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Mercedes celebrates 125 years

Monday, September 12, 2011 - 02:19

Sept.12 - German carmaker Mercedes celebrates its 125th birthday, as the global car industry descends on Frankfurt for the car show, amid fears about an economic slowdown in some major markets. Joanna Partridge reports

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A lot's changed in 125 years of car production. Mercedes celebrated its birthday by showing off a new research vehicle, the F125!, as it opened the Frankfurt car show. But amid the celebrations, the outlook for the rest of the year for the European car market is increasingly gloomy. Dieter Zetsche is CEO of Daimler, the German car maker's parent company. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIETER ZETSCHE, CEO OF DAIMLER, SAYING (English): "The orders are already there, almost already there right now for the remainder of the year. But of course we see clouds in the sky based on foreign debt, sovereign debt crisis based on the increased tension in financial markets. We hope that politicians can find some signals of confidence, some solutions to these challenges so that the real economy does not get affected." PTC: The global car industry has brought its newest models to Frankfurt at a time of economic slowdown in some of its biggest markets, the U.S and Europe. They're hoping these vehicles will convince drivers to buy new cars, even though government spending cuts are chipping away at consumer confidence. It's been a record year so far for Germany's premium car makers like Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and Audi thanks to strong demand from emerging makets and especially China. And they want to show that off at their home car show. Audi's reportedly spent 10 million euro on its stand at the show which includes a test track. The number of new cars sold in Europe rose over the past few months. But that was before the summer's stock market slump and analysts warn the figures don't tell the whole story. There are fears about the U.S economy and growth is even slowing in China, the world's top auto market. There's a feeling in Frankfurt that even the shiny new vehicles on display won't be guarantee a brilliant future for car makers if the global economy plunges into recession again. Joanna Partridge in Frankfurt for Reuters

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Mercedes celebrates 125 years

Monday, September 12, 2011 - 02:19