Vehicles with Mercedes-Benz design are already unmistakable on water, on land and in the air. Now, Mercedes-Benz design will also be available for the golf courses. As a "real sports car", the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car authentically transfers the unmistakable Mercedes-Benz automobile design idiom of sensual purity to a premium-class golf cart. The showcar is the result of a cooperation between Mercedes-Benz designers, Daimler's Think & Act Tank Business Innovation and the well-known golf cart manufacturer Garia.
The Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car defines a new class of transport
for the golf course. Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG: "We have reinvented the world of the golf cart with our Mercedes-Benz Golf Car.
Mercedes-Benz stands for modern luxury, and golf is an authentic part of that theme. Transferring our automotive design idiom to the Golf Car is therefore something quite natural, and in doing so we have created a product that is both sensual and pure."
Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars: "With the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car we are offering a high-end golf cart which is absolutely unique and was specifically developed for sporting golfers and the sport they enjoy." Our communication bears the lighthearted slogan "a real sports car".
For decades there was no evolutionary process at all
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz called upon golf and automobile fans from around the world to submit their ideas for a Mercedes-Benz golf cart of the future. While golf has developed into a premium sport with a modern face, golf carts have remained almost unchanged for decades. The numerous submissions showed the need for an updated golf cart that reflects modern times. This in turn meant that the golf cart needed to go through a long overdue evolutionary stage spanning several decades. Using modern technology, it was to be tailored to the needs of golfers, accompany current developments in the golf scene with a modern and sophisticated interpretation of luxury, lifestyle and practicality, and feature a bold, intelligent avantgarde design as a clear sign of change.
The best submissions in the design competition were the starting signal for the development of the new Golf Car under the Mercedes-Benz Style label. This is the label under which Mercedes-Benz Style designers create products for aspects of life beyond the automobile. The technical basis for the development of the Golf Car was contributed by golf cart manufacturer Garia. The underlying business model was developed by Daimler's Think & Act Tank Business Innovation. Susanne Hahn, head of Daimler Business Innovation, explains: "We brought all the relevant project partners around a table – our designers and the golf cart manufacturer Garia, who in a possible pilot stage to come will be responsible for sales, production and development. We ourselves will manage and coordinate the various pilot phases with the in-house and external partners."
Hot and cool – like the automobiles from Mercedes-Benz
The formal basis for the design of the Golf Car is the same unmistakable design idiom that makes Mercedes-Benz design stand out as a definition of modern luxury. The aim of this design idiom is to create beautiful and intelligent products that are hot and cool.
The first conceptual phase already took into account that golf carts need to have certain characteristic features in view of the available space on golf courses. They must be narrower and shorter, but also higher than conventional automobiles. The front and rear overhangs must be very short in the interests of interior spaciousness within a compact overall length. The unusual proportions that resulted are still harmonious thanks to the design expertise of Mercedes-Benz Style. The designers have also been able to blend the exterior and interior into a formal unit.
Sporty and well-balanced
As a showcar, the new Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car immediately appears distinctly different from conventional golf carts. The driver and passenger have a view through a large, curved windscreen. The carbon-fibre roof is different in colour and form from the base vehicle. With its short front and rear overhangs, it somewhat resembles a sporty baseball cap. The effect is to make the vehicle look low and more sporty.
The sporty impression is heightened by a small rear spoiler that acts as a golf bag holder while being fully integrated into the overall design as a significant feature. It is constructed to accommodate two golf bags slanted rearwards. This slanted position allows golf clubs to be conveniently taken out and replaced. A carbon-fibre diffuser rounds out the lower rear end as a lighthearted reference to the vehicle's character as a "real sports car". The bench seat has a sculptured, inviting look like a lounge chair, and blends in with the exterior design to provide a sensual experience.
Other examples of intelligent and useful details: There is a refrigerator under the bench seat, and a storage tray under the dashboard holds golf balls aligned in a row. Bottle holders on the instrument panel support and on the passenger side provide space for glasses and bottles.
The pedals are another attractive detail. The right pedal has a plus sign, the left a minus sign, a reference to Garia. In a both practical and charming way, they thereby indicate their functions as accelerator and brake in this electrically powered vehicle.
Perfectly networked from tee to green
An integrated onboard touchpad with a screen diagonal of 10.1 inches and a high resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels shows graphically enhanced vehicle information in the smaller, upper area – for example the remaining range, vehicle speed, current power consumption or parking brake status. Many functions can be controlled at the touch of a finger, including the driving mode 'sport' or 'eco', the headlamps, windscreen heater, wipers and many more.
