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Former Mercedes-Benz boss Jurgen Hubbert dies aged 81


Jürgen Hubbert, the former chairman of Mercedes-Benz and the man who helped launch the A-Class and M Class, has died at the age of 81.

The firm’s current chairman, Ola Källenius, paid tribute: “Jürgen Hubbert was Mr Mercedes. With integrity, innovative spirit and great success, he shaped Mercedes-Benz forever.

“Under his responsibility, a historic product offensive was launched with groundbreaking vehicles, such as the A-Class and M-Class. As a leader, he was able to integrate and motivate his teams with a passion for technology and the highest standards for himself. He is forever assured of the appreciation of the entire Mercedes family.”

Hubbert joined Mercedes in 1965 as a mechanical engineer, rising up the ranks to become chairman in 1989, a role he was to fill for 15 years.

It was with Hubbert as chairman that Mercedes pushed into completely new segments, creating the market niches for which it has since become famous. At the same time, he managed to double its worldwide sales.

Hubbert was in charge when the ground-breaking A Class was launched in 1997, complete with its clever ‘sandwich’ floor, a revolutionary solution to increasingly stringent crash-testing. It was also Hubbert who helped steer the company through the fallout when the car failed the now infamous ‘elk test’ that same year.

But his influence stretched beyond this car. He was also instrumental in getting the M-Class to market and was behind the decision to build the car in the US, its key market.

It was also Hubbert who later admitted that the M-Class wasn’t up to the quality expected of a Mercedes. He also created the CLK and helped to launch Smart as a brand.

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