The German automaker will persist with new product development.
Much like the rest of the automotive industry, Mercedes-Benz has closed production due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The German automaker is doing its part to fight the virus by building ventilators but it isn't letting this situation affect future projects. In an interview with German magazine Automobilwoche, Daimler works council chief Michael Brecht says the company's upcoming models will be revealed on schedule.
"The new S-Class is an example. It should start at the end of the year. Everything must be done to make it work, after all, we also need the money that we earn from it," said Brecht. "In China, where a large part of the S-Class is sold, life is slowly starting up again. In other areas where we continue to work, it is about software or battery production."
The current Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which was revealed back in 2013, is due for a replacement. This will include a full assortment of gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants as well as an upcoming, all-electric EQS model.
Despite Brecht's eagerness to remain on schedule, the Covid-19 outbreak has made it more challenging to produce cars. Around 80 percent of the employees at Mercedes' Sindelfingen and Unterturkheim plants will go on short-time work until April 17, 2020.
"For each location, the principle is: We close everything except for the emergency service and future projects that cannot be postponed," he explained. "We also continue to work where components are produced for China . We cannot allow international supply chains to break down - otherwise, we will soon cease to exist."
The new S-Class isn't the only exciting project Mercedes has in the works. There's also the next-generation SL, the AMG GT Black Series, and the 4-Door AMG GT 73 with an 800-horsepower plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Only time will tell if these launches will all go ahead on schedule.
Mercedes is one of the few automakers to not require government assistance but Brecht is still in favor of an economic stimulus once the crisis is over. "A kind of scrapping premium for vehicles with pollutant classes that are no longer up to date would be conceivable here," he said.