A successful Mercedes-Benz can run for more than 200,000 miles without needing major repairs—that’s about three times the average lifespan of an American car. But there are plenty of other myths and facts about Mercedes-Benz that most people don’t know about. Here are five of them!
1: The Star
A particularly famous feature of all Mercedes-Benzes is their star. First introduced in 1926 on what was then a luxury car, it’s since become a stylized symbol of excellence and prestige.
The star logo has also appeared on other brands that have been acquired by Daimler AG over time. For example, Maybach uses a three-pointed star which represents its heritage as being part of Daimler’s history.
The current Mercedes Benz corporate logo consists of four silver stars arranged in an inverted triangle on a blue background. The color blue represents infinity or sky (the infinite sky). The four stars are meant to represent the four core brands within Daimler AG: Mercedes-Benz Cars (and smart), Daimler Trucks (and buses), Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services.
2: The First
The very first car to wear a 3-pointed star on its hood was actually made by Benz’s arch rival, Karl Benz. The inventor of what we now consider to be the first modern automobile gave it his namesake back in 1888: The Benz Patent Motorwagen (or Patent Motor Car). This four-wheeled beast cost about as much as your run of the mill luxury car does today. It had three wheels and could go up to 10 miles per hour. That said, there were no doors or windshields yet and you had to start it with a crank! The One That Started It All: The first model that truly deserves credit for being an ancestor of every luxury car on sale today is called W21. It was introduced in 1924 and would eventually evolve into one of Benz’s most famous models ever built—the 300 series.
But before that happened, W21 ushered in many innovations that are still used on cars today—like direct drive transmission (as opposed to using gears) and hydraulic brakes with servo assistance. While those features aren’t exactly exclusive to luxury cars anymore, they’re still quite common among them!
3: The First Production Car With Airbags
In a radical move, Mercedes added airbags to its R129 S-Class models beginning in 1993. It was one of the first cars in history to offer any kind of protection for drivers during a crash. All told, it took nearly 10 years for other automakers to adopt airbag technology into their vehicles. While airbags are now standard in most cars, they’re still relatively rare features in trucks and sport utility vehicles—but things will likely change as technology continues to advance. Some luxury brands even have options that allow you to turn off or downsize your airbag deployment based on passenger weight and seat positioning.
4: The Longest Last Model
The Maybach, which is a nameplate that was previously used by two car manufacturers. One was an elegant luxury car built by Friedrich Schiller in Germany and owned by Wilhelm Maybach. In 1898, his son Karl and German engineer Ferdinand Porsche started a car company called Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG). In 1907, DMG merged with Benz & Cie to form Daimler-Benz. During World War II, Maybach produced military vehicles for Nazi Germany’s armed forces.
After World War II ended, Daimler-Benz restarted production of civilian vehicles under the brand Mercedes-Benz. But then in 1999, DaimlerChrysler AG decided to discontinue its ultra luxury brand Maybach, leaving only Mercedes-Benz as its ultra luxury brand. Today, Mercedes-Benz remains one of few ultra luxury brands left on earth.
5: World War I Hero
The famed German automaker originated as a manufacturer of military vehicles, including ambulances, trucks and even armored cars. The car part of its history dates back to 1926, when a merger between Benz & Cie. and Daimler gave rise to DMG (Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft), which began manufacturing small cars under both labels in 1930. A year later, it launched its famous Maybach brand of luxury vehicles. In 1937, it introduced its first true production vehicle: The 170V sedan.
That same year, another merger brought together several companies to form Auto Union AG, which went on to produce four-wheel drive vehicles for Nazi Germany during World War II. Following Germany’s defeat at war’s end in 1945, all three companies were dissolved by Allied occupation authorities and reorganized into what is now known as Daimler AG. Today, Mercedes-Benz remains one of that company’s flagship brands.
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