On the large screen area beneath this, the occupants can display the layout of the golf course and their current position, or if desired activate an electronic score card. The sophisticated graphic design is derived from the latest Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
A hands-free system with Bluetooth® connection and hi-fi speakers integrated into the rear roof frame strut ensure that also on the fairway, the occupants are connected and able to listen to music from their smartphone. Those who wish to can take a look at a weather app, or order refreshments for delivery to the green. There are also plans to make the contents of a personal smartphone transferable to the touchscreen of the Golf Car for internet access and additional functionality.
High-quality materials and color concept
Stimulating contrasts between soft and harder materials are also typical of Mercedes-Benz. For example, the instrument panel support has a painted upper section and is leather-lined in the lower section. The color and materials concept has stimulating and surprising highlights with sporty carbon-fibre, sensual wood decor and high-quality, light-colored leather. Carefully finished to a high standard, the choice of materials confirms the high-quality character of the Golf Car. Metallic features shimmer elegantly in modern silvershadow. The steering wheel literally makes dramatic material contrasts tangible: lined in white leather, its lower section features a metal clasp in silvershadow.
The grille with an air intake slot reinforces the intentional allusion to an automobile. It creates associations with familiar Mercedes-Benz radiator grille designs, and its golf ball structure makes the vehicle's purpose clear. Below it, the front section ends in an underbody protection panel, which visually symbolizes suitability for use on the unmetalled surfaces of a golf course.
The 5-spoke wheels with high-sheen twin flanges and black-painted surfaces between them are also heavily reminiscent of the dynamism for which Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are known.
All or nothing
In addition to a sensual, purist design idiom, a holistic overall appearance is one of the major attributes of Mercedes-Benz design. In other words, all details must come together to form a harmonious whole at a high level when viewed from any angle. The designers intentionally created every small detail from scratch. This includes the rear lights and the modern headlamps, whose striking graphics provide a recognition factor for Mercedes-Benz. They lend a face and character to the Golf Car. The headlamps use LED technology, ensuring good visibility in the event of sudden inclement weather or darkness.
Noble origin with a future
The Golf Car self-assuredly declares its origin with the label "Mercedes-Benz Style". This embellishes the side sill panels and the wide lounge chair on which the occupants sit. In addition, it is prominently engraved in the rear spoiler and takes the form of a badge on the arched trim section of the instrument panel support. The front section and steering wheel bear the Garia logo, and the rear end has prominent Garia lettering.
Range of up to 50 miles (80 kilometres)
In technical terms, the Golf Car has unique features that even make approval for on-road use possible in the USA. To this end, it is equipped with all the necessary features such as direction indicators, headlamps and rear lights.
A double wishbone suspension typical of sports cars ensures comfortable driving characteristics and light, precise handling on all surfaces. This also gives the compact Golf Car (length 92.5 inches, width of 47.2 inches and height 67.7 inches) a tight turning circle of 17 feet. The Golf Car drives extremely smoothly both on the golf course and on the road.
The electric motor of the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car has an output of three kilowatts, but can also make up to eleven kilowatts available for short periods. This is enough to provide the 970-pound (440-kilogram) vehicle with its permissible payload of up to 1014 pounds (460 kilograms) sporty acceleration, with a governed top speed of 19 mph (30 km/h) and a range of up to 50 miles (80 kilometres). The charging time for the lithium-ion battery is six hours. The vehicle is braked by front disc brakes.
Garia is initially building two driveable examples of the showcar. The reactions of the market and potential customers will be incorporated into any series production. This progressive Golf Car is to be mainly sold via digital channels. Susanne Hahn: "The vehicle can be experienced absolutely virtually. This means that wherever customers are in a dealership or on a golf course they can look at the vehicle on a tablet and order it with three clicks."
More information about the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car is available at http://arealsportscar.com
Committed partners for over 30 years
The Mercedes-Benz brand is associated with international golf in many ways, and shares the same values.
Mercedes-Benz has been active in the professional golfing world since the 1980s. From 2008 to 2013 Mercedes-Benz was an international partner of the world's most prestigious golf tournament, the Masters in Augusta, and has been one of three global sponsors since 2014.
As a result of its partnership with the PGA of America, since 2009 Mercedes-Benz has been the "Official Vehicle" and "Official Patron" of the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup when it takes place in the USA.
In 2011, Mercedes-Benz's involvement with golf was further expanded through a partnership with the oldest but most innovative golf tournament in the world, as the "Official Car" and "Official Patron" for the Open Championship. With the "Drive to the Major" competition, Mercedes-Benz combines the international MercedesTrophy Premium tournament series for amateurs with the professional golf of the Open, and gives golfers the unique opportunity to experience this tournament. The participants in the "Drive to the Major" can qualify themselves for the Monday After event directly after the Open, which takes place on the same course where just the day before, the world's best golfers were battling for the Claret Jug. The competition is the only way a starting place in this exclusive event can be secured.
