The year 1886 was crucial for the automobile industry. In January 1886, the 41-year-old German engineer Karl Benz introduced the world’s first fuel-powered motorcar, the ‘Benz Patent Motorwagen.’ The car looked like a three-wheeled bicycle. In the same year, Gottlieb Daimler built a four-wheeled car. For this, he got a car from Wilhelm Wimpff and Sons, a maker of horse carriages, and fitted his 1.1 horsepower engine in it. Daimler and Benz both established companies by their names and began making cars and other vehicles.
Germany’s car industry collapsed during World War I. Factories were depleted, demand was down, fuel was scarce, and cars were also charged 15% extra. To protect their existence, on June 28, both Daimler and Benz decided to split, and the new company was named Mercedes-Benz.
The name of the new company was supposed to be Daimler-Benz, but by then, the Daimler company’s Mercedes car had become so popular that it was more appropriate to choose the Mercedes name instead of the Daimler. Then in 1998, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler split up, and a new company, Daimler-Chrysler, was born. In 2007, the Daimler Company was separated from Chrysler. Today it is named Daimler AG.
The history behind the Mercedes brand name is equally stylistic. Luxury banker and car racer from Australia Emil Jellinek was a shareholder in the Daimler Company. He wanted to build a better and faster car from the Daimler Company for racing competition. He ordered that the engine should be put forward, the engine should be more powerful, the chassis should be down, the car should be stylish, and the speed faster.
Management was hesitant to build this new ‘revolutionary’ car. Jellinek enticed them that he would buy the first 36 cars of this model himself. The only condition was that the car should be named after his 11-year-old daughter Mercedes. (In Spanish, ‘Mercedes’ means ‘grace.’) On December 22, 1900, the first four-cylinder Mercedes car was purchased. Jellinek was the first customer of ‘Mercedes,’ and Mercedes was the first modern and stylish car. This model of Mercedes became so popular that in no time, all the vehicles of the company started selling under the name of Mercedes.
Mercedes-Benz had been working from the very beginning to establish itself as a prestigious brand. For the first five years, Jellinek owned sales rights to Mercedes of some countries. He tactfully sold Mercedes only to influential people. Mercedes was only available to top-class customers, so it became a prestigious brand.
Mercedes valued quality from the beginning. Gottlieb Daimler was not ready to make any compromises, and his motto was ‘The Best Or Nothing.’ For the first time in Paris in the year 1894, a car race was held by 46 competitors. The first three of those winning cars had Daimler-made engines.
The first Mercedes car had no star on it, nor did the company had its official trademark of the three-cornered star company until 1909. That three-cornered symbol symbolizes Daimler’s ambition to build vehicles for the ‘land, air and water’. After joining the Benz Company, Benz’s sphere was also associated with this star.
There is another interesting fact about Mercedes. When the first Mercedes car became so popular in June 1903, Emil Jellinek changed his name to Jellinek-Mercedes and said, ‘This is probably the first time in history that a father is changing his name to get his daughter’s name.’
In today’s modern age, excellence has been the legacy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes adopted several new technologies over time, such as fuel injection and anti-lock braking systems. In 1980, Mercedes built the world’s first robot car. Thus excellence and innovation have become synonymous with the company. Today, Mercedes is famous for its expensive, reliable, and fast cars all over the world. Mercedes-Benz has become synonymous for glamour and prestige today.