respond to new aesthetic values and transform sustainability with genuine added functionality; and new car architectures that generate different modes of use, aiming at maximum comfort and embracing a changed idea of status- representation. The F700 Mercedes- Benz research car, presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, aimed to respond to this objective. The goal was to combine the classic core competencies of the brand regarding luxury mobility with a vision of a sustainable future. This concept for a luxurious, yet economical sedan shows how large dimensions and good performance can be combined with exceptionally low fuel consumption. Identifying the New Elite When the Advanced Design Studio of Mercedes- Benz Italia designed the interior of this research car, the focus was to direct the car to a New Elite ( the next- generation Mercedes- Benz customer) and consequently to identify how the green luxury would manifest itself. These customers and their idea of luxury are fundamentally important in a world where status and taste will matter more than horsepower and
engine size. Focusing on the premium market, and taking the S- Class as a strong example of a status symbol, how will this market evolve? What will the next- generation of Mercedes- Benz customers want? How do they want to be represented? What will their values be, their real lifestyle? Seeing Time magazine' s cover from December 2005, with a picture of perhaps the richest man in the world ( Bill Gates) alongside a Rock Star ( Bono) combining their efforts in the name of charity was a clear indication of who the New Elite will be. Confirmation of individuals in the group came in a later edition, showing the chilled- out " Google Guys" at work in T- shirts, and more recent pictures showing President Obama in baseball cap and trainers on a Sunday. The parameters of cool and status are changing. The stiff look of the old Elite has become slowly unfashionable. The New Elite, rather than expressing themselves through an ostentatious display of economic power and wealth, will prefer to be respected for their forward thinking, which includes their environmental consciousness. The marketing and design potential behind this change in the attitude and mindset of this New Elite is enormous: the stereotypes need to be restructured, making fewer generalizations about age, taste, profession and class. A car for future generations Despite their new environmental consciousness, people spend more of their time in cars and this fact opens up a series of considerations regarding comfort and new in- car activities ( dining, connecting with people, relaxing and work). The F700 is dedicated principally to the comfort and " Parameters of cool and status are changing"