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Daimler

Daimler is a German OEM that sells cars, commercial vehicles and heavy trucks under the following brands: Mercedes-Benz and Smart. This page contains research on Daimler's activities and strategy.

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DAIMLER IN THE NEWS

This information can also be found on the weekly news review.

2018

April

  • Reportedly interested in selling powertrain to Volvo and may even be open to buying a small stake in the company to show willingness to work with Geely. (Manager Magazin)
  • Images of the Maybach SUV (a likely Bentayaga rival) leaked. (Autocar)
  • BMW said it does not “exclude other partners” from the mobility joint venture with Daimler. (Manager Magazin)
  • Mercedes executives said the brand is planning an all-electric luxury car at the same level as the S-Class. (Autocar)
  • Said that car sharing is “decisive” in the take-up of electric vehicles. (Daimler)
  • Daimler’s CEO believes that customers are “still showing confidence” in diesel and that recent commentary about the technology’s decline is overblown. (Autocar)
  • Exploring potential collaborations with new shareholder Geely. (Market Watch)

March

  • Officially announced the merger of BMW and Daimler’s mobility operations into a new company, with both holding a 50% share. Services will cover multimodal; car sharing; ride hailing; parking and charging. However, a number of investments by both companies into these areas were not mentioned by name so it appears as though both will continue to invest in start-ups that interest them. (BMW)
  • The China-specific Denza brand (a JV with BYD) launched the updated Denza 500 BEV with a claimed range of around 500 km. (Daimler)
  • The long-rumoured mobility asset pooling between BMW and Daimler could have a larger scope than previously anticipated and could include Daimler’s stake in ride hailing firm mytaxi. (Manager Magazin)
  • Will invest, along with a joint venture partner, to expand facilities in Thailand to produce electrified vehicles and batteries. (Daimler)
  • Purchased a 3.93% stake in Beijing Electric Vehicle (BJEV), a subsidiary of Chinese partner BAIC. (Daimler)
  • Trialling a new flexible leasing scheme named Mercedes Me Flexperience. Users pay a flat rate covering all costs except fuel for up to 36,000 per year. Through the offering, they can change cars 11 times throughout the year and arrange a swap with their existing vehicle via a smartphone app. (Daimler)
  • Expects that electric vehicle batteries will have far higher concentrations of nickel to reduce dependence on cobalt. Executives talked about nickel:manganes:cobalt mix moving from 6:2:2 to 9:0.5:0.5. (Reuters)
  • S-Class Maybach models will get headlights that project images onto the ground in front of the vehicle and can selectively light up objects (e.g. casting light on a pedestrian’s body but not shining light into their eyes). (Engadget)
  • Unveiled a range of plug in hybrid models that use diesel powertrains. (Daimler)
  • Invested in data analytics company Anagog. (Anagog)
  • Announced a new factory in Beijing, China with existing JV partner BAIC. (Daimler)
  • Announced a full takeover of Car2Go, buying Europcar’s 20% stake -- and echoing BMW’s recent move to buy out Sixt from its car sharing service. (Daimler)
  • Demonstrated an internally-created cryptocurrency called Mobicoins. In Daimler’s concept, the coins were earned through eco-friendly driving -- a loyalty card fit for the 21st century? (Journal Auto)
  • Unveiled the new CLS, featuring a V6 engine with 48V replacing a V8 engine in the prior model. Mercedes say that the change has reduced CO2 by around 23% whilst preserving power. (Daimler)
  • Daimler’s Financial Services division is working on a chatbot with a computer-generated image of a person to act as a concierge for future car purchases and other services. At present, a fair bit of development is still required (as Daimler’s demonstration video attests). (Daimler)

