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Ten Years of Mercedes-Benz Unimog Product Range U 300 – U 500
- Ten years ago Mercedes-Benz introduced the new Unimog implement carrier
U 300/U 400/U 500
- Up to now about 10,000 units have been sold in over 20 countries
- The former “Universal Motorised (Gerät) (Unimog) for Agricultural Purposes” has developed into a talented off-road all-rounder for municipal work and many other sectors
- The Unimog U 300/U 400/U 500 is available with two different wheelbase versions and modern, environmentally friendly Euro 5 Blue-Tec engines with SCR technology and a performance range from 110 kW (150 HP) to 210 kW (286 HP)
Stuttgart/ Wörth –In Gaggenau in1996 the initial development started on a new Mercedes-Benz Unimog generation for use as an implement carrier, the so-called product range 405. It was first introduced in 2000 during a symposium in Mainz for experts in road maintenance and repair and was launched afterwards in an unprecedented product show with various attached and mounted implements which was held in all over Germany. In the meantime, two further independent product ranges, the U 300/U 400/ U 500 and the Unimog U 20, have been developed as successors to the classic Unimog with its outstanding off-road mobility.
In 2002, the Unimog production moved from its traditional location in Gaggenau to the truck assembly plant at Wörth am Rhein and today it is part of the product sector Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks. Nowadays, the Unimog U 300/U 400/U 500 is very popular for winter services, road maintenance and operation as well as for the construction and energy sectors and road-rail operations.
Due to the large number of vehicles ordered for municipal use, the global slump in trucks during the 2009 crisis had relatively little effect on the Unimog. Yaris Pürsün, Manager at the Wörth Truck Assembly Plant and head of the sector for Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks confirms: “Product range 405 with its models U 300, U 400 and U 500 is a mainstay for Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks. This is proved by the roughly 10,000 units sold in over 20 countries during the last ten years since its launch. We have an outstanding reputation for these vehicles for civilian use. This is also thanks to our decades of close cooperation with well-known implement manufacturers. They have specialised in designing implements which have solutions for almost all of our Unimog product ranges and models.”
Economically Optimized Implement-Carrier Systems
When the new generation of implement carriers was developed, it was important to take into consideration that even before the turn of the century there were considerable changes taking place in the whole implement-carrier and tractor vehicle sector. Hans-Jürgen Wischhof, head of the Unimog product sector from 1990 to 2003, can still clearly remember the situation at the time and what needed to be done. “In the mid-1990s, we had to resolve the question of which implement-carrier concept would be the best to realize system solutions that would be of most use to the customer. More and more, the market was demanding cost-effective optimized one-man operation implement-carrier systems. Our answer: the new Unimog implement-carrying generation, product range 405, as a semi-forward control truck with quick-change steering “Vario-Pilot” and standardized interfaces for attaching, mounting, driving, controlling and communication between the carrying vehicle and the implement.” And even today the trend-setters are those points which the Unimog generation has been providing from the very beginning; selling points which will determine its future prospects as an implement carrier: its all year-round operational versatility.
Right up to the present day, the technical highlights at its first presentation and the Unimog’s unique features in comparison with competitors have lost none of their attraction for the user in the ten years since it was launched:
- System combinations ensuring a high workload level for both vehicle and implements
- Quick exchange of implements
- One-man operation due to the quick-change steering “Vario-Pilot”
- High performance hydraulics with up to four independent hydraulic circuits for varying types of implement
The UGN concept was convincing from the very beginning due to its compact dimensions and its panoramic view providing outstanding visibility of the operating area. One novelty at the launch was the cab design with its fibre-composite construction and high standard of comfort. The Unimogs’ higher payloads are exactly what are needed for day-to-day operations just like the four attachment and mounting areas for very varying implements. The driveline with its clean Euro 5 Blue-Tec engines and SCR technology, its “Telligent” shift, high-performance hydraulics “VarioPower” and quick-change steering, combined with uncomplicated implement control are some of the other technical details. In addition there are special features such as the torque converter and snow-plough relief. In the meantime, all of these features have helped to make the Unimog product range U 300/U 400/U 500 a welcome all-rounder for municipal maintenance yards, private contractors, highways maintenance departments and energy providers – and in these snowy days especially in the version fitted out for winter operations.