STUTTGART -- Daimler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company, is overhauling its product development organization, changing the structure of the organization and the responsibilities of several executives.
Product development chief Thomas Weber said the goals are to expand model offerings; develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles; cut carbon dioxide emissions; execute Mercedes' design strategy; and improve vehicle connectivity.
He said the realignment will make processes more efficient, create synergies, accelerate innovation and improve quality.
Daimler's product group managers are now aligned with segments.
-- Uwe Ernstberger heads sports cars and the large Mercedes-Benz model lines with rear- and all-wheel drive.
-- Michael Kraemer is product group chief for the C and E class and their variants.
-- Joerg Prigl is in charge of the newly established New Compact Car Group and its offshoots. The group includes new generations of the A class and B class as well as a compact SUV and coupe.
Five r&d divisions cutting across segments are allotted to the three product group chiefs in a matrix arrangement.
Stephan Wolfsried will lead the newly consolidated Vehicle Functions and Chassis division. It handles normal production and preliminary development issues relating to chassis and driver assistance systems, active safety, aerodynamics, as well as noise, vibration and harshness.
Thomas Merker is taking over Body, Safety and Telematics from Ulrich Mellinghoff, who is retiring. Bernhard Heil will continue to head the powertrain area.
Herbert Kohler will be in charge of two previously separate research areas, Corporate Research and Sustainability, which are now consolidated.
Harald Kroeger, former chief of quality management for Mercedes-Benz Cars, is now head of the newly created e-Drive & Electric/Electronics area. These functions had been in separate research areas.
Eike Boehm is taking over as global quality chief. In October, he took charge of Research and Advanced Development Electronic Systems and Safety and had earlier been development chief at Mercedes' Japanese partner Fuso.
As head of quality activities, Boehm reports to production and purchasing chief Wolfgang Bernhard.
Gorden Wagener continues in charge of design for all model lines, including vans and trucks.