February

  • Daimler’s Moovel subsidiary will pilot an on-demand shuttle service in Germany. (Daimler)
  • Confirmed that Li Shufu of Geely had purchased a 9.7% stake in an announcement that was flattering yet also stressed the company had no plans to changes its partnerships in China. (Daimler)
  • Will not attend the 2019 Detroit show because it believes the CES has become more important. (Bloomberg)
  • Will show the new C-Class and AMG GT at the Geneva show. (Daimler)
  • Rumours US investigators had found emissions test defeating software were denied by Daimler. (Manager Magazin)
  • Launched the new Sprinter, saying that the all-electric eSprinter version would go on sale in 2019. (Daimler)
  • Mercedes-Benz’s VP of strategy said putting self-driving systems in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine “doesn’t make sense” because of the negative impact on fuel economy. (Wired)
  • Came in for criticism in Europe after Mercedes used a Dalai Lama quote on its Instagram feed and then deleted it, fearing uproar in China. (Manager Magazin)
  • Executives said that a series production vehicle with a hybrid architecture based on the Formula One-derived Project One would be available in 2020/21. (Autocar)
  • Launched the new A-Class. The new compact car uses petrol engines developed with Renault and owners can authorise family members to access and drive the car for limited periods using their smartphones -- avoiding having to hand the key over every time. (Daimler)

January

  • Reportedly suffering from supply problems with all-electric version of the Smart ForTwo -- waiting times have apparently increased to a year for a new vehicle. (Manager Magazin)
  • Executives speaking off the record said the long-awaited deal for BMW and Daimler to merge their car sharing units may reach a final agreement next month. The companies will reportedly continue to operate separate brands, pooling technology and back office functions -- BMW’s parking assets will also be part of the agreement. (Reuters)
  • Daimler’s CEO said he could not guarantee the company would meet the 2021 emissions targets set by the EU and may have to pay fines as a result. He said it was Daimler’s intention to comply but worries that customers could make purchasing decisions that throw off the fleet average. (Les Echos)
  • Reportedly paid German dealers €600 per vehicle for each Mercedes-Benz trade-in during 2017 because residual values were far lower than those anticipated by Daimler’s forecast models. (Autohaus)
  • Took a stake of “around ten percent” in what3words, a mapping/location start-up that uses unique three word addresses to cover all locations on earth. The company’s address system will be integrated in Mercedes cars. (Daimler)
  • Car2Go’s 2.97 million users (up 30% on year-end 2016), took 24 million trips in 2017. (Daimler)
  • The proposed separation of the company is reportedly causing tension among top executives. (Manager Magazin)

2017

Full Year 2017 Earnings

  • Reported 2017 full year financial results. Revenue of €164.3 billion was up 7% versus 2016. EBIT of €14.7 billion was up 14%. Daimler expects sales and revenue to increase in 2018 but profits to remain flat. (Daimler)
  • Sold 2,424,369 Mercedes and Smart cars in 2017, an increase of 8.8% on 2016. (Daimler)
  • Sold 401,000 Mercedes-Benz vans in 2017, an increase of around 12 % on a year-over-year basis. The X-Class pick-up deliveries reached 3,300 units since launch in November. (Daimler)

December

  • Acquired a 50% stake in French ride hailing company Chauffeur Privé with the intention of buying the rest of the company by 2019. (Daimler)
  • Will start a dynamic shuttle service in Berlin in partnership with Via and German public transport operator BVG. The initial fleet of 50 vehicles is forecast to eventually reach 300. The service is currently planned to run for two years before an evaluation of its merits will take place. (Via)
  • Said changes to US tax rates would improve 2017 net income by around €1.7 billion and €1 billion after some unrelated offsets were considered. (Daimler)
  • CEO Dieter Zetsche agreed to become the chairman of German holiday travel firm Tui from 1st October 2018 onwards, sparking inevitable speculation about him vacating his position at Daimler earlier than the end of his contract in late 2019. (Manager Magazin)
  • Will build a new office for its 900-strong US financial services staff in Texas. (Daimler)
  • Reorganised its trucks division to give the China market greater prominence. (Daimler)

