Mercedes Next Generation C Class to Shed More Weight

The next generation of the Mercedes-Benz C class is likely to shed weight as Mercedes adds more aluminum and uses advanced new joining processes installed into its U.S. manufacturing plant.

Details are sketchy, but in a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars here Monday, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International CEO Jason Hoff dropped some hints that the next C class — due possibly around 2020 — will use advanced joining technologies, including steel welded to aluminum.

Two other automakers — Honda and General Motors — are welding steel to aluminum. But Honda and GM use different welding systems for steel and aluminum.

Aluminum content has been growing as more automakers use the lightweight sheet metal for doors, hoods, trunk lids and other nonstructural components. The body and bed of the Ford F-150 is made entirely of aluminum. It is held together with a variety of rivets, screws and glue.

The Cadillac CT6 has a steel bracket in its seat frame that is welded to aluminum, while Honda welds steel to aluminum on part of the subframe on the Accord.

The current C class, which was last redesigned in late 2014, weighs between 3,417 and 4,057 pounds, depending on options. But the aluminum-intensive Cadillac CT6, which has a wheelbase that is 11 inches longer, weighs between 3,647 and 4,385 pounds.

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