Mercedes-Benz Museum Focuses on New SL for 2012

Words Jim Davis | January 02, 2012
The first half of the year will focus on the new SL as well as the museum highlighting the 60-year history of the SL series
Words Jim Davis January 02, 2012

If you weren’t one of the 701,000 visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Museum last year for the 125th anniversary of the automobile, you truly missed out on a great experience. Visitors from over 175 countries around the globe made the trek to the Stuttgart museum to view the newly designed Legend 6 exhibition room and the special ‘Art & Stars & Cars’ exhibition. But, don’t worry, 2012 is gearing up to be even better. The first half of the year will focus on the new Mercedes SL and at Mercedes-Benz Classic and at the museum, the 60-year history of the legendary SL series will be highlighted with special events and a major exhibitions running throughout the year.

Michael Bock, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic had this to say about 2011: “Another successful year is drawing to a close. Since the opening in May 2006, over 4.2 million people have visited the Mercedes-Benz Museum. 125 years after its invention, the automobile retains its special fascination to this day – the figures speak for themselves. We are particularly pleased about the high proportion of international visitors. Once again this year, almost a third of our guests came from abroad. This international appeal is attributable both to the anniversary year of the automobile and to our extensive programme in 2011.”

People from all over the world flock to see the first ever automobile

The visitors from a total of 175 countries reflect the international character of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. In 2010 visitors came from 158 countries. The share of international guests has risen by almost half in recent years, to 27 percent. The majority of guests came from Germany, followed by China, USA, France and Switzerland. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Chinese guests since 2009, resulting in a steady climb for China from fourth to second place in the visitor rankings.

How did the visitors become aware of the Mercedes-Benz Museum? While almost 40 percent relied on recommendations from friends and acquaintances, 7 percent of visitors stated that they had been prompted to visit the museum by the increased media coverage in the anniversary year. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have given rise to a two-fold increase in awareness of the museum as a leisure destination.

Many of the guests visited the Mercedes-Benz Museum for the first time in the year marking the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile. The top rankings from regular visitor surveys in 2011 confirm the guests’ satisfaction, with over 90 percent of all visitors stating that their expectations had been surpassed and 98 percent confirming that they would recommend the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Two thirds of all visitors spent more than three hours at the automobile exhibition covering 16,000 square metres.

Group visitors and children’s programs on the increase

Almost 4,000 guided tours in 2011 marked a new record for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The classic Automobile guided tour, carried out in a total of ten languages, remains the leading attraction. Exclusive after-hours tours in the evening, guided tours of the Untertürkheim and Bad Cannstatt engine factories and the special guided tour of the ‘Art & Stars & Cars’ exhibition also proved very popular.

The Mercedes-Benz Museum has also become a yet more attractive destination for groups: over 5,000 groups comprising a total of over 100,000 persons visited the exhibition – more than ever before. In addition, over 1900 school classes took advantage of the educational programme in the GeniusCampus area for children and young people. Another programme offered by the GeniusCampus enjoyed particular popularity, with almost 1000 children visiting over 80 children’s birthday parties held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The new programme “Motor mechanics for adults” also became firmly established, with over 100 workshops offering almost 850 participants an opportunity to lean more about present-day engine technology.

Outstanding exhibitions and events in 2011

For the inventor of the automobile, the anniversary marking 125 years of the automobile played a major role this year, as the Mercedes-Benz Museum is the only venue in the world where visitors can take in the entire history of the automobile – from Benz’s patented motor car dating from 1886 to futuristic vehicle studies.

The year kicked off with the opening of the new exhibition room Legend 6, ‘New start – the Road to Emission-free Mobility’, which has since won various awards. The new exhibition room grants visitors an insight into the future and outlines the drive technologies of tomorrow. The future has already arrived for visitors arriving at the Mercedes-Benz Museum by e-vehicle, with six electric charging stations offering free electric power to replenish the vehicles’ batteries during visits to the museum.

The special exhibition ‘Art & Stars & Cars’ shows the museum in a similarly pioneering and innovative vein. This first art exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz Museum was conceived in collaboration with the Daimler Art Collection. A highlight of the exceptional exhibition comprising over 120 works was Andy Warhol’s legendary Cars series, which was produced 25 years ago on the occasion of the car’s centenary. The Mercedes-Benz Museum also celebrated its fifth birthday in the middle of the anniversary year, on 22 May 2011. This proved one of the busiest days of the year, drawing over 5000 guests. The museum’s summer season revolved around firm favourites such as the jazzopen stuttgart, the Mercedes-Benz Lounge and the Open Air Cinema programme – this year featuring the drive-in cinema event for the first time, which sold out in next to no time. Families with children were able to take part in Universal Children’s Day at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in September, while the collectors’ fair in November offered brand aficionados another opportunity to pick up some gems. This year, the Mercedes-Benz Museum once again offered events tailored to visitors with special needs – most recently on the Day of People with Disability in December.

2012 – spotlight on the Mercedes-Benz SL

“It will be a challenge to top 2011,” observes Michael Bock. “But we have ambitious plans for 2012 and some great exhibitions in store. For the Mercedes-Benz brand, the first half of the year will center on the new SL. At Mercedes-Benz Classic and at the museum we will be highlighting the 60-year history of the legendary SL series with special events and a major exhibition. All the models in one room – that will be a spectacle not to be missed. I am also looking forward to the 2012 Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film. As a partner to the festival, we will be presenting a special award – again focusing on the topic of 60 years of the SL. The special exhibition ‘Timeless – 60 years of the Mercedes-Benz SL’ will begin on 24 January 2012 and run until 2 September 2012.