28 May 2015: Visit to Mercedes-Benz & O Trilho
An enthusiastic and inquisitive group of Royal British Club Members enjoyed a visit to the impressive showrooms and workshops of Mercedes-Benz Portugal, S.A. at Abrunheira, near Sintra on Thursday 28th May.
We were welcomed at their impressive showrooms, just outside Sintra, by the Marketing and Communications Director, André Silveira. Ample time was allowed for Members to consider the quality of current models on display which ranged from the sporty AMG GT superfast models, through from the mid range of B & C Class saloons and shooting-brakes to the modest, but impressive, range of Smart cars. Clearly there was much to tempt those with deep pockets and an eye for a classic mode of transport.
André brought us back to reality by presenting two models of car that have supported the Mercedes-Benz name in the world of sport over many decades.
Firstly, in the world of the Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz has featured as one of the leading manufacturers and currently lead the World Championships for manufacturing and driving. The investment in these racing cars leads to innovation and creation that eventually works its way through to the family saloon is considerable and brings enormous safety and comfort benefits to the ordinary driver. Secondly, and although not as successful as the formula 1 team, the Rally racing also enhances the development knowledge of the company.
Moving on to the Historical section, Jörg Heinermann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Portugal, joined the group and gave an outline of how the company started. He explained that the motor car was really just a horse carriage with the horse taken away and an engine inserted in its place. Tracing its origins back to Karl Benz’s Motorwagon in 1886 the company has continued to develop into one of the three best selling luxury automakers in the world.
Several other models showed the development of the Mercedes-Benz cars through the years from cars that looked like carriages to saloons that were classics of the 20th Century.
Leaving the historical section we were guided through the immaculately kept workshops where the really complicated engineering was being carried out. Luxury sports cars and saloons were being serviced in clean, well organised and well ventilated workshops where every modern facility was provided.
Finally, we reached the servicing and restoration section of the historical vehicles. Here the old fashioned screwdriver and spanner were at work but the standard produced continued to be of the highest level.
Thus ended our tour which had been fascinating and enlightening and creating as many questions at the end as we asked at the beginning. Our grateful thanks go to Mercedes-Benz Portugal for their time and for showing us the backroom of their skillful team.
After the tour the Members retired to O Trilho at Abrunheira, for a convivial lunch where it was announced that the next planned visit by the RBC is to a Cork Factory in the Alentejo on 18th June.