As it moves ahead with its restructuring plans, Daimler AG expects “to accelerate” its move into electric vehicles, the company’ top executives said during the company’s annual shareholders meeting, held virtually for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.
“This year Mercedes-Benz Cars is significantly expanding its offering of fully electric vehicles,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and of Mercedes-Benz AG, during his presentation.
“The list includes the compact electric model EQA will be followed shortly by the EQS, which will make its official debut digitally on April 15 and will be the first true luxury car that is a full battery electric vehicle and a range of up range of up to 770 kilometers and the EQB as well as the EQE later this year.”
Plans beyond cars
Also, Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to enrich its portfolio with electric vehicles: before the end of the year concepts for an electrified Citan and the T-Class will be presented. Daimler Trucks & Buses is also focusing on carbon-neutral passenger and goods transportation. Series production of the eActros, which has a range of well over 200 kilometers and is suitable for urban heavy goods and distribution transport, will start in fall this year, Källenius said.
For longer distances with a range of about 500 kilometers, the eActros LongHaul is being developed for market launch as of 2024. In addition, fuel-cell trucks are scheduled to go into series production in the second half of the decade. With the buses, the eCitaro and the articulated eCitaro are two vehicles already available for carbon-neutral urban transport, he added.
Daimler claims industry’s largest EV fleet
“Today, Daimler has the broadest electric range in the automotive industry — from city cars to heavy-duty trucks. But that’s not enough for us. We want to accelerate the electrification of our product portfolio. Almost two years ago, we presented our Ambition2039. We want a carbon-neutral fleet of new cars. It’s our goal to reach this target sooner,” Källenius said
Källenius also said the prerequisite for the breakthrough of electric mobility is an efficient public charging infrastructure which expands to keep pace with the electric ramp up of manufacturers.
To meet the European Commission’s carbon emissions targets, Europe needs 3 million public charging points by the end of the decade, he noted.
“Today, we don’t even have a tenth of this. We need to speed this up. Daimler, as part of the auto industry, will play its part. For example, we will further expand the Ionity charging network. I am convinced: When industry and politics work hand in hand, we move forward together. We should not focus our efforts only on banning the status quo. We should make possible the new, this is key,” said Källenius.
Efforts to shape the future
“We want to shape the future. We are on the right track financially. Now we are keeping up the pace in order to achieve our profitability targets on a sustainable basis. Under strong market conditions, we strive for a double-digit margin at Mercedes-Benz Cars,” said Källenius.
Daimler’s Board of Management was aware of its great responsibility towards employees, also with the targeted restructuring of sites.
“In the long run, it benefits no one to work in a plant with a great tradition. It’s more important to work in plants with a great future. We do not wait for change — we are the ones who are changing. We will continue growing profitably and at the same time help make this world climate neutral with the aid of exceptional engineering and with a deep sense of conviction,” he said.
Restructuring moving ahead
The restructuring, which will be put to a vote of shareholders next autumn, calls for splitting the company into two industrial divisions during the industrial transformation and to create sustainable value, according to the plan laid out by the Board of Management and Supervisory Board decided in February 2021.
Daimler intends to spin off Daimler Truck and list it on the stock exchange. It is planned to transfer a significant majority stake in Daimler Truck to the Daimler shareholders.
“With a clear focus on commercial vehicles on one side, premium cars and vans on the other, we are creating the preconditions for more financially successful companies and thus also offer enhanced long-term job security. It is a matter of fact that the transformation of the automotive industry more than ever requires speed and an undivided focus on innovation,” said Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the board of supervisors.
The transaction and the listing of Daimler Truck on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. It is also intended to rename Daimler as Mercedes-Benz in due course. The planned spinoff will be under voting at an Extraordinary Shareholder’s Meeting which is planned to take place in fall of 2021.