Luxury automotive brand Mercedes-Benz is known to be contemplating a further shift to aluminium in a bid to shed more weight in its next-generation of Merc-Benz C Class models.
With more aluminium in body and frames and advanced new joining processes installed into its U.S. manufacturing plant, the car maker intends to make its new offering much lighter, faster and fuel-efficient while reducing carbon dioxide emissions significantly.
In a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City in Michigan on Monday, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International CEO Jason Hoff said that the next C class will use advanced joining technologies, including steel welded to aluminium. The car could also get increased use of laser welding, riveting and bonding.
Hoff dropped a hint that the new luxury sedan will likely debut around 2020.
With the upcoming C-Class, Mercedes Benz will be joining the league of premium automakers such as Honda and General Motors who are already welding steel to aluminium.
The emerging aluminium-steel welding processes are part of an elaborate technological restructuring that requires companies to do significant retooling at their factories to make them work.
Mercedes spent $1.3 billion to upgrade its Alabama assembly plant to manufacture the C class there in late 2014. The current C Class, which was last redesigned in late 2014, weighs between 3,417 and 4,057 pounds, depending on options.