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Daimler Extends Zetsche’s CEO Deal to 2019

Revival of Mercedes silences critics.

by on Apr.02, 2015

Dieter Zetsche will remain in place as Daimler AG CEO through 2019 after a three-year contract extension.

The Daimler AG Board of Supervisors plans to extend the contract of the company’s chief executive officer, Dieter Zetsche, through 2019.

Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the board of supervisors, told shareholders that Zetsche’s contract would be extended for another three years. Zetsche’s current contract expires at the end of 2016. The announcement drew few comments, pro or con, from the more than 5,000 shareholders, who gathered in Berlin for the company’s annual meeting.

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Zetsche, who has never been wildly popular with Daimer’s often-critical shareholders, has served as Daimler CEO since 2006 when he took over the company from Juergen Schrempp, the architect of the ill-fated merger with Chrysler, which Zetsche dissolved in 2007. (more…)

Daimler Raises Dividend Despite 16% Profit Drop

Zetsche lauds record-setting sales efforts in 2014.

by on Feb.05, 2015

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche said 2014 was a terrific year for the company despite the fact that profits dipped 16%.

Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz brand cars and trucks, saw earnings drop 16% in 2014 despite record sales and revenues.

Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, however, said overall 2014 was a terrific year for the German automaker and proposed boosting the annual dividend to shareholder to 2.45 euros.

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“We set new records once again in 2014 – for unit sales, revenue and earnings. This progress is the result of consistent hard work. And it is based on decisions we made several years ago and which we have successfully implemented since then,” said Zetsche, who is also head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. (more…)

Aston Martin Gets Cash Infusion

New crossover among possible benefits.

by on Jan.28, 2015

Aston offered a hint of its future design direction with the DB10 concept it created for the new 007 film.

With a new management team already in place, Aston Martin is getting gotten a fresh cash commitment from a big Italian investment firm that should help it move ahead with what is being billed as the most aggressive product program in the British marque’s history.

Among other things, the pledge by Investindustrial SpA could permit Aston Martin lagonda Ltd. To add its first crossover-utility vehicle to the line-up of products it plans to introduce in the next half-decade. Aston has laid out plans to double sales to 8,000 vehicles annually as its line-up expands.

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“Aston has an industrial plan which is growing in its ambitions and we have always planned to participate in all funding needs that Aston has,” said Investindustrial Chairman Andrea Bonomi speaking to reporters in Milan. “If Aston needs capital, we’re there.”

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Daimler Reports Mercedes Expected to Hit Sales Record

Company turns profits despite sluggish global economy.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Dieter Zetsche said Daimler's Q3 profits were due in large measure to strong sales by Mercedes-Benz.

Daimler AG used a surge in sales of new Mercedes-Benz models to boost its revenue by 10% in the third quarter despite the soft global economy, which the company expects to slow further by the end of the year.

Daimler Group AG net earnings also increased significantly to 2.82 billion euros compared with 1.89 billion euros in the third quarter of last year and Mercedes-Benz cars is on its way to record sales this year.

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The group’s third-quarter revenue of 33.1 billion euros was 10% above the prior-year level; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue increased by 11%. (more…)

Double Setback for Tesla

Daimler sells off stake, while Michigan bans direct sales.

by on Oct.22, 2014

Daimler is planning to unplug from Tesla - at least in terms of its 4% equity stake.

Already hammered by a slump in its stock price, Tesla Motors has been hit by two more setbacks.

The maker’s long-time German partner, Daimler AG, has decided to sell off its stake in the California start-up while Michigan has become the latest in a growing list of states to bar Tesla’s plan to sell directly to consumers through company-owned, rather than franchised, showrooms.

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Daimler, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, had held a 4% stake in the battery-car company, and had been rumored to be considering a full acquisition of Tesla at one point.

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Honda, Daimler Make Major Forays into Zero Emissions Energy Sourcing

Daimler backing hydrogen, Honda putting its money into solar power.

by on Oct.08, 2014

A Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell vehicle protoype with a Linde hydrogen gas tanker.

Facing increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy mandates around the world, automakers are looking for clean alternatives, such as electrification and hydrogen. But making the switch isn’t as easy as coming up with a long-range battery or an affordable fuel cell. It also means making available to the public ways to “fill up” with clean sources of energy.

