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Daimler Spends $1.15B Building Two EV Battery Plants

German vehicle maker readying two plants to make batteries.

by on May.23, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel examines some of the technology that will be used at Daimler's new EV battery plant.

With investments in electric vehicles and batteries continuing to climb in the industrial world, Germany’s Daimler AG has broken ground for a new 500-million-euro battery factory near Dresden that is being described as one of the largest and most modern plants of its kind in the world.

“The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

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“The battery factory in Kamenz is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than ten purely electric passenger cars in series. We also continue to drive forward the hybridization of our fleet. Under the EQ brand, we are creating a holistic ecosystem for e-mobility,” said Zetsche, who was accompanied to the ground-breaking ceremony by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (more…)

Zetsche Offers New Look at Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz CLA

Dr. Z puts on the camouflage.

by on May.17, 2017

Dr. Z grabs a selfie along with the slightly disguised, next-gen Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Mercedes-Benz has a lot riding on the little CLA. The little sedan proved to be one of the biggest hits in the maker’s history when it made its debut four years ago. And with a new version in the works, we’ve been scrambling to get some idea of what it will look like.

We got our first hint at the Shanghai Motor Show last month when Mercedes rolled out the Concept A, a rather thinly disguised version of the next-gen A-Class model that shares its underpinnings with the CLA, GLA sport-ute and other compact Benz models.

We Strip Off the Disguise!

Now, we’re getting another look at this downsized family thanks to Dieter Zetsche, the mustachioed CEO of Daimler AG and head of the Mercedes brand, who, in words and pics and words posted on LinkedIn, is sharing his experience driving the new small car family.

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Daimler Profits Double in First Quarter 2017

Mercedes-Benz record sales lead to impressive results.

by on Apr.27, 2017

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said the company rode strong sales from Mercedes-Benz to strong profits in the first quarter.

Record sales by Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans helped Daimler AG double its profits during the first quarter.

“A very successful quarter lies behind us,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, adding the company continues to implement its strategy for sustainable growth.

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“Ahead of us, we have a variety of opportunities for further profitable growth. We do have the right products to take advantage of these opportunities – and the financial strength to make the necessary investments. The latest example: our new S-class. Daimler remains in the fast lane,” Zetsche said. (more…)

Daimler Cautions it Could Be Target for Diesel Penalties and Recalls

Warning comes days after court approves $2.8b VW diesel fine.

by on Apr.26, 2017

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec is one a number of different Daimler diesels.

Daimler AG is finding itself in the crosshairs and wondering whether it could be the next target in a crackdown on diesel emissions scams.

The automaker today issued an advisory that it could face penalties, which could mean fines and recalls, as regulators in the U.S. and abroad look to see if the German luxury maker violated rules covering its various diesel models. Authorities have been taking a close look at claims made by a number of manufacturers in the wake of revelations that Volkswagen used a so-called “defeat device” to illegally pass U.S. diesel emissions tests.

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“In light of the ongoing governmental information requests, inquiries and investigations, and our own internal investigation, it cannot be ruled out that the authorities might reach the conclusion that Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles have similar functionalities,” Daimler said in its newly released quarterly report.

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A Quarter of Miles Driven by 2030 Could Be in Driverless Battery-Cars

Self-driving tech coming to market sooner than expected.

by on Apr.10, 2017

A fully driverless version of this Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid could soon be a common sight.

Both Daimler and Ford plan to have their first fully driverless cars in production by 2025, far sooner than many might have expected just a few years ago. Meanwhile, after a slow start, a new generation of longer range, more affordable battery-cars are just starting to come to market.

By pairing those two technologies, automakers and ride-sharing companies could radically transform the way Americans travel, predicts a new study by the Boston Consulting Group. It predicts that fully a quarter of the miles Americans clock on the road will, by 2025, be driven inside fully driverless battery vehicles operated by ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

“When you take shared vehicles, electrified powertrains suddenly make sense, and it becomes even more practical at this level of autonomy,” said Justin Rose, one of the Chicago-based co-authors of the new BCG study.

