Ola Kaellenius, head of r&d at Mercedes-Benz Cars, sat down with reporters at the launch of the updated S class and covered topics ranging from the return of the Mercedes inline-six to robot taxis to the coming of autonomy to the staying power of V-12s.
The X class, Mercedes' first pickup, will hit dealerships in Germany starting in November and will then be rolled out to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in 2018 and Latin America the following year. There are no plans for the U.S.
Daimler has struck a deal with workers to make EV components and batteries at a Mercedes factory in Germany. Employees at the Untertuerkheim plant went on strike this month over worries that jobs could be at risk as the automaker moves toward EVs.
Mercedes' registrations rose 11 percent to 209,309 in June as demand for the new E class and the German automaker's SUVs helped widen its global luxury-car sales lead over BMW in the first half of the year.
The Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E class and Toyota Avalon earned top honors among six large cars tested for crashworthiness by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Tesla Model S fell short in some tests.