Fifty years ago, Mercedes-AMG began as an independent racing and tuning contractor for Mercedes-Benz. Today, the company is synonymous with high-performance vehicles.
Mercedes-AMG is self-contained, responsible for all aspects of the vehicles they produce. Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher founded AMG in 1967. The name is derived from their names and Aufrecht’s birthplace, Grossaspach.
In its early life, AMG concentrated on building race cars and competing in European touring races. In 1971, AMG took a surprise victory in a 24-hour race in Belgium, finishing second place. This victory served as the springboard for setting new track records that continue up to today.
AMG’s success spread beyond motorsports. In the 1970s, AMG began offering high-performance tuning and customization for Mercedes-Benz customers. The company built its reputation on developing impressive technology and first-class quality.
AMG rapidly became the world’s premiere Mercedes-Benz “tuner.” In the 70s and 80s, AMG developed select and exclusive high-performance Mercedes-Benz coupes and sedans. These incorporated high-power Mercedes-Benz engines and race-proven specifications for fully developed high-performance packages.
Demand for high-performance Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles in the 1970s led to an increase in the orders received by AMG. They outgrew their facility and moved to Affalterbach in 1978. In 1985, AMG opened a second factory, had 100 employees, and was attracting international buyers. As an industry trendsetter, AMG was committed to being a leader in both technology and design.
AMG Comes to America
AMG cars were not available in the U.S. until 1995, but their products had already made their way into the American press. The company signed an agreement with DaimlerChrysler AG in 1990 marking a milestone for AMG. Now, AMG products could be sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers in international markets. They opened their third factory in 1990 and increased their workforce to 400 employees.
In 1993, AMG unveiled the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG, backed by a full warranty and service. Initial demand was limited to just 1,000 cars over three years. But U.S. interest in AMG increased steadily, with sales reaching 7,500 units by 2001. By 2002, AMG offered the top performance Mercedes-Benz cars in every model line.
In 1999, Aufrecht sold his controlling shares, and the company became DaimlerChrysler AG. This allowed the organization to benefit from DCAG’s resources and international presence. Expansion of Mercedes-AMG’s product line was supported by new production facilities and showrooms at the Affalterbach plant which became operational in 2003. This doubled the space to 426,000 square feet. Today, Mercedes-AMG employs over 600 workers.
One Man, One Engine
Mercedes-AMG’s philosophy of “one man, one engine” means a single technician is completely responsible for the full assembly of an AMG high-performance engine. Each engine is individually tested and moved into storage. Flexible manufacturing allows the company to adjust to changes in demand. A digital data management system constantly optimizes their inventory.
The 8,000-square-foot showroom in Affalterbach hosts international customers and eight display AMG models. Huge vehicle images displayed on the building identify the new showroom and also function as a heat shield for the occupants of the building.
AMG Racing Success
1980: First Place: European Touring Car Championship Grand Prix at Nürburgring
1986: Two Victories: German Touring Car Championship
1988: Four Wins: German Touring Car Championship
1989: Seven Wins with the AMG Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution I
1990: Premiere of the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II
1991: Top team standings, Takes manufacturers’ title
1992: Takes the team honors and manufacturers’ crown
1993: Runner-up: DTM
1994: First Place: DTM
1995: First Place: DTM Championship
1996: Second Place: ITC
1997: FIA GT Championship Title
1998: 11 First Place Victories: FIA-GT Series
2000: Championship Title: German Touring Car Masters Series
2001: Championship Title: German Touring Car Masters Series
2002: Alesi joins Team AMG Mercedes after 200 Grand Prix races
2003: Driver’s Championship: DTM series
2004: Runner-up: DTM Driver Championship
2005: Contender for the Championship
The AMG Safety Car
Mercedes-AMG provided the Formula 1 World Championship official safety car in 2003. Formula One’s current safety car is the SLK55 AMG Roadster. AMG also took part as a team sponsor in international polo. The motorsports department was absorbed into Hans-Werner Aufrecht’s new firm, H.W.A, in 1999 with 170 employees working with Mercedes-Benz Motorsport to manufacture racing cars.