November

  • Reportedly rebuffed an offer by Geely to buy a stake of between 3% and 5% through a discounted offering of new stock. Daimler’s issue was supposedly the additional shares and it said it would be comfortable with a purchase of existing shares. (NASDAQ)
  • Presented with a large bill by Sixt after tearing down and testing a leased Tesla Model X in violation of the rental agreement. Daimler technicians thought they had done a good job of screwing the car back together but came unstuck when the vehicle’s geographic data showed it pounding the miles at Daimler test sites. Oops. (Handelsblatt)
  • Said that it will launch electric drive in all Mercedes-Benz products. The first product, eVito, launches in 2018 and further products will follow starting in 2019. The eVito will have a range of around 150km and a top speed of up to 120km/h. (Daimler)
  • Has asked employees to submit ideas for new businesses with the aim of identifying 100 million of benefit from the best 15 ideas. It wasn’t clear if this is revenue or profit. (Daimler)
  • Opened a new R&D centre in Tel Aviv, Israel, to work on digital technologies, initially with a staff of 25. (Daimler)
  • Opened a new R&D lab in Seattle that will eventually have 150 employees. (Daimler)
  • Daimler said it was acquiring CINTEO, a German digital services company with around 100 employees, to accelerate digitisation of its marketing, sales and media functions. (Business Review Europe)
  • Daimler’s car sharing service Car2Go published a white paper covering essential conditions for successful fleet operation of autonomous vehicles. (Car2Go)
  • Is working on a pilot project to use automotive fuel cells for stationary power generation. (Daimler)

Q3 Financials (October)

  • Announced financial results for Q3 2017. Sales of 824,000 units were up 9% and revenue of €40.8 billion was up 6% on a year over year basis. Profits fell, EBIT of €3.5 billion was down (14)% and net profit of €2.3 billion was down (17)%. Daimler said that warranty recall costs were a drag on profits. (Daimler)

October

  • Said that its battery storage plant in Hannover was now operational and provided 5MW of flexible storage to the public grid, with a plan to achieve 17.4 MWh of capacity. The facility has two aims: it provides on-demand electricity to the grid and is also used as a “living storage” for batteries that may be called upon to replace those in service. (Enercity)
  • Made a strategic investment in The Mobility House, a company that sells electric vehicle charging equipment and vehicle-to-grid services. (Daimler)
  • Had offices raided by EU officials investigating whether Daimler, VW and BMW created a cartel in powertrain technologies and purchasing. Daimler has claimed whistle-blower status. (Reuters)
  • Announced that it was taking further preparatory steps towards the creation of a three division structure: Daimler financial services; Mercedes-Benz cars and vans; Daimler trucks and buses. The company said that this would cost a “three-digit euro million amount” (Daimler)
  • Showed off a specific use case application of platooning autonomous technology. Mercedes Trucks converted airport snow clearing trucks so that only a lead vehicle needs to be manned and the rest of the group can follow its example. (TechCrunch)
  • Will recall over 1 million vehicles due to problems with airbags. (Manager Magazin)
  • Said that it will invest €600 million in its Brazilian truck operations over the next five years. Daimler believes that the Brazilian truck fleet will soon need en masse replacement. According to the company, almost half of the trucks on the road are more than 20 years old. (Daimler)

September

  • Said that it will begin trials of truck platooning (where several trucks drive behind a lead vehicle in order to minimise air resistance -- the same principle as a peloton in cycling) on public highways in the US. Because of the small gaps between the vehicles, platooning involves automating the driving by connecting all vehicles to the action of the lead driver. (Daimler)
  • Amid concern from employees at the Smart factory in Hambach, France that sales drops are threatening their jobs, Daimler is rumoured to be planning to transfer pilot plant activities to the site, plus make an unspecified Mercedes product there from 2019 onwards. (Les Echos)
  • According to government officials, Daimler is set to open a new logistics hub in Egypt. (Economic Times of India)
  • Daimler has bought Flinc, an on-demand mobility platform. Flinc originally started as a peer-to-peer ridesharing service but then built a white label service for car sharing, used by Opel among others. (Daimler)
  • Said that it would invest $1 billion to launch an EQ-branded SUV at its Alabama, USA plant and build a battery facility nearby. The move will create 600 jobs and see production start at the “beginning of the next decade”. (Daimler)
  • Held a capital markets day where it said that the future outlook was a tougher business environment and that it would be challenged to meet mid-term margin targets, but that it would increase cost saving efforts in an attempt to do so. (Daimler) (CFO presentation here)
  • Daimler’s CEO said that by 2022, electrified versions will be available for all the company’s models. (Reuters)
  • Said it would invest in StoreDot, taking a seat on the board. Daimler hopes to be able to use StoreDot’s fast -charging battery technology in future vans. (Daimler)
  • Said that it by the end of 2017 it would have converted 1,350 workers at its Vitoria, Spain plant to permanent contracts due to the success of the small commercial vehicles produced there. (Europa Press)
  • Announced that it had been the lead investor in a financing round for US peer to peer carsharing service Turo and that as a part of the deal, Daimler’s own peer to peer carsharing service Croove would be folded into Turo’s operations and Turo would enter the German market in 2018. (Daimler)
  • Created a joint venture with on-demand shuttle bus company Via that will see Daimler invest $50 million and licence Via’s technology to launch services in Europe, starting with London, where an on-demand bus service will begin in late 2017. The companies will also work together to develop an optimised Mercedes van for the service. (Via)
  • Will show a concept called EQA at the Frankfurt show that will be Mercedes’s vision of how a shared car might look. (The Verge)

