Revelation: the GLA has become more striking and even more exciting.
You all work for Mercedes-Benz and you all played a key role in promoting the new GLA’s success. So there’s one thing we really want to know: what does it feel like to be one of the first to set eyes on the finished product here in the studio?
Sonja Hambloch: As a salesperson, my first encounter with a new model is normally on the day it arrives at our dealership. I love it. It’s really got the look of a sports car!
Andreas Rommel: I’ve been part of the car’s development from day one – I’ve watched it come to life. So for me this is a very special moment indeed. We start the development process with a small-scale model, tinkering away at it, trying things out and discussing ideas. Then, based on our findings, we make the final decisions and implement the corresponding steps. This process can take six to eight years for an entirely new model. Revamps don’t take as long, of course, but it’s still incredibly satisfying to see the finished model standing here today in all its glory.
Robert Höschele: Andreas, I only have one thing to say: Wow! My compliments.
Lisa Oremek: I love the design too.
Robert Höschele: The car has a more modern, more dynamic aesthetic. I can’t tell you exactly why, though. What changes have you made?
Philip Fischer: Firstly, the new headlamps. They’re one of the bigger changes. The taillights are new too. Then there’s the front section with its twin-blade, triple-louvre radiator grille. Essentially, the car is a consummate combination of A-Class sportiness and B-Class versatility, but within its very own design.
Andreas Rommel: That’s right. Within the compact vehicle sector, this car has no equal. The GLA’s sportiness combined with its unmistakable SUV features is something quite unique. As a developer, this fills me with pride.
Presenting the GLA.
Andreas RommelProject Manager Exterior Design, 26, Sindelfingen
Sonja HamblochCar Sales Representative, 31, Düsseldorf
Joachim StarckDeputy Master Auto Paint Specialist, 48, Rastatt
Lisa OremekApprentice, 21, Rastatt
Philip FischerProduct Manager, 25, Stuttgart
Robert HöscheleApprenticeship Program Supervisor, 33, Rastatt
Representative for the profession, versatile for leisure.
Sonja, you are an accomplished car salesperson. When you see a new model for the first time, can you immediately see what aspects buyers will find attractive?
Sonja Hambloch: Yes, I think so. Here it’s likely to be the high sitting position and the quintessential GLA feeling that this car offers, as Mercedes-Benz’s most compact SUV. I already have a pretty good idea of who will fall for this car at first sight.
Sonja Hambloch: Absolutely! It’ll be anyone looking for a high-end vehicle that not only makes a great first impression in a professional way, but that is agile and versatile – for recreation. I’m thinking, for instance, of young working mothers who have a real sense of style.
The driving experience suits this generation.
Philip, Mercedes-Benz sees the GLA as an ideal car for young adults. What is this age group likely to find especially appealing about the car?
Philip Fischer: The driving experience that the GLA offers suits this generation, as do the car’s technical features. The LED lights, for instance, are a real treat for the eyes during nighttime driving. You can cruise along at night and the road ahead is as bright as day. Amazing. What’s more, it’s the first car in the compact vehicle segment to include a 360-degree surround-view camera. This gives you bird’s-eye view of the car and the direction it’s heading in.
Joachim Starck: I didn’t know that. That’s impressive! Philip Fischer: Up until now, you only found these features in the C-Class upwards. Another practical new feature is the hands-free boot access, which you just press gently with your foot to activate.
Andreas, you’re a qualified model maker, and the only representative from the Design team here today. Tell us, did you like playing with cars as a child?
Andreas Rommel: Not so much with cars, but I was keen on manual work from a very young age and helped out a lot at home. My dad is a caretaker. So it’s not too surprising that my first professional qualification was as a model maker. The role involves working with a lot of different materials, like wood and metal. After completing my training, I worked as a model maker in the Design department. Those were great times.
Were? You’re only 26. How long have you worked for Mercedes-Benz?
Andreas Rommel: Since I was 15.
And how did you become part of the Exterior Design team?
Andreas Rommel: I wanted to do more, advance further. So I did a degree in industrial engineering. I’ve been part of the team since 2015.
Sensational to look at.
Joachim, you’re responsible for ensuring perfect paintwork on all new cars leaving the plant in Rastatt. In your opinion, what’s the most beautiful Mercedes ever built?
Joachim Starck: That’s very easy: the Mercedes-AMG GT. It’s sensational to look at. I’ve never driven one though, unfortunately.
Robert, in your role you pass your expertise on to colleagues and familiarise them with new work processes. How would you describe the Mercedes-Benz family?
Robert Höschele: Keeping employees motivated is what’s most important in my role. My goal is to inspire a sense of pride in them. And I want our customers to come away knowing that, for the amount of money they’ve spent, there is no better car in the whole world.
I want to see them filled with delight. Making sure that this is the case is what our job at the plant is all about, day in, day out.
Lisa, you’re the youngest here and currently in the third year of your apprenticeship. Your exams are in the summer. During a break earlier today, you told us that your grandfather worked for Mercedes-Benz. How did your relatives react when they heard you were continuing this family tradition?
Lisa Oremek: They were completely surprised. None of them had expected me to follow in the footsteps of both my granddads.
Lisa Oremek: Both of them worked for Daimler. So everyone was really excited when I announced I was joining the company. My younger brother also applied for an apprenticeship here and was accepted. So excitement in the family is now huge.
Robert Höschele: I know the feeling. I remember the plant in Rastatt being built and my father taking up a job there when I was a young boy. So it was only natural for me to dream of getting a job there. And I secretly hope that my kids will also continue this tradition some day.
Joachim Starck: When I started at Daimler in 1997, my boss said to me: “You don’t need any fancy titles here. Work hard, show what you’re made of, perhaps do a little bit more than the others, and you’ll be able to forge your own path.” I followed his advice and it paid off. He was right. Today I am a master tradesman.
Thank you all very much for your time and input!