The speed of innovation is so fast that you have to use every launch of a new model to roll stuff out,” Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars told Reuters on the sidelines of an event to launch the new E-Class at the Detroit Auto Show.
The shift reflects intense pressure on automakers to keep their model lineups on the technological edge, especially to compete for younger customers. Another sign: features that can be updated with software, a tactic used often by Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla Motors and likely to spread across the industry.
Mercedes plans similar software updates and is moving aggressively to update its hardware as well. It has cut the time it takes to produce a prototype to 10 months from 18 months, in part through the use of digital prototypes. Aerodynamic testing, for example, is done largely with simulation software, cutting development time in a wind tunnel.