Mercedes-Benz, often referred to as just Mercedes, is a German manufacturer of luxury automobiles. The company was founded in 1926 by Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Emil Jellinek and is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Mercedes is the world's most valuable luxury car brand, a position it has held since 2018. The company has offices in ninety-three locations worldwide, including its Stuttgart headquarters, and manufacturers vehicles in seventeen countries that span five continents. Mercedes-Benz is led by Ola Källenius, who serves as chairmen of the board of management, position he has held since 2019. Mercedes's parent company is the Mercedes-Benz Group, formerly named Daimler AG.
While Mercedes-Benz was officially founded in 1926, its origins date back to the 1880s, when Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach purchased a villa in Stuttgart and converted it into an engine test workshop. There, the two men developed a small test engine with a vertical cylinder, nicknamed the "Grandfather Clock" due to its appearance, which could be suitable for powering a motorcar. Around the same time, Karl Benz founded Benz & Cie, a company that produced stationary engines. While the business was a success, Benz had a desire to focus primarily on motorcar engines and dreamed of producing a carriage that moved without horses. Using their new technology, Daimler & Maybach founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and went on to create the Daimler "riding car," the world's first motorcycle, in 1885. A year later, Benz successfully created the first automobile, the Benz Patent Motor Car, in 1886. DMG and Benz & Cie. remained competitors in the automobile industry for many years until 1926, when post-WWI inflation and poor sales would inspire the companies to merge into a single company: Mercedes-Benz.