Dieter Zetsche leaves Daimler: “Future mobility will be more expensive”
After 13 years as Daimler’s leading man, Dieter Zetsche (66) is leaving the helm of the German premium manufacturer to Ola Källenius, the 49 year old, Swedish born R&D Director.
In his departure speech Chairman of the Board Zetsche has stressed that economies will be needed to compensate the huge investments in electrification and autonomous driving technologies.
“New technologies come at a cost, future mobility will be more expensive and it’s our task to limit the impact for our clients”, Zetsche explained.
In his 13 years Dieter Zetsche has made Daimler overcome the financial crisis and the painful divorce with Chrysler. Daimler is also shattered by the so-called Dieselgate, be it in a lesser way than competitor Volkswagen.
“Without Zetsche Daimler would no longer exist”, claims the famous car market analyst Ferdinand Dudenhöffer. “He has saved the company from bankruptcy.”
For his successor Zetsche has one important recommendation: “We have to reduce costs and heighten efficiency. We can not be satisfied with the actual rate of profitability.”
An accelerated electrification is necessary at Mercedes to be able to comply with the EU regulations on CO2 emissions and that will cost a lot of money. At the moment the profit margin is 7,8% and Daimler foresees “between 6 and 8%” for the next years. In 2021 this should be between 8 ad 10%.
“Many things have been prepared by Zetsche”, says Dudenhöffer, “certain things like decarbonising and electrification will just have to be accelerated.”
Källenius is already busy putting his proper accents. Apparently, the Swedish boss is not such a big Smart lover, so the brand (never very profitable) is now shared with Chinese Geely. At the other side coalitions are sealed with direct competitors in the field of new mobility.
Daimler will also be reorganised in a holding with 3 different entities. They should be able to react faster to changing market conditions.
Mercedes-Benz AG will represent cars and commercial vehicles. Daimler Truck AG will manufacture the trucks. Daimler Mobility AG will run the financial department and coordinate the different new mobility offers.
“The new structure wants to attract new financial sources and partners”, says Daimler. But the group denies that certain activities will go IOP, like certain investors have asked.