NAIAS: No Need for Unimogs This Time

Gary S. Vasilash


In the event that you didn’t happen to attend the Industry Preview or the Charity Preview of the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit last week, we would like to let you know that this isn’t a picture of what it looked like in the D:

Unimog in action

It was far from the weather conditions that some may not-so-fondly recall from 1999. Or as our friend Peter DeLornezo put it over at Autoextremist of the early days of NAIAS this year, “It felt more like the Palm Beach International Auto Show.”

In case you are wondering just what that picture shows, it is a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 500 in action in Feldkirch-Arlbergpass, Austria. Apparently the area was recently hit by ten meters of snow, which necessitated the Vorarlberg highway authority’s busting out of the 286-hp U 500 equipped with a Schmidt 105 front-end snow cutter.

An interesting aspect of the Unimog is that it features four-wheel steering, which is obviously helpful when maneuvering between snow drifts the size of buildings, as it reduces the turning diameter of the vehicle by 30%.

And here’s another fun fact: “Unimog” is a diminutive of “Universal-Motor-Gerät,” or “Universal Motor Device.”

Had there been one on the streets of Detroit back in 1999, the name would have been “Salvation.”