Technology progress and relocation.

1996-2005 | Starting the new millennium with two Unimog series.

The story of Unimog is one in which ingenuity meets innovation, all the while staying true to tried and tested concepts. This is what makes the Mercedes-Benz all-rounder so unique. In Part Six of the History of Unimog, we look back on the most important models and events from around the turn of the millennium.

Greater performance, more environmental protection.

From 1996, Mercedes-Benz increasingly focused on environmentally friendly technologies in the further development of the popular Unimog 408 series. For example, the newly introduced compact Unimog U 90 turbo and the extended Unimog U 100 L turbo with 85 kW not only provided a huge amount of power for the implement carriers but also, for the first time, they were using environmentally friendly engines in accordance with the Euro II standard. To this day, this development has produced more and more efficient diesel engines with significantly reduced emission values.

However, it wasn't just with the engine where environmental protection was gaining significance. Asbestos-free brake pads, biodegradable hydraulic oils and rejecting the use of CFCs and cadmium in Unimog designs continue to contribute to an improved environmental balance and at the same time increase protection for the driver and crew to this day.

The Unimog UX 100 H from the 409 series with water drum and reflector post washer is a compact professional that you can trust.
The Unimog UX 100 with mowing outrigger is put to work at the airport.
The Unimog UX 100 performs impressively, especially in narrow city centres, as is the case here with waste collection.
The Unimog UX 100 M with Jotha skip loader is a reliable transport professional.
The Unimog 405 implement carrier with snow plough and grit spreader from Schmidt has found its niche in winter service.
With the Palfinger loading crane, the crew of the Unimog U 400 can get up high.
The Unimog U 300 is flexible and resilient: perfect for the construction site.
The driver is always guaranteed a clear view of the working area when mowing with the Unimog U 300.
The Unimog UX 100 H from the 409 series with water drum and reflector post washer is a compact professional that you can trust.

The best things come in small packages: the UX 100.

In 1996, another out of the ordinary Unimog celebrated its debut: the 409 series. The “Mini Unimog” was designed as a small implement carrier for use by local municipalities. With a width of just 1.6 m and a total height of less than 2 m, it could also be used down narrow streets or in places requiring a particularly high level of manoeuvrability. At the same time, the implement carrier launched as the UX 100 had a lot of the technology and equipment features of its big brother on board . In addition to the all-wheel drive, this includes the practical interfaces for attachments and accessories.

The UX 100 was launched in two variants. With a wheelbase of only 2,150 mm, the UX 100 H could be used as a compact implement carrier, while the UX 100 M with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm was primarily designed for transport tasks. However, after just a few years, Daimler parted with the UX 100, which was continued at Hako under the name "Kommobil”.

Greater convenience: the implement carriers in the Unimog 405 series.

In 2000, a new generation of Unimog implement carriers was launched. Thanks to the technical finesse of these trucks, drivers of the the U 300, U 400 and U 500 enjoyed even greater convenience than with their predecessors. For example, interchangeable steering and EPS gearshift were installed as standard for the first time. Thanks to a completely new material mix made of carbon fibre, the cab offered significantly more space and greater all-round visibility. The new power hydraulics also opened up a wide range of possibilities for sophisticated attachments and accessories.

The design of the new implement carriers, which was adapted to the design language of modern commercial vehicles, was even smoother and sleeker. Thanks to more efficient diesel drives, the already good economic efficiency of Unimog has been further enhanced. The close partnership with attachment manufacturers, which has been crucial to Unimog’s success since its inception, has been further consolidated through certifications and partner programmes.

Farewell to Gaggenau.

In 2021, the company celebrated the 50th anniversary of the production site of the all-rounder in Wörth with a big star ride with Unimogs from all over Europe.  But just one year later, it was time to say goodbye: on 26 August 2002, Unimog started production at its brand new, modernised plant in Wörth. Since then, the world’s largest truck plant has been the home of Unimog, but components for the special truck are still being manufactured in Gaggenau. However, ever since the Unimog Museum was opened near its former production site in 2006, the name Unimog remains closely linked to Gaggenau.

"Mr. Unimog" Hans-Jürgen Wischhof tells the story of the all-rounder truck

Not just perfect for off-road terrain but for elevated roads too.

In addition to the implement carrier, Daimler also opted for a second model at the turn of the millennium, which was designed as a successor to the “heavy-duty series” 427 and 437. The 437.4 series, better known under the U 3000, U 4000 and U 5000 models, is ideal for use on rough terrain. Its high ground clearance, fording capability, gradient angle and impressive climbing capacity of up to 110% mean that this Unimog is able to tackle both uneven and elevated terrain, taking the material and crew of this truck to places that would leave many other vehicles stumped.

Electro-pneumatic differential locks in combination with high-torque engines with up to 218 PS ensure that this series delivered a next-level off-road performance even by Unimog standards. For example, the 437.4 series serves as the basis for expedition vehicles and for transport uses in special applications in the construction and energy industry.

Two series for different applications.

The launch of the new 405 and 437.3 series further consolidated the differentiation of the Unimog series for two different areas of application, which still exists to this day. The Unimog implement carrier developed into a flexible, value for money all-rounder that was perfectly tailored to the needs of local municipalities and contract service providers. Requirements such as one-man operation, greater working comfort and safety standards for work use remain the main focus of this series to this day.

On the other hand, the Unimog, which is suitable for off-road use, was based on the tradition of highly motorised special-purpose vehicles developed for extreme off-road use. It wows with its sophisticated chassis with drop centre axles and its extremely robust design. This Unimog is in demand all over the world when it comes to handling particularly difficult terrain and extreme conditions.

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