Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, emphasized the importance of the automobile: “The invention of Daimler and Benz has changed the world for the better – and it will continue to do so. History shows that when a society becomes physically mobile it also becomes socially mobile and economically successful.” At the same time, Dr. Zetsche focused on the future: “As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler strives to be at the forefront of shaping future mobility.”
One of the key challenges is the transition to electric mobility. Dr. Zetsche is convinced: “If Daimler and Benz were still alive today, they would advise us to make green cars even more fascinating and fascinating cars even greener. Only attractive innovations are effective innovations.”
World tour of fuel cell vehicles to be started
Firm evidence of the innovative strength of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in the field of green technologies was sent on a world tour as part of the anniversary celebrations. Together with Chancellor Merkel, present and past racing drivers Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and David Coulthard, and three Daimler engineer, Dr. Zetsche symbolically started the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive. Three B-Class cars with fuel-cell drive are to travel around the world in 125 days.
Patent granted for battery technology
125 years after Carl Benz registered his patent and more than 80,000 patents later, Daimler was granted another technology patent during the anniversary celebrations. Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, presented Dr. Zetsche with the patent certificate for the so-called bipolar flat-cell frame. This technology is now in the development stage at Daimler and is potentially a further step along the way to the industrialization of lithium-ion batteries.
Milestone: 30 million Mercedes-Benz cars
Right on time for the 125th anniversary of the automobile and after 65 years of post-war production, the Mercedes-Benz brand has reached a new milestone. 30 million automobiles with the three-pointed star have been delivered to customers since 1945.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche: “This unit-sales jubilee is another major milestone in the history of our brand and demonstrates the popularity our cars have enjoyed for many decades with customers around the world.”
Sculpture “Aesthetics 125”
The latest sculpture from the Mercedes-Benz design team, “Aesthetics 125,” was unveiled during the celebrations. The sculpture continues the unique designers’ philosophy that “Mercedes-Benz design is art” and is an extension of the sculptures presented previously, “Aesthetics No. 1” and “Aesthetics No. 2.” Like them, “Aesthetics 125” provides an outlook on the future design language of Mercedes-Benz. It combines elements of an automobile’s interior and exterior by means of sweeping, almost soaring shape transitions. The model was made by the Mercedes designers using the innovative rapid-prototyping technology, which enables digital data to be transferred directly to a design object. The technology works with various materials and applies them in fine layers so that no waste material is produced when a sculpture is created.
Start of numerous activities
The anniversary celebrations at the Mercedes-Benz World mark the official start of jubilee year 2011, which Daimler has given the motto “125! years inventor of the automobile.” The Mercedes-Benz brand has given the year the motto “125! Years of innovation.” Numerous events connected with the 125th anniversary of the automobile are scheduled to take place this year.
Special bonus for the worldwide workforce
Daimler’s success – in the past, the present and the future – depends above all on the motivation and enthusiasm of its approximately 260,000 employees all over the world. For this reason, many activities and projects will be taking place in the coming year that focus on the employees. First of all, Daimler will pay out a total of 125 million euros to its worldwide workforce in the form of a special anniversary bonus. In recognition of the efforts and achievements of recent years, each employee will receive a bonus of up to 1,000 euros depending on his or her length of time at the Group.
Support for the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation
In addition to the special bonus to be paid to the employees, Daimler is also making a gesture of social responsibility, and will increase the capital of the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation to 125 million euros. This foundation was established in 1986 – the year of the 100th anniversary of the automobile – and deals primarily with long-term research projects concerning the ever changing relationship between human beings, the environment and technology. The capital increase is intended to develop the foundation into a think tank specializing in this field.
“We move it! – 125 employee projects for sustainability”
There will be a very special event to honour employees’ social involvement: “We move it! – 125 employee projects for sustainability”. Employees in Germany can apply presenting environment- and community-related projects to which they dedicate their free time as volunteers. A jury of experts will select 125 projects which will then be supported or financed by Daimler with up to 5,000 Euros per project. Every employee already working, or wishing to work, for a non-profit organisation or in a public corporation can take part. Applications can be submitted starting January 29, 2011. Similar campaigns will be started in other countries such as Brazil and France.
Celebrations for employees and their families
In 2011, at virtually all the Daimler locations around the world, employee and family festivities will be organised. The celebrations at the multiple Daimler locations are intended as a “thank-you” to the workforce. For today’s celebration, 125 invitations were raffled amongst employees. Apart from this, in different events, Daimler will also raffle tickets for the international football match in the Mercedes-Benz Arena and numerous other prizes.
