Daimler Credit Rating, R&D Spending Rise. Coincidence?
S&P has upgraded Daimler's long term corporate credit rating, from a BBB+ to an A-. According to Thomson Financial News (via CNN Money), the S&P "expects Mercedes-Benz cars to be able to improve profitability further, based on the new models available and the better resilience to adverse economic trends generally attributed to premium cars, despite the weakening of the U.S. automotive market, where about one-fifth of Mercedes-Benz cars are sold." Got all that? With earnings on track to meet investor goals, Daimler is not resting on its laurels. The Car Connection reports that Daimler will be upping R&D spending, with plans to drop $21b between now and 2010. Claiming that Daimler has made significant breakthroughs in Lithium Ion battery cooling systems, CEO Dieter Zetsche laid out Daimler's development path. "(It is) clear that we won't be changing our strategy and building only small cars from now on now on," says Dr. Z. "Our route to sustainable mobility is based on technological innovations, not renunciation… we aim to offer at least one model in each of the Mercedes-Benz core model series that a leader in fuel consumption." But, in what appears to be a case of either ADD or indecision, Daimler will continue to push hydrogen vehicles. "To date, Daimler has made more progress with fuel cell technology than any another automaker and we plan to expand our lead in this area," say Zetsche.