The NAIAS 2014 and the New Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The new motoring year kicks off with the North American International Motor Show in Detroit and the whole world is looking at Daimler for what could be the release of the year: the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class! No car in the Mercedes-Benz line-up shifts more units as the C-Class so it is not surprising Mercedes means business with the launch here in Detroit.

We spend the last few days before arriving in Detroit ‚Guarding the new C-Class‘ with a select group of international journalists and blogger as part of the Mercedes-Benz Road Trip 2014. The tour took us from Houston to Detroit with various desirable cars from the Mercedes-Benz line-up. On the second day of our trip we picked up the new C-Class at the North American factory in Alabama. From here we escorted the new C-Class to its world debut in Detroit – a large honor and interesting experience to safe guard this car to its official launch.

On Sunday only a few hours before the official unveiling of the new C-Class we arrive at the Westin in downtown Detroit, a city hit hard by the downturn of the American motor industry. That Mercedes means business with the new C-Class is also illustrated by the fact they booked the entire 20+ story hotel exclusively for Mercedes-Benz employees, media and guests.

Excitement rises as the guests gather on the second floor of the hotel, normally the lobby but for this evening transformed to the launch location of the new C-Class. At exactly 8pm all guests are invited to auditorium where a band plays tunes of the latest Mercedes-Benz hit commercial. With over 600 international media gathered in the auditorium Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche takes to the stages and talks about the last record year and the premieres at this years NAIAS – the jokes are plentyful and the atmosphere is good. That Daimler is also taking online and the young generations seriously is shown on the huge video wall that displays tonnes of Mercedes-Benz related social media messages.

Of course the speech and the various videos shown lead up to the moment everybody has been waiting for: The New C-Class! Mr Zetsche leaves the stage and Kelly Rowland takes to the stage to perform her song ‚Work‘ live – to which two new C-Classes drive out on stage. The new C-Class comes with two totally different ‚faces‘, a traditional front with a classic style grill and star on the bonnet and a sporty – AMG inspired – look with a big star in the grill. Mr Zetsche takes to the stage one last time before everybody is invited to have a closer look at the new C-Class.

The two different styles of C-Class work out like two different identities, a classic- sophisticated look and a very sporty and more aggressive look. Overall the C-Class looks like the S-Class’s little brother. And its not just styling wise that the C-Class packs a lot of S. Many of the new safety, driver assistance and multimedia systems found on the S-Class are also available on the new C-Class. The interior is refreshing and with firsts for this segment like air suspension Daimler is clearly looking to set the new benchmark in this very competitive segment.

At the Detroit Motor Show the next day it is now the turn for the C-Class to celebrate its public debut. Again Kelly Rowland and Mr Zetsche are on scene to pull the wraps of the new C-Class in front of the gathered international and national motoring press. The C-Class seems to be not just attracting attention from the gathered media but also from the competition. Mr Zetsche is joined by Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn to have a closer look at the new C-Class.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn visits the new C-Class

With all this talk about the C-Class we might almost forget that Mercedes-Benz brought more to Detroit then just the new C-Class: The production version of the GLA 45 AMG also celebrated its debut in Detroit, as did the new S-Class flagship: the S600. One of my personal highlights was the Detroit appearance of the S-Class Coupe Concept. Celebrating its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, it is the second time I have seen it and with its stunning design I can’t wait for it to go in production!

Mercedes-Benz seems to have the wind in the back with the global success of the CLA, the fresh new designs across and stronger appeal to a younger audience. We are confident the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be yet another successful chapter for Mercedes-Benz and we can’t wait to see what the future brings!
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About the author:
Des Sellmeijer is founder and publisher of GTspirit.com, a leading global website for everything luxury- and sportscar related. Founded in 2006 GTspirit quickly gained recognition for its event coverages, road tests and special reports. Currently GTspirit has a team of more than 35 dedicated enthusiasts and professionals around the globe including talented car photographers and journalists.
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