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The consulting firm isn’t the first to predict a bright future for autonomous vehicles operated by ride-sharing services. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, has long argued that driverless vehicles will lower the cost of his service to the point it will be cheaper than owning a car. Lyft co-CEO John Zimmerman last year forecast privately owned vehicles will all but vanish from major urban centers within a decade.

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Daimler, Bosch Team Up to Launch Robo-Cabs by 2021

Level 5 system will target ride-sharing services.

by on Apr.04, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept is one example of what a luxury robo-cab might look like.

Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, says it is teaming up with mega-supplier Bosch to develop a driverless car the partners plan to put on the road by 2021.

The announcement follow new that Daimler had struck a deal with Uber, the ride-sharing giant that hopes to significantly lower its operating costs by fielding fleets of driverless vehicles. It also comes a day after a new study was released by Navigant Research naming Daimler one of the leaders in the fast-emerging field of autonomous driving.

The Future is Now!

“The prime objective of the project is to achieve the production-ready development of a driving system which will allow cars to drive fully autonomously in the city,” said a statement announcing the new Daimler-Bosch partnership. “The idea behind it is that the vehicle will come to the driver, not the other way around.”

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Despite Trump Pressure, Daimler Not Expanding US Production

Zetsche said Germany will remain "backbone" of manufacturing.

by on Mar.30, 2017

Daimler executives said that despite pressure from President Donald Trump, the company will not be adding to is production footprint in the U.S.

At this point, Daimler AG has no plans to expand its production capacity in the United States, executives said during the course of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin.

Since even before taking office in January, President Donald Trump has been leaning on automakers, both domestic and foreign, to build more vehicles in the U.S.

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Trump was barely mentioned during the Daimler meeting. One shareholder suggested that the company set up a fund to help defend the European Union from Trump. But Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Daimler Supervisory Board, said the measure could not be taken up at the meeting because it had not submitted prior to the meeting. (more…)

Zetsche: Daimler Preparing to Meet Different Challenges

CEO says company's financial strength key to flexibility.

by on Mar.29, 2017

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said the company is using its financial strength to meet the often contradictory challenges it faces.

Daimler AG continues to use its financial strength to push innovation as it faces the multifaceted challenges that often seem to be pulling the auto industry in opposite directions, the company’s top executive told the company’s shareholders at the automaker’s annual meeting in Berlin.

“We demonstrated once again in 2016: The combination of financial strength and innovativeness is stronger than ever at Daimler,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

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“At the same time, we initiated the biggest transformation in our company history last year,” Zetsche said as Daimler is developing further from a position of strength for the next generation of customers, employees and shareholders. (more…)

Valmet Building Mercedes Next-Gen Small Cars in Finland

Valmet currently building Mercedes GLC, A-Class already.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Mercedes plans to build its next-gen small car on the same line as the GLC and the A-Class by Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Mercedes-Benz plans to expand its ties to Valmet Automotive, the Finnish company that has built electrified vehicles for companies such as Think and Fisker as well as sports cars for Porsche. It also builds the A-Class and GLC at the plant.

Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced this week that Valmet will produce the next generation of compact cars at its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Finnish company has been building the other Mercedes vehicles at the site since 2013.

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“We are convinced that the next generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars continues on its road to success,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management, in a statement. (more…)

China Epicenter of New Development in Car Industry

Zetsche says push for EVs, size of market make country crucial.

by on Mar.21, 2017

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company plans to build and sell the newly unveiled EQ brand of electric vehicles in China.

China will likely serve as the stage where the auto industry’s future plays out in the years to come, two key executives from Daimler AG told a Beijing Forum organized to discuss the future of the Chinese economy.

“The automotive industry is experiencing fundamental change: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. Each of these has the power to turn our entire industry upside down. And I truly believe: China can be ‘the turbo’ of this transformation,” Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the forum as he outlined some of the key trends re-shaping the auto industry.

Global Auto News!

“Electric mobility, for instance, is developing quickly here. And we are aiming to further contribute to this development by planning to produce our new generation of electric Mercedes-Benz models also in China. We are committed to delivering innovation and believe to have a common target with our partners: a both sustainable and highly fascinating auto industry in China,” Zetsche noted. (more…)