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Mercedes Head of Design Professor Peter Pfeiffer to Retire in Mid-2008

March 27th, 2008


Stuttgart - After forty years of service with the company, chief Mercedes designer, Professor Peter Pfeiffer, will retire in 2008 at the age of 65. He headed the globally active design division of Mercedes-Benz since April 1999. In this capacity, he was responsible for designing the passenger cars and commercial vehicles of the Stuttgart automotive brand. Pfeiffer will be succeeded by Gorden Wagener (39), who currently heads the Strategic Advanced Design department and as such acts as the director of the Mercedes design studios in California and Japan.

“Under Professor Peter Pfeiffer, design became a Mercedes-Benz trademark more than ever before and contributed to the brand’s success”, said Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management, in recognition of the work of the Mercedes chief designer.

“In translating the current Mercedes design concept into forms, Peter Pfeiffer gave our automobiles their future-oriented appearance, and in this way defined the new image of the Mercedes-Benz brand.”

Professor Peter Pfeiffer is responsible for the design of the Mercedes models currently on the market, the luxury limousine Maybach and the smart fortwo city coupé.

In 2005, he and his team realised a new design style that first went into series production with the S-Class. The style is based on the rules of modern purism, which allow for the interplay of large, even surfaces with sharp lines thus accentuating the clarity of the vehicle form.

“Good design is not only about creating beautiful and fascinating individual products. It is also about more exactly defining the automobiles’ nature”, says Peter Pfeiffer.

“In using this new design style, we underline the typical features of today’s Mercedes models – for example, confidence, definitely a trait distinguishing our technically sophisticated vehicles”.

Besides the S-Class, the CL-Class coupé, the new C-Class, the new generation of the SL sports car as well as the entire SUV family all speak the same Mercedes design language.

Another demand has always defined the work of the Mercedes Head of Design: combining tradition and innovation to achieve a harmonious whole. Without concealing the origins of the vehicles manufactured by the traditional auto manufacturer, Peter Pfeiffer successfully combined familiar stylistic elements of the brand with new ideas, in this way continuously developing the design further.

This attention to detail kept the design language and the brand’s image alive, innovative and dynamic while also making it unique.

“A Mercedes-Benz car will always be recognizable as a Mercedes-Benz. Its design combines continuity and creativity, tradition and modern features. These are the foundations on which the Mercedes models’ style will continue to be valued for its elegance over long periods, and the reason why many of our cars have become such coveted classics”, is how Peter Pfeiffer describes the strategy developed for the long term that does not allow for any short-lived fads or trends.

As Pfeiffer puts it, “What has always been decisive for the design of Mercedes cars, and this will certainly not change, is that we don’t want to follow fashion, we want to be modern”.

Awards for excellent design work and personal commitment

The Mercedes models developed under the direction of Peter Pfeiffer have received dozens of design awards in Germany and abroad. In the summer of 2003, Peter Pfeiffer received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his exceptional contribution to the field of automotive design. In the fall of 2004, he was awarded an honorary professorship by the University of Arts and Design in Budapest in recognition of his commitment to promoting young designers.

In late 2007, the German Design Council elected Peter Pfeiffer as its new president. In his acceptance speech before the committee made up of other high-ranking designers, Pfeiffer underscored that he intends to continue strengthening the relevance of design as regards its innovative power and its role in the economy.

As the new president of the German competence centre for design, Pfeiffer noted that design is an important factor in sharpening any product’s or brand’s profile in international competition.

Peter Pfeiffer was born in 1943 in Dallwitz near Karlsbad (today, Karlovy Vary). After completing his professional training at the Staatliche Höhere Fachschule für Porzellan (Technical College for the Porcelain Industry) in Selb from 1960 until 1963, he began his career as a designer with Ford-Werke AG in 1963.

Five years later, he entered the Daimler-Benz group in 1968, becoming head of the department “Design PKW und NFZ” (Passenger Car and Commercial Vehicle Design) in 1978. In 1999, Peter Pfeiffer succeeded Bruno Sacco at the helm of the design division of Mercedes-Benz and was appointed Senior Vice President Design in 2000.

Gorden Wagener to become New Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz

From mid-2008 onwards, Gorden Wagener is to head the globally active design division of Mercedes-Benz.

The leading designer, aged 39, is to succeed Professor Peter Pfeiffer.

Currently, Gorden Wagener heads the Strategic Advanced Design department and as such acts as director of the Mercedes design studios in California and Japan.

“Gorden Wagener will continue the successful work of Professor Peter Pfeiffer. He was involved to a considerable degree in developing the design of the passenger car models currently on the market, and will lead the Mercedes design into the future with his new and creative ideas”, said Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management.

Gorden Wagener has worked for Mercedes-Benz since 1997. As head of the Advanced Design department, Wagener is among the pioneers within the Stuttgart automotive brand who develop future vehicle concepts and work towards the realisation of new design strategies.

Wagener and his team showcased their ideas for the premium automobile of the future with their much-noted research vehicle F 700, which was presented by Mercedes-Benz in the fall of 2007.

The incumbent Mercedes Head of Design studied Industrial Design at the University of Essen in Germany and later focussed on Transportation Design at the Royal College of Art in London.

He began his career as Exterior Designer in 1995, and joined Mercedes-Benz in Sindelfingen two years later.

In 1999, he became head of the Exterior / Interior Styling department, designing the models of the GL-, M- and R-Class with his team. In 2002, Wagener was responsible for the design of the models making up the A-, B-, C-, E-, CLK- and CLS-Class cars.

Since 2006, the talented designer has been directing the Advanced Design department and acted as director of the Mercedes design studios in California and Japan. He was appointed as head of Strategic Advanced Design in 2007. Gorden Wagener was born on September 3rd, 1968 in Essen.

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