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Auto blogTue, 29 Jan 2013
With the redesigned 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class getting closer to production, the camera-wielding crew over at Autospies somehow managed to get inside of the car to snap some detailed spy shots. As the prototypes continue to shed camouflage, it would appear that Mercedes-Benz is getting closer to unveiling the car, and with the Geneva and New York auto shows coming up, it could be sooner rather than later.
From what we can see of this car's interior, the overall look of the S-Class' cabin isn't a ground-breaking departure from the current car, but it has been completely redesigned with more advanced technology. The styling is now even more upscale with larger swaths of wood, more shapely door panels (without the built-in armrest cubbies) and the concept-like two-spoke steering wheel. The highlight of this car though is probably the two massive digital screens with one being used for driver information and the other used for navigation, audio and infotainment systems. One other detail we noticed about this car is that it was equipped with the new 360-degree camera that debuted on the new GL-Class and will also be used on the 2014 E-Class. We also know that the next-gen S-Class will be getting the new cloud-based MBrace2 infotainment system.
As for the exterior design, it looks like the next S-Class will carry a similar profile as the current car, but we can see through the camouflage that the new styling will fit in better with current Mercedes-Benz products. Up front, the grille is much larger is flanked by aggressive LED-trimmed headlights, while the rear view of the car shows us the LED brake light now at the top of the rear window, a more pointed trunk opening and a more squared-off rear fascia with exhaust outlets pushed to the corners.
Some executives in the automotive industry stay with one company for their entire careers, while others bounce from one to the other, often leaving their indelible mark on each automaker at which they serve. Bob Lutz is certainly an example of the latter. So is Lee Iacocca, having presided over Ford and later charing the Chrysler board. Carlos Tavares was chief operating officer of Renault before being nominated as chief executive at PSA Peugeot Citroën. But as far as the Germans go, nobody's jumped from the leadership of one automaker to the next quite like Bernd Pischetsrieder - especially now that he's been named to the supervisory board of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.
An engineer by training, Pischetsrieder started his career at BMW in 1973, eventually rising to the office of CEO after twenty years. There he remained until 1999, only to be dismissed after orchestrating BMW's takeover of the Rover Group (of which only the Mini brand remains in the company's portfolio, the other brands having been sold off after his dismissal).
The next year he was named chairman of Volkswagen's Seat brand, and rose to the chairmanship of the entire Volkswagen Group two years later. Despite a largely successful four-year tenure (that gave birth, incidentally, to the Bugatti Veyron), disagreements with supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piëch saw him leave the helm at VW AG, focusing his attention on the Scania truck division. He's since been touted as a potential chief executive for Opel and for Continental, but neither potential was apparently realized.
Brazil is the place to be, apparently. Toyota has been investing in the South American country, as has BMW, which announced a $261 million investment in October 2012, on the heels of an Audi factory announcement in San José Chiapa. The high-end immigration is only set to continue, as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover have both announced plans to set up manufacturing operations there.
Mercedes is the big news here, as its new facility will see the German manufacturer invest 170-million euros for production of its next-generation C-Class and upcoming GLA-Class. "Brazil is an important future market. With our local production we accept the challenge and take on the competition," noted Andreas Renschler, Management Board member for Production and Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Production is expected to begin by 2016.
Jaguar-Land Rover, meanwhile, isn't so concrete in its plans. The news of its investment in South America comes from a job posting for a plant quality manager in Brazil that was picked up by the UK's AutoCar. "Portuguese language skills will be definite advantage" for interested candidates, according to the job listing. The want ad follows on the heels of remarks by Jaguar Land Rover's Dr. Ralph Speth, who said there are "very intensive discussions" with Brazil's government. Unlike Mercedes, there's no mention of which vehicles will be produced in South America, although AutoCar thinks the Freelander, sold in the US as the LR2, is a leading contender.