership," said Daimler Commercial Vehicle head Andreas Renschler.

"The joint aim uniting all brands and product ranges, regardless it's for Europe, North America or Asia, is to produce both extremely efficient and at the same time very eco-friendly transport vehicles," Renschler continued.

He noted that new trucks and buses meeting upcoming Euro VI emissions standards (very similar to EPA2010) have lower fuel consumption than their predecessors, "which is an engineering achievement," said Renschler.

"Last but not least, numerous new features are increasing our lead in the field of safety and assistance systems," he continued. "Thus our commercial vehicle brands are once more emphasizing their leading role in environmental technology (Clean Drive) and safety (Safe Drive) as part of our new strategy for 'Shaping future transportation.'"

New heavy distribution truck
The new Mercedes-Benz Antos will celebrate its world premiere at the IAA in September. Antos is replacing the former Axor model, which was the old Actros equipped with the more narrow Atego cab. The models it replaces will still be produced for global markets allowing Euro III and Euro IV engines, since the old V-6 engines fit in these cabs. Low diesel quality standards are sometimes the reason for countries holding back on implementing Euro V and VI.

With Antos new engines in accordance with Euro VI emissions standards as well as other tailor-made solutions, Daimler says it is the first truck to be specially designed as a vehicle for heavy-duty short-radius distribution and is well equipped for a wide variety of uses. A number of Antos trucks were on display at the Stuttgart event, although closer looks inside cabs were prevented by locked doors. That will have to wait until the "real" IAA.

"The new big Mercedes-Benz Actros, introduced last year, continues to be the most economically efficient truck for long-distance hauls," Renschler said.

Fuso: the new Canter Eco Hybrid

On the basis of the new light Canter truck, Daimler Japanese subsidiary Fuso has once more refined the hybrid drive. The new Canter Eco Hybrid, which will be produced in Europe starting in the third quarter, will be the first truck in its class with hybrid drive, according to the company.

Fuso says it has managed to make sure that the hybrid drive pays off after only a few years - a great stride forward for alternative drive systems.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has expanded into a full-line supplier with the new small city van Citan. The model will have its world premiere at the IAA for commercial vehicles. Behind the attractive look typical of the brand there are the corresponding technical features. Whether it is the drive, chassis, interior or the great variety of different versions and equipment, the new Mercedes-Benz Citan provides an economically-efficient answer to the questions raised by city logistics. The model is the result of a cooperation with Renault based on its Kangoo model.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van will be coming to the IAA with a new 7-speed automatic transmission which it says is unique in the van class. It combines comfort with economic efficiency and dynamics. BlueEfficiency technology is setting new standards in economic efficiency and cleanliness, according to Daimler. With the additional functions of the ESP safety system, it is noticeably increasing its lead in this sector.


Related Stories:

Fuso Shows Electric, Hybrid Trucks That Might Come to the States

5/31/2012 Freightliner Trucks Unveils the Cascadia Evolution

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