In amateur golf the 2016 MercedesTrophy in now in its 27th year. The MercedesTrophy is a worldwide invitation tournament for amateurs, in which 60,000 golfers from over 60 countries compete with each other every year. The final round of the tournament is the MercedesTrophy World Final in the fall, when the best team and best individual players will be chosen in Stuttgart while also obtaining exclusive insight into the world of Mercedes-Benz. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz supports a long list of other tournaments around the world for both amateurs and professionals.
The golfing commitment by Mercedes-Benz primarily serves to define the brand image, build up close customer loyalty and provide a platform for attracting customers. The qualities exhibited in golf are also reflected in the products of Mercedes-Benz – e.g. the brand values of emotion and intelligence. As a brand, Mercedes-Benz seeks close contact with customers and is part of their lifestyle. When deciding on its sponsoring activities, Mercedes-Benz always looks for long-term partnerships and a high affinity between the brand, the sporting discipline and the target groups. Only in this way can a credible commitment be ensured.
Design that goes beyond the car
The Mercedes-Benz brand attaches great importance to design. Under the label Mercedes-Benz Style, it also makes the modern luxury for which the brand is known tangible beyond the world of the automobile.
Since 2010, in addition to classic automobile design, Mercedes-Benz designers have also created the designs for other products in cooperation with selected partners under the label Mercedes-Benz Style. The aim is to transfer the unmistakable design idiom of sensual purity and high standards of luxury and aesthetic appeal plus the brand's technological leadership to other spheres of life. All products designed by Mercedes-Benz Style have the appealing and intelligent design that is the hallmark of the brand, as well as uncompromising quality and a choice of fine materials finished to perfection. The portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Style includes products from the areas of mobility, lifestyle, sport and interior design.
Mercedes-Benz Style lifts off with a helicopter
In 2011, the Airbus Helicopters "H145 Mercedes-Benz Style" lifted off as the first mobility product beyond the automobile. The interior, which excels with exceptional variability and exquisite materials, was created by Mercedes designers. The opulent interior design is unmistakably inspired by luxurious Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Comfortable seats, floors and ceilings panelled in exotic wood featuring beautiful lighting – many features echo the exquisite appointments of premium Mercedes-Benz products. All the seats are mounted on rails and can be positioned in various arrangements for four to eight people, or completely removed. The "H145 Mercedes-Benz Style" is tailor-made for luxurious business and private travel.
The Silver Arrow of the seas
Like no other design discipline, automobile design combines inspiring and emotional forms with aspects such as functionality and ergonomics. This is what the Mercedes-Benz designers at Mercedes-Benz Style have transferred to boat design. In 2016, Mercedes-Benz founded a completely new boat design concept with the maiden voyage of the Mercedes-Benz Style luxury yacht "ARROW460–Granturismo". The 46-foot, 960 hp "Silver Arrow of the Seas" combines the performance of the famous Mercedes-Benz sports cars with unique innovations from the boat industry. With its long foredeck, a flowing, arched roofline and a slightly descending rear, the yacht has classic automobile proportions. The side wall is structured by a feature line descending gently towards the stern. The concave and convex interaction along the entire flank creates a highly sculptural hull that conveys both dynamism and serenity. In this way the yacht brings the typical Mercedes design idiom of sensual purity onto the water in a highly emotional and dynamic form.
State-of-the-art luxury high above the clouds
At present, the designers are working together with Lufthansa engineers to create a completely new and luxurious cabin concept for short and medium-range aircraft. The classic division between the ceiling, walls and floor is blurred by a dynamic, spiralling division of space. This gives rise to new, independent spatial zones without the typical arrangement of seat and wall elements. The new sense of space is additionally reinforced by Mercedes's typically strong emphasis on contrast in terms of material, colour and lighting. The kickstarter for this cooperation was Daimler Business Innovation.
Beyond car also means beyond mobility
Since 2015, the label has cooperated with the Frasers Hospitality Group, an internationally leading provider of luxury apartments and associated services. Mercedes-Benz designers have fitted out six apartments in London and nine in Singapore, which can be booked at Mercedes-Benz Living @Fraser. Here too, coordination and the business model were under the aegis of Daimler Business Innovation.
With this move, the premium automotive brand is looking to translate its expertise in cutting-edge design, innovative technologies and integrated transport solutions to the serviced apartment sector. People will be able to experience the 'modern luxury' for which Mercedes is renowned even when they're not on the road. Inspired by the interiors of the company's current vehicle range, the team at Mercedes-Benz Style designed the appointments of the 50 to 100m² apartments together with experts in hospitality decor. The interior design concept adheres steadfastly to the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity.
