Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in China: an integral and essential part of the global R&D network

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in China: an integral and essential part of the global R&D network

Apr 25, 2016
  • Steady expansion of responsibilities at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China to ensure long-term market success
  • Daimler’s dedication to Chinese customers and local requirements is reflected in the vast scope of functions at R&D China, Beijing

Beijing – The Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in Beijing is rapidly expanding the scope of responsibilities and specialized staff. Beyond the key R&D functions, new roles and responsibilities now include program management as well as procurement and supplier quality management for products made for the local Chinese market.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development: “With 10 years of local R&D activities, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China is not only an integral part of Daimler group’s research network, but plays a key role in understanding Chinese customer expectations and local requirements. This expertise directly gives us a sustained competitive edge and the competence to develop tailor-made products for the local market. To cater to the importance of the Chinese market, we are steadily expanding and building an intelligent workforce.”

“For Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, China has become the biggest sales market worldwide,” says Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for China: “We acknowledge this importance and reflect this as well in our R&D activities. As a key element for our sustained growth in China, our R&D Center supports us in fully taping our potential and putting our Chinese customers in the center of our future product development.”

The company first established Research & Development in China in 2006 by localizing production of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Since the opening of the new R&D Center in Beijing in November of 2014, the head count has been increased to currently approximately 500 highly qualified engineers and designers – around
85 percent are Chinese; the remaining 15 percent are experts from many other different countries.

Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Engel, Head of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China: “With our local R&D activities we are already well on track on many lanes, proving our attitude in going that extra mile for our local customers, to deliver products that fit best their needs. The success of our sustained development in China is the result of listening to our customers. We are committed to the long-term perspective in this market.”

Mercedes-Benz R&D Center in Beijing covers core responsibilities in the areas of:

  • Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design

  • Localization and Development

  • Safety and Comfort

  • Powertrain and Testing

  • Regulatory Affairs and IP

  • Connected Car and Mobility Services

  • Trends Research, Innovation and Concepts

  • Program Management

  • Procurement and Supplier Quality Management

The Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Beijing is one of the company’s most modern and comprehensive Design studios worldwide – a local seismograph for design, cultural and mobility trends as well as an integral part of Daimler’s global design network. For instance, experts in the ‘Colour and Trim’ team focus closely on local preferences concerning fabrics or colours used inside the passenger vehicles. To meet Chinese customers’ expectations regarding in-vehicle user systems, such as the ability to enter handwritten Chinese characters or use China-specific internet services, the ‘User Interface Experience’ team implements cutting-edge in-car technologies.

‘Trends Research, Innovation and Concepts’ analyses local customer profiles and tracks developments in Chinese society and translates them into intelligent product solutions and concepts. The spectrum of the China-specific product features is expanding constantly. It also includes, for example, ergonomics, storage concepts and user interface.

In the mind-set of Chinese customers, the ‘connected car’ plays an important role. In acknowledging this demand, R&D China is further expanding its activities in this field, utilizing China’s innovation power and working closely with suitable local partners. Another step into the automotive future are the activities in the domain of autonomous driving – ensuring that Mercedes-Benz vehicles feel at home on Chinese streets and supporting the drivers in the daily traffic challenges.

R&D China as well takes a leading role in the field of electric vehicle development – specifically with attention to the local market and strategic partners. R&D China’s local expertise and innovation power offers the competitive edge and therefore will further expand facilities in China, with the aim to have the best talents and partners in a digital working environment at the most advanced facilities.

Global Research and Development Network

Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development currently employs worldwide a workforce of about 16,000 at 23 facilities in 11 countries. The company’s global R&D headquarters is located in Sindelfingen and Untertürkheim near Stuttgart. The Group is once again significantly increasing its R&D spending in the years 2016 and 2017 to a total of 14.5 billion Euro.

Besides the facility in Beijing, Daimler’s global R&D network includes two more international Competence Centers: Specialists at Sunnyvale in the USA focus on innovations for the so-called ‘digital drivestyle’ and Bangalore in India is home to the Competence Center for digital product development and IT.

The Advanced Design Studio in Beijing/China is the beating heart of the regional Research & Development centre and the company's new design hub in Asia
At five locations worldwide, Mercedes-Benz has set up Advanced Design studios which pick up stylistic trends at local level, analysing them and applying them to the creative process.The photograph shows designers at the cutting-edge Advanced Design Studio in Beijing/China
State-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio.
State-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio.
Grand Opening of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center Beijing - f.l.t.r. Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG; Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development; Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Chairman & CEO of Daimler Greater China Ltd.; Klaus Mannsperger, Executive Vice President Daimler Greater China Ltd., Head of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China.