Talking Green Cars with Sascha Simon, Advanced Product Planning for Mercedes-Benz USA

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Sascha Simon is responsible for strategic planning of product management for Mercedes Benz USA. Bascially, that means that he ensures that future Mercedes products give consumers what they want how they want it while Mercedes continues to produce automobiles that embodies the company's core values. He uses on market research and trend data while working with product designers in Stuttgart, Germany and Palo Alto, California to envision a better vehicle. Treehugger had a chance to talk to him about Mercedes future of green cars, the hurdles to overcome and how their cars will perform with green technologies.

Sascha Simon hasn't always been the advanced product planner. Before he worked with Mercedes specifically, he worked at Daimler-Benz Aerospace in Munich, Germany for seven years where he was head of business development and strategy for the Satellite Constellation branch of the then newly formed European Aeronautics, Defense and Space Corporation EADS before holding several positions in areas ranging from Corporate Planning & Technology to Jet Engines and Advanced Space Systems.

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Photo from Car & SUV
Treehugger: One of the most interesting things I have found out about you is your involvement with Shark Savers. I really find out type of conservation work really interesting.
Simon: Yeah, my hobby. That has nothing to do with Mercedes. That’s really be something different. I have been scuba diving for a very long time and actually I have witnessed the deterioration of the worldwide coral reef and ocean the world over during the last 15 to 20 years. I got together with a couple of other folks that were very much motivated to do something for the ocean and protect the top predator in the ocean that is not a mammal. Sharks are under grave threat and nobody knows about it. At that time we started founded the organization nobody else, not even one of the big organizations, was taking care of putting the spotlight on the need to protect sharks.

TH: At Mercedes, there are several initiatives, from your Blue Zero stuff to hydrogen policy guys are working on, can you talk a little bit about that?
Simon: Yeah, I think we all agree that the planet has a problem on its hands. CO2 is one of the biggest issues and we ask Daimler, mother company of Mercedes Benz have been aware of that for a very, very long time and that’s the reason why we have been investing very heavily in alternative drive trains over the past 15 to 16 years. This is also why it is important for Mercedes-Benz has worked for the last eight years to ensure that the best possible product, in terms of efficiency and usability for the customer, is at the right price within the market. My job is to ensure that these technologies are in the market, that they are actually the right products for the market and that we bring them out at the right point in time. We want people to realize that Daimler has a large heritage in these technologies. It is a pretty common fact in Europe, and in the United States we are actively working to really get the word out that we have been investing in those alternative drive trains since the early 90s.

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