Tablet-like and mobile computing technology is set to reach new levels as Mercedes-Benz announces the addition of touchpad technology to the C-Class sedan in a bid to surpass fellow German manufacturer BMW in sales.
The technology will be pioneered by the iPhone and an iPad-like device and will be part of the selection of high-end technology in the car which includes a 360-degree camera and six radar sensors.
The C-Class sedan was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday. The event marked the first time in seven years that the model has been overhauled. Car fundies and betting pundits will be taking their bets live on http://jackgold.com on who is going to podium position between these two German giants.
The upgraded model has been called “much more exciting” by automotive authorities. “Luxury customers are becoming much younger, especially in Asian markets,” said Sarwant Singh, an automotive partner with consultancy Frost & Sullivan in London. “They are looking for more gimmicks.”
And it’s these gimmicks that Mercedes-Benz is hoping will win over buyers. The company has been fighting back after losing its ranking as the top-selling luxury brand to BMW in 2005 and has since dropped to number three.
The new C-Class, which goes on sale in Europe in March and in the US and China in September, will help Mercedes overtake Audi sales next year, according to forecasts from IHS Automotive.
It is estimated that C-Class sales would surge 30 percent in 2015 from last year, a rise that could result in sales of more than 1.7 million vehicles next year – an increase of 17 percent.
Technology experts believe the introduction of the touchpad technology is simply a sign of things to come. Hi-tech options on the C-Class include a display that projects speed and navigation instructions on the windscreen to avoid distraction. The touchpad allows the driver to flip through functions or zoom in and out of maps or other images on the central display, which resembles a small tablet computer.