Mercedes-AMG GmbH, commonly known as AMG, is the high performance brand used by Mercedes-Benz. AMG independently hires engineers and contracts with manufacturers to customize Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles. Mercedes-AMG is headquartered in Affalterbach, Baden-W+rttemberg, Germany.
AMG was originally an independent engineering firm specializing in performance improvements for Mercedes-Benz vehicles; DaimlerChrysler AG took a controlling interest in 1999, then became sole owner of AMG in 2005. Mercedes-AMG GmbH is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
In 1993, with AMG having become a high-profile purveyor of modified Mercedes-Benz cars, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed a contract of cooperation, allowing AMG to leverage Daimler-Benz's extensive dealer network and leading to commonly developed vehicles (the first one being the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG, in 1993). On 1 January 1999 DaimlerChrysler, as it was called between 1998 and 2007, acquired 51 percent of AMG shares, and AMG was renamed to Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Racing engine development was divested and continues to exist in Burgstall under the name HWA (Aufrecht's initials). On 1 January 2005 Aufrecht sold his remaining shares to DaimlerChrysler, and since then Mercedes-AMG GmbH has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
During the early 1980s and up until 1990, AMG offered a variety of engine performance packages, alloy wheels and styling products as an entirely independent company from Daimler-Benz. In 1990, AMG signed a co-operation agreement with Daimler-Benz, and AMG options and cars were then offered in Mercedes-Benz showrooms; in 1999 Daimler AG, then known as DaimlerChrysler AG, bought the controlling share of AMG and made them part of the official Mercedes-Benz line-up.
The performance wheels offered during the same period were 15-inch or 16-inch ATS AMG Five Spoke Road Wheels, commonly referred to as Pentas. Penta was actually a UK-based company that supplemented the high demand for the AMG wheel at the time with a replica and only a very slight styling difference, but they were not made or endorsed by AMG. The genuine AMG wheels were often coupled with an AMG performance suspension package that included uprated and lowered springs, and re-valved shock absorbers.
Another popular cosmetic upgrade were the AMG body kits. These ranged from subtle front spoilers, to an aggressive Wide Body kits for the W126 coupes. Other options included Recaro seats, smaller diameter steering wheels, instrument clusters, chrome delete option (all brightworks colour-coded or painted satin black), refrigerators, shift knobs, hi-fi stereo systems, custom upholstery and enhanced interior wood packages.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, AMG entered the big Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 V8 saloon, affectionately named the "Red Sow", in the 1971 Spa 24 Hours, and the European Touring Car Championship. AMG and Mercedes worked together on Mercedes-Benz W201 cars for the 1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM, German Touring Car Championship). AMG was made the official partner.
When DaimlerChrysler acquired a majority share of AMG in 1999, the motor racing department was divested into HWA AG. Their first car was the ill-fated Mercedes-Benz CLR. Since 2000, HWA builds and runs the cars for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), as well as the M271 engine tuned for use in Formula 3.