Skip to main content

This Month in Luxury: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is too complex for robots to assemble

This Month in Luxury: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is too complex for robots to assemble


As it should be

Share this story

Welcome to This Month in Luxury, presented by Micah Singleton, The Verge's resident Luxury Director. In this monthly (or whenever we remember) column, I will take you on a completely superficial journey of opulence, pointing out one device, artifact, or service an upscale individual such as yourself would take pleasure in experiencing. Let the journey begin.

In a world rapidly changing thanks to the advances of technology, robots have become ubiquitous on assembly lines across the world. From your iPhone to Ford's manufacturing plants, robots have become a part of the manufacturing workforce. But when it comes to luxury goods, there are a few items that should always be handmade: things like a custom Tom Ford suit (Zegna is so 2009) or a Hermés Birkin bag.

Surprisingly, Mercedes-Benz wants the S-Class to be added to the list. "Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today," Markus Schaefer, the head of production at Mercedes-Benz told Bloomberg.

There are a few luxury items that should always be handmade

Yes, Mercedes has begun removing robots from its assembly line and replacing them with humans, as the customization options it offers have become too complex for robots to offer. "The variety is too much to take on for the machines," Schaefer said. "They can’t work with all the different options and keep pace with changes."

That means your monogramed seats and temperature-controlled rear cupholders will have been installed by someone you can yell at, if a thread is out of place or a woodgrain isn’t quite to your liking.

Soon when you send your assistant to exchange the old S-Class for the newest model — because let's be honest, who keeps an S-Class for more than a year? — your new car will have been assembled largely by actual humans, bringing back the distinct feel of having a truly custom Mercedes-Benz that can now sit next to your custom Bentley and Rolls-Royce.