In addition, the designers at Mercedes-Benz Style have developed the futuristic "Ameluna" hanging lamp together with the Italian lighting design company Artemide. With its visually sophisticated combination of clear contours, sensual surfaces and intelligent high-tech, it perfectly embodies the Mercedes-Benz design idiom of sensual purity. A separate light source is also available for the high-end variant, which lights up the body of the lamp in the selection of colours familiar from the ambient lighting in Mercedes cars. "Ameluna" is controlled via an app. It was presented at the Light + Building exhibition in Frankfurt/Main in March 2016, and at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
Interview with Gorden Wagener
"Our golf car stands for modern luxury"
From your point of view, what is it that makes Mercedes-Benz vehicle design so successful?
Our design is hot and cool. Our design philosophy of sensual purity combines beauty with intelligence, defining the modern luxury for which the Mercedes-Benz brand stands.
How does your design philosophy of sensual purity manifest itself in the Golf Car?
Transferring our automotive design idiom to the Golf Car was something quite natural, and in doing so we have created a product that is both sensual and pure.
A very emotional and sensual form combined with intelligent technical details. One example is the tablet, which allows the occupants access to all the necessary information.
What is your favourite feature of the Golf Car?
That is difficult to say. For me the Golf Car is an overall composition with which we have reinvented the world of the golf cart. Everything fits together, the proportions, the surfaces, the headlamps, the interior, the details. In the interior we have created something of a mobile lounge, with a new, interactive design on a touchpad where I can run both my golf software and the vehicle software.
What does the concept of modern luxury have to do with the Golf Car?
Mercedes-Benz stands for modern luxury, and golf is an authentic part of that theme. It is a very active sport, but also very luxurious.
What do you think of the 2013 design competition?
We received a phenomenal response to this competition for the design of a golf cart - quite wonderful suggestions, proposals and designs. This was the starting gun for this project, so to speak, and logical in terms of the relationship between Mercedes-Benz as a vehicle manufacturer and our commitment to golf. And we have managed to reinvent the golf cart as the Golf Car.
Interview with Susanne Hahn
"Ideas for the future"
What is the role of Daimler Business Innovation?
Daimler Business Innovation is Daimler's in-house think & act tank. This means that we not only think about future business models outside our core business, we also turn them into reality. In doing so we can try out ideas and work together with startups we consider to be promising. We are active throughout the group.
What is the culture at Daimler Business Innovation compared to the group as a whole?
A very open, innovative culture is a basic requirement for our work. Our cross-divisional, international team has a wealth of experience in a variety of areas. This makes us able to develop and assess ideas from different standpoints. To some extent our team is a microcosm of the large Daimler corporation. It means that we can implement projects more rapidly. To put it another way: we are the group's "speedboat".
How many ideas actually come to fruition?
A maximum of one out of twenty or so ideas. As a first step we test our ideas in the form of pilot projects. Naturally things can sometimes go wrong, for example if market maturity has not yet been achieved. Without this culture of accepting mistakes, there would be no innovations and no ideas for the future. Failure is not negative, it adds to our pool of experience.
What role does Daimler Business Innovation play for the Golf Car project?
We have the welcome task of forming a cross-section of all the divisions and bringing them around a table. We have overall management responsibility for all the different units involved in the sale and production of the Golf Car. To this end we work together with external experts, in this case the GARIA startup team, and also use the internal know-how of Daimler Business Innovation with its nine years of experience in developing new business models.
How was Daimler Business Innovation involved in the Golf Car project?
We developed the complete business model for the Golf Car, and brought all the disciplines necessary for development of the Golf Car around one table. We then worked together with the Mercedes-Benz Style design team and the Garia startup team, which is responsible for technical aspects, production, sales and after-sales.
With regard to innovation, how important is digitization for the Golf Car?
The Golf Car is fully digitized. We have not only integrated a central touch display with which all the functions of the Golf Car can be controlled. We have also developed a completely digital sales model. Wherever you happen to be, this enables you to experience the vehicle virtually with three mouse-clicks, and in a possible later pilot stage also order it. We may also be able to use this simple solution as a pilot for future sales channels.
What is different about the Golf Car compared to other golf carts?
It is above all different because of its progressive design idiom, the use of high-grade materials, the modern luxury typical of Mercedes, and sophisticated technology. There was passion involved.
Premium partners find each other
For decades golf carts have basically not differed greatly from each other, and have been only indequately designed to meet the needs of professional golfers. A small group of Scandinavian designers recognized this and set out to design the world's most exclusive golf cart. The result is the Garia.
By innovation, research and a resolute passion for design, Garia has completely redefined the traditional golf cart – so much that the vehicles are called golf cars. Garia produces vehicles using materials of the highest quality, and in the industry's most revolutionary design, whose performance and utility are even better than their appearance. The Garia is just as much appreciated for its functionality and utility value as for its pleasing looks in a modern Scandinavian design, and is therefore anything but average.
Founded in 2005 by Anders Lynge and Søren Bak, Garia is a private company with its headquarters in Denmark, a subsidiary in the USA and sales companies in Great Britain and the Asian/Pacific region.