August

  • Showed a new concept vehicle called Smart Vision EQ fortwo. The vehicle shows how Smart’s cars could evolve into driverless pods in future and is similar in many details to the Mini concept unveiled in 2016 (except that the Mini was a mixed-mode manually-driven and autonomous concept). (Daimler)
  • Announced the creation of a division called Lab1886 that will operate four sites globally. The company will invite employees to pitch their ideas to an internal VC-like board that will then select projects for internal incubation. The organisation will also provide support to external companies, such as (flying car start-up) Volocopter. (Daimler)
  • According to Manager Magazin, Daimler is contemplating creating a holding company of three separate entities, with the further possibility of spinning the divisions off at some point in the future. (Manager Magazin)
  • Switching Smart’s line-up to all-electric in the US from 2018 onwards reportedly means that the dealer body will be halved in size -- from 58 to 27 sites. (Autofactil)
  • Said that the Mercedes-Benz truck division has begun using 3D printed parts for rarely-used spare parts made out of plastic. (The Manufacturer)
  • Following the diesel summit, Daimler announced that it had “once again expanded” its package of measures to improve diesel emissions with a four-digit environment bonus for EU4 vehicles and an accelerated introduction of new powertrains (although it wasn’t clear what baseline this was against). (Daimler)
  • Has made an investment of €25 million in flying taxi company Volocopter. (Reuters)
  • Daimler subsidiary Moovel has purchased location sharing app Familionet. (Handelsblatt)

Q2 Financials (July)

  • Reported Q2 2017 financial results. Group EBIT of €3.7 billion was up 15% on a year-over-year basis, with revenues up 7% and unit sales up 8%. (Daimler)

