It’s a small matter, perhaps, but one worth noting. Daimler AG announced last week that it is formally changing its name to Mercedes-Benz Group AG on Tues., Feb. 1, 2022.
The move comes after the company’s truck division was spun off as Daimler Truck AG in December. It’s listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The move was approved by Daimler AG stockholders in October.
By spinning off the truck division, the company hopes to unlock shareholder value for both companies. Executives now expect that Mercedes-Benz Group AG will now be thought of as a true luxury EV automaker, one mentioned alongside Tesla, Lucid or Rivian, and boasting a similar multiple. But that’s a tall order given that markets value traditional automakers at lower multiples than neophyte startups.
“Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans and Daimler Trucks & Buses are different businesses with specific customer groups, technology paths, and capital needs,” said CEO Ola Källenius in December 2021. “Both companies operate in industries that are facing major technological and structural changes,” he added.
In 2021, the company sold more than 2.4 million cars, CUVs, SUVs and vans in 2021 despite semiconductor supply chain shortages. In addition, the company set sales records for HEVs, PHEVS and EVs as well as high-end Maybach, AMG and G-Class vehicles.
More changes to come
When the move was first announced, Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG, said Daimler Truck and Mercedes-Benz will be better able to master the industry’s current transformation.
The company is looking to change its car line-up to one powered entirely by electric motors by 2030, as well as gradually shift toward a direct sales model to better control pricing, increase net revenue per vehicle as well as from digital services. The automaker plans to spend more than 60 billion euros on its transformation from 2022 to 2026.
Under the new plan, Mercedes-Benz will continue developing electric vehicles, vans, SUVs, luxury cars, and self-driving cars. Daimler will focus on zero-emission drivelines for trucks and buses as well as integrate autonomous driving technology into its heavy-duty vehicles.
What will soon be known as Mercedes-Benz Group AG was originally two companies: Benz & Cie., founded in 1883 by Carl Benz, and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, founded in 1890 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. Daimler first used the Mercedes name in 1902, and is named for the daughter of Daimler dealer Emil Jellinek.
The companies merged in 1926, becoming Daimler-Benz AG. This remained the company’s name until 1998, when Daimler-Benz AG merged with the Chrysler Corporation to become DaimlerChrysler. When Daimler sold Chrysler to Cerberus in 2007, the corporation changed its name to Daimler AG.
The move should clarify what most consumers don’t know: Mercedes-Benz is merely a brand name sold by Daimler AG. It will become both a corporate name and a brand for the first time on Feb. 1, 2022. It will also mark the restore the name Benz to the corporate nameplate for the first time since 1998.