Mercedes-Benz future SUVs to get significant weight reduction thanks to the intensive use of aluminium materials and improved joining techniques
Mercedes-Benz, one of highly rated luxury brands in the world, could be all set to build the next generation SUV range manufactured at the Vance, Alabama facility in US with lightweight materials. A report surfaced on Automotivenews said the upcoming iterations of its successful portfolio of SUVs will strip weight due to the addition of more aluminium and other composite materials. The advanced joining processes used in producing the existing C-Class sedan will be expanded as well.
The SUV makers have come under immense pressure as emission standards around the world get stringent and in addition to the technology improvements to gain more economy, shedding weight will play a key role in competitive fuel efficiency as it cuts down carbon dioxide emissions by large amounts. In a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars, Mercedes US arm’s CEO Jason Hoff hinted at the next-gen SUVs and the joining technologies will include increased use of bonding, laser welding and riveting.
The aluminium composition will also be substantial as components like doors, bonnets, boot lids and non-structural are applied with lightweight sheet metal. In America, the Ford F-150 pickup truck has the body and bed made entirely out of aluminium which is joined by riveting, screwing and gluing processes.
As the global auto industry moves towards next level, the engineering processes in manufacturing are improving as well. The new techniques dig a big hole in the pockets of automakers and they require retooling in plant’s setup.
The best-selling C-Class sedan is not only popular in India but also abroad as Mercedes-Benz invested over a billion dollars in the significant restructuring of its Alabama assembly facility to introduce the latest gen model in 2014. The existing C-Class, enduring a redesign in late 2014, sold in the US tips the weighing scale between 1,550 and 1,840 kilograms based on the trim and option levels.
Mercedes-Benz has its local manufacturing facilities in Chakan and Pune. Given the fact that the German brand enters each potential global model within a few months of world premiere for India, the forthcoming SUVs could adapt a similar production techniques for lower curb weight and improved fuel economy.