July

  • Will cease production of the electric version of the B Class in the next few months. (Elektrek)
  • Said its Finance arm would have a record second half after reported half-year earnings of more than €1 billion. Daimler said that its mobility services were now being used by 14.5 million customers and had grown 116% on a year-over-year basis (not all of it organic). (Daimler)
  • Participated in the Series B round of funding ($46 million) for Chinese self-driving start-up Momenta. (TechCrunch)
  • Said that it was reviewing its legal structure with a view to providing clearer distinction between its different divisions. The management team said that this was not in preparation for any spin-offs. (Reuters)
  • News emerged suggesting that Daimler reported the alleged cartel first, ahead of VW. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will reportedly cease production of the China-only R-Class in September, with deliveries continuing into 2018. Memo: the vehicle was withdrawn from other markets in 2012/13 and its produced by 3rd party AM General in Indiana, USA. (CCFA)
  • Was allegedly part of a cartel of German car makers under investigation by the EU for possible collusion on technical regulations and component sourcing for items such as retractable roofs and emission control systems. The other participants were BMW and VW Group (Audi, Porsche and VW). According to media reports, Daimler may have partial immunity or relief from fines after coming forward as whistle-blowers. (More…)
  • Offered a voluntary recall of 3 million vehicles, expanding an existing campaign covering about 300,000 cars. In Daimler’s words, nearly all EU5 and EU6 vehicles will have updated software to reduce NOx emissions. The cost will be around €220 million. Daimler said that there would be a significant contribution to reducing NOx emissions from diesel vehicles in cities. (More…)
  • Saw CEO Zetsche heavily criticised in the press after the recall was announced with comments he previously made around VW’s conduct being used as a suggestion of hypocrisy. (More…)
  • Announced that it will build electric powertrain components, including batteries and axles, at its Untertürkheim plant. Employees have been carrying out work-to-rule industrial action due to their future employment concerns and the press release was careful to mention the 250 jobs to be created and say that it offered employees “good prospects in the coming era of electric mobility”. In return, unions agreed to more flexible operating arrangements for the existing factories. (..)
  • Came under fresh scrutiny in Germany amid reports that 1 million vehicles had excessively high emissions (More…)
  • Reached agreement with Chery over their clashing EQ / eQ brands. Daimler owned international rights whereas Chery held trademarks in China. The two companies have now agreed that they will market their products with these similar brands, although no product cooperation is implied. (More…)
  • Announced an investment in and cooperation with CleverShuttle, a company that creates software which lets public transport operators optimise routes depending on point in time passenger demand. (More…)
  • Said that it will make an electric version of the Sprinter van at its Düsseldorf factory. (More…)
  • Released further details of the (previously announced) JV it has formed with BAIC to produce and sell electric vehicles in China. The two partners will invest €655 million. One of the clear targets is to locally produce Mercedes-Benz badged vehicles that use Chinese battery cells. (More…)
  • Reported June sales figures for cars. 221,874 vehicles were sold in June, an increase of 10.1% on a year-over-year basis. Improved sales at Mercedes-Benz more than offset losses at Smart. (More…)
  • Has started a legal case against bearing supplier SKF because of the company’s participation in a cartel. SKF is already being sued by BMW but says its actions had no effect on its customers. (More…)

June

  • Production of E-Class was reported slowed due to the “work to rule” action by workers in Daimlers plant at Untertürkheim, who produce components for the car. (..)
  • Saw works council leaders at its engine factory in Untertürkheim, Germany threaten “work to rule” industrial action starting on 1st July if sufficient job guarantees are not forthcoming. The employees are worried about what Daimler’s stated targets for widespread electrification in the mid-2020s mean for their jobs. (..)
  • The Smart brand will reportedly become electric-only from 2020. (More…)
  • Ride-hailing firm myTaxi said it will buy Romanian company Clever Taxi for an “eight figure” sum. The company is reportedly interested in further acquisitions in Eastern Europe. (More…)
  • Said that it will build a new plant in Russia. The €250 million investment will begin production of E-Class in 2019 and then add other models. The plant will employ around 1,000 people. (More…)
  • Subsidiary Moovel showed a new product that allows public transport operators to create connected payment systems with various types of hardware. This would make it easier to introduce to existing systems -- ride hailing and other services could be added into the ecosystem. (More…)
  • Participated in a fund-raising round for Middle East ride-hailing firm Careem. (..)
  • Reported car sales for May. Mercedes and Smart sales of 205,942 units were up 12.3% year-over-year. Sales increased in all regions except NAFTA. (..)