Exhibitions around the world
The central anchor point for the automobile’s history is the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which in 2011 celebrates its 5th anniversary at its new home in the Mercedes-Strasse in Stuttgart. In addition to the museum’s automotive classics, the guest exhibition ART 125! will be on show here from May to September 2011. Over 160 exhibits from the company’s collection of modern and contemporary art created by more than 80 internationally renowned artists will be on display. Among the works of art that will be seen there are many which originated in the artist’s treatment of the history, models or design of Mercedes-Benz motor cars. Worthy of mention among these: Andy Warhol’s (1928-1987) legendary series of paintings "CARS", created by the artist 25 years ago on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the automobile. Beside further works with reference to the motor car by Bertrand Lavier, Robert Longo, Sylvie Fleury and Vincent Szarek among others, in the Mercedes-Benz Museum it will be possible to see for the first time a work commissioned for the automobile’s 125th birthday.
A publication is to be edited in the form of a book with 125 anecdotes revolving around the motor car, entitled “125 moving stories”. The reader can learn entertaining, informative and surprising stories – some of which have never been set down in writing before.
Exhibitions will be staged at the international Mercedes-Benz Galleries, Mercedes-Benz Brand Centres and the German Mercedes-Benz customer centres, featuring selected historic and present-day exhibits to illustrate the influence the invention of the motor-car had on society and to bear witness to Mercedes-Benz’s power of innovation – not least keeping an eye on the future of mobility. In addition, Daimler will implement a travelling exhibition of classic vehicles, which is to tour selected shopping centres throughout Germany and thus make automobile history tangible for millions of people.
Mercedes-Benz as sponsor of the 2011 Automobile Summer
The State of Baden-Württemberg celebrates the invention of the automobile with a series of events under the heading “Automobile Summer 2011– 125 years of the automobile”. Over 125 days numerous events will take place in Baden-Württemberg, grouped into eight thematic blocks: Family & Children, Origin & History, Art, Culture & Lifestyle, Technology & Research, Travel & Pleasure, Environment & Sustainability, Motor sport & Tuning as well as Wellness & Health. Five of these are planned in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, the Lake of Constance region and Mannheim. The event series will begin in Stuttgart on May 8 to finish in Mannheim on September 10. Daimler is actively supporting the 2011 Automobile Summer with its brand Mercedes-Benz acting as a sponsor.
Mercedes-Benz says “Thank you”
Starting in mid-August Mercedes-Benz will initiate activities in Stuttgart, planned to take place on several days and intended to enable members of the public to participate actively in the jubilee celebrations. An international soccer match between the German National Team and the Brazilian selection in the reconditioned Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart on August 10, 2011 will be the kick-off; Mercedes-Benz acting as “Sponsor of the day”. On subsequent days Mercedes-Benz will offer multi-media performances, vehicle exhibitions and, both for young and old, a glimpse at the future of the motor car. This “Thank you” event will also be incorporated in the event calendar of the Automobile Summer of the State of Baden-Württemberg.In addition, this summer Mercedes-Benz, working in close cooperation with the international official Mercedes-Benz Clubs in Berlin is organising the biggest Mercedes-Benz meeting of all times.
Retrospect:125 years of innovation in automotive construction
When Carl Benz registered his Patent number 37435 in Berlin on January 29, 1886, nobody could possibly have imagined the triumphant march the modern motor car would embark upon over the following 125 years. Less than 100 kilometres away, and almost at the same time, Swabian inventor and entrepreneur Gottlieb Daimler was working on his motor wagon, to which he gave the finishing touches that very year. However, both had to wait some years before the groundbreaking development they had succeeded in initiating became a profitable commercial proposition.
The long road to the birth of the modern-day automobile
As far back as the eighteenth century there had been first experiments with automobiles driven by steam engines, in particular in England and France. In the course of the 19th century countless engineers, developers and inventors all over Europe worked at the further development of steam engines. Electric motors were also tried for the first time. However, the decisive steps that led to Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz’s invention of the modern motor car took place in Germany with the invention of the four-stroke engine (gas engine) by Nikolaus August Otto.
Both Daimler and his congenial partner, Wilhelm Maybach, as well as Carl Benz realised that their opportunity lay in the reduction of size and weight of the engine coupled with an increase in power output at the same time. The resoluteness with which Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler developed their ideas further, and patented, implemented and tested them to finally lead to their application in series production and market maturity, makes them the fathers of an invention that was to change the world – socially, culturally and economically.