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Auto blogMon, 15 Jul 2013 18:02:00 EST
Ernst Lieb, the disgraced former CEO of American operations for Mercedes-Benz, will not be getting any more money from the Silver Arrow'd teat. His wrongful dismissal suit against MB's parent company, Daimler, was tossed out of a German appeals panel. This, followed the initial rejection by a lower court last year.
According to court documents acquired by Automotive News, Lieb was found to have "accepted payments of substantial value to which he - as he was aware - had no claim."
Lieb took over American operations from former CEO Paul Halata in September of 2006. Reports surfaced in October of 2011 that Lieb was dismissed from his posting at MB, with a variety of rumors swirling. Eventually, news broke that financial wrong doing was responsible for the German's firing.
Mercedes-Benz is preparing a major product offensive to counteract lagging sales in the Chinese market, aiming 20 new or updated models at the People's Republic in the next two years, according to a report by Reuters. The plan is part of MB's so-called 2020 Initiative, which will see the Stuttgart-based manufacturer dump 2 billion Euros ($2.67 billion) into its Chinese market vehicles in a bid to boost sales to 300,000 units by 2015.
Were it to succeed, China would become the largest market for the Silver Arrow, outpacing Germany and the United States. Leading the charge will be the redesigned E-Class, which is set to launch in China this week. That will quickly be followed by the S-Class, and eventually by the GLA-Class in 2014.
Mercedes has struggled in China, especially relative to its German competition, BMW and Audi. Where Mercedes saw a mere four-percent increase in 2012 sales to 206,150 units, Audi was up a staggering 32 percent, while BMW's numbers jumped 41 percent. While some voices, according to Reuters, accuse Munich and Ingolstadt of boosting their numbers through hefty incentives, the fact remains that Mercedes was just walloped by its competitors last year.
No one in their right mind has ever accused German tuners Mansory of being subtle. So, when our Geneva team wandered across the Mansory Speranza - A Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen that has been denuded of its roof and spackled inside with quilted leather and red carbon fiber - they didn't ask a lot of existential questions. Why does the Speranza exist? Because Germans are weird sometimes, that's why.
Forget for a moment that you'll have to pay Mansory hundreds of thousands of euros (we're guessing, no pricing information has been revealed) for the privilege of converting your G-Class into something that looks like a Suzuki Samurai, and prepare to be impressed by the details. The tuning house has increased the output of the Mercedes V8 to a healthy 700 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque. The wheels are 24-inches, and wear almost unbelievable 305-section ultra-high performance Vresdestein tires. Carbon fiber can be found nearly everywhere one looks, including making up the housing for the spare tire. Oh, and there are leather pillows for the backseats... no word on whether they're standard or optional, but we're looking in to it.