May

  • Widespread media reporting on Daimler’s quest for US criminal lawyers in anticipation of the company potentially having to defend itself over diesel emissions. (..)
  • Signed an agreement with BAIC over electric vehicles. Daimler will become a minority shareholder in BAIC subsidiary Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. (..)
  • Used a press release to highlight its efforts to build a wider supplier base in the USA. (..)
  • Announced that it has reached agreement with the works council at Rastatt over production of electric vehicles and Industry 4.0 productivity measures. As a result, all 3 German plants will be electric vehicle “centres of competence”. (..)
  • Announced it will be making €1 billion investment in battery production. €500 million of this is a new factory at Kamenz, Germany which will add about 500 jobs. (..)
  • Daimler’s offices were raided by German prosecutors investigating possible misconduct in reporting diesel emissions. The raid was part of a previously announced investigation. (..)
  • There was renewed talk of a merger between car sharing companies DriveNow (BMW) and Car2Go (Daimler). The latest stories have a merger taking place in Q3 2017 and a new brand being established. Rumours of a tie up have circulated since December 2016. BMW’s partner in DriveNow, Sixt, has been openly opposed to the move but BMW reportedly now believes that it can convince Sixt to cooperate. (..)
  • Took a 15% stake in Hong Kong based dealer group LSH Auto International which operates about 200 locations in Asia and Australia. The financial terms were kept confidential. (..)
  • Daimler and BYD will reportedly increase capital in their 50/50 electric car making JV, Shenzhen Denza New Energy by 1 billion yuan. (..)
  • Will reportedly cooperate with Tesla Energy’s rival Vivint to offer a combined solar-roof and battery storage product in Germany. (..)
  • Mercedes will no longer pursue certification for their diesel engines in the USA, based on the very small market share for the technology and the increased difficulty in obtaining regulatory approvals. This affects 2017 and future model years. (..)
  • Launched a platform for e-identity and data services in partnership with HERE, Allianz (an insurance company), Axel Springer (a media company), Deutsche Bank and CORE (a think tank). The service aims to provide a “master key” that will allow people to register across a number of different providers with the same identity. (..)
  • Said that its Car2Go car sharing scheme had seen a significant increase in “cross-border” rentals in Q1 2017 with 33,000 journeys taken by customers visiting from other European countries using the local Car2Go service. (..)
  • The Mercedes brand will open a global digital delivery hub in Lisbon, Portugal. The brand says that Lisbon is “the place to be” for the digital world. (..)
  • Daimler’s Moovel app launched a service in collaboration with Karlsruhe Transport Authority KVV (a city in Germany) to offer information on various types of transport solution (trains, trams, bikes etc). Moovel said that it was aiming to offer a “white label solution” for transport operators. (..)

Q1 Financials (April)

  • Released its detailed financials for Q1 2017. Revenue was up 11% year over year to €38.8 billion and net profit doubled to €2.8 billion. Daimler had already pre-released headline figures on 11th (More...)
  • Announced Q1 2017 financial results early because they were significantly better than market expectations. (..)

 

April

  • Whilst reporting Q1 results, Daimler said that it cannot rule out fines relating to diesel emissions. (..)
  • Daimler’s CFO said that they expect currency tailwinds of more than €500 million in 2017. (..)
  • Announced an expansion of peer-to-peer car-sharing service Croove to additional German cities. (..)
  • Was told by the KBA (German regulator) to recall 134,000 vehicles to replace air-conditioning refrigerant. (..)
  • According to board member Hubertus Troska, Daimler is in talks with various Chinese ride hailing firms including Didi around possible cooperation. (..)
  • CEO Dieter Zetsche said that he sees the possibility of further expansion in local Chinese production capacity. (..)
  • Daimler said that it is still evaluating possible semi-conductor suppliers for the processor units of its autonomous vehicles. (..)
  • Said that Car2Go rentals increased 23% year-over-year in Q1 2017 (6.2 million trips in total). Car2Go now has 2.3 million customers worldwide and 1.3 million in Europe. (..)
  • Announced a new joint venture called Toll4Europe to provide electronic toll services for vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes. (..)
  • Mercedes announced that March sales figures were the strongest in its history with sales of 228,296 vehicles, an increase of 14.8% year-over-year (Source)
  • Announced a partnership with Bosch to create self-driving vehicles by “the beginning of the next decade” (Source)
  • Said to be offering voluntary redundancy in its trucks business. The reported target is up to 2,000 job losses (Source)
  • Will produce the next generation Sprinter in Brazil, investing $150 million in the project (Source)

March

  • Announced the creation of a new company, Mercedes-Benz Connectivity Services GmbH, owned by Daimler Financial Services, to offer connectivity services to fleet and business customers.
  • Expects record sales of Mercedes-Benz cars in Q1 2017
  • Brought forward its timescale for new electric vehicles -- now 10 by 2022 (old target 10 by 2025)
  • Trumpted a contract for 1,500 all-electric Vitos to delivery firm Hermes (to be in place by 2020, pilot in 2018)
  • Said it will recall nearly 400,000 vehicles in China due to a risk of over-heating at start-up