Both Honda and Daimler AG today announced plans to invest millions of dollars in sustainable energy – on top of what they’re already spending to develop clean powertrain technologies. Honda is partnering with U.S. based solar energy company solar city. Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, is, meanwhile, teaming up with Germany’s Linde Group to set up a network of hydrogen fueling stations.

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“There is no question that fuel-cell technology is reaching maturity,” explains Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG. “From 2017, we are planning to bring competitively priced fuel-cell vehicles to market. So now is the time to build a nationwide fuelling infrastructure.”

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Foreign Automakers Feel Under the Gun in China

"Anti-monopoly" crackdown seen as boost for local competitors.

by on Sep.02, 2014

Daimler, which recently announced a joint venture with Chinese maker BYD, is under investigation by anti-monopoly regulators.

It’s the world’s largest automotive market, and manufacturers as diverse as Daimler AG and General Motors already sell more vehicles in China than they do in the U.S. But they and other foreign companies are beginning to wonder “at what price?”

Both GM and Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz — along with Audi, Chrysler and other carmakers — have come under investigation by China’s regulators, who have already levied more than $200 million in fines against a dozen Japanese auto parts suppliers for alleged price fixing.

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And while the country’s President Xi Jinping has promised to open up the Chinese economy to increased foreign competition, a new study reveals there’s growing concern that precisely the opposite is happening.

A full 60% of those who responded to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China said they feel “less welcome” in China. By comparison, only 41% responded that way a year ago.

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Surge in Sales Propels Daimler Profits

Revenues up 6% as demand grows for new S-Class, other models.

by on Jul.23, 2014

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche during a recent product unveiling. Mercedes plans to launch 30 new models by the end of the decade.

Promising to regain its once-formidable lead as the world’s top luxury car manufacturer, Daimler AG has unleashed an unprecedented product assault that has begun gaining traction with consumers – driving a surge in second-quarter sales and earnings for the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands.

With revenues up 6%, to $42.4 billion, Daimler posted a net profit of nearly $3 billion for the April to June period. But perhaps more telling was the fact that earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, shot to 7.9% of revenue during the latest quarter, up from 6.4% a year earlier.

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“We are growing profitably, our strategy is bearing fruit,” said Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche in statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We are very satisfied with the second quarter and continue to work effectively on structural improvements.”

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Smart Offers First Tease of New Fortwo and Forfour Models

Look for official launch in Paris later this year.

by on Jul.09, 2014

Daimler is providing a little glimpse at its Smart microcars, the Smart Fortwo and Forfour, in this rendering in advance of the Paris Motor Show.

After a seemingly endless delay, Daimler’s microcar division, Smart, is finally getting ready to roll out two all-new models that, it hopes, will pump some life into the struggling brand.

While we won’t get a first look at the sheet metal until the upcoming Paris Motor Show, Smart has offered some teaser images of the new Fortwo and Forfour models – some rough exterior renderings, as well as close-ups of a few interior and exterior details.

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We’ve also gotten a sense of what’s coming, not from Smart, but from Renault, the French automaker that partnered up with Daimler AG and has taken lead in the development of not just the two new Smart microcars, but also the Renault Twingo that made its own debut, last March, at the Geneva Motor Show. (more…)

Daimler Trucks Puts Autonomous Big Rig on the Road

German maker believes its self-driving semi will be ready by 2025.

by on Jul.03, 2014

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard shows off Daimer Truck's Future Truck 2025 that uses the maker's Highway Pilot System to drive autonomously.

In the ‘70s classic movie, “Duel,” a seemingly driverless tanker truck terrorizes an innocent salesperson driving to his next call along a remote stretch of highway. Could a driverless big rig – minus the stalkerish behavior – be part of our future?

Daimler Trucks thinks so. In fact, it’s betting big on it and showed its ante with the introduction of its Future Truck 2025 earlier today in Germany. Using the truckmaker’s Highway Pilot system, the prototype semi-truck is capable of driving itself while hauling a full load at speeds exceeding 50 mph, according to the company.

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“The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself.” Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses, at the debut of the truck earlier today. (more…)