Daimler Credit Rating, R&D Spending Rise. Coincidence?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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.

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4 of 5 comments
  • JJ JJ on Apr 17, 2008

    At the moment the're getting beaten on the economy front by BMW. At least in Europe this is the case, although Merc is trying to strike back now. In the US only the high-end engines are offered so the difference is probably less noticable. Anyway, maybe the fact that the brilliant (NOT, well maybe concerning their own compensation they are) management at BMW is lowering their expenses, which will ultimately lead to a quality slump like the one Mercedes is still trying to crawl out of right now, is good news for Daimler's credit rating. More likely though, Chrysler is gone, so the company finally has some focus again. Also, I think it is very wise of them to push for both Lion technology as well as hydrogen, because right now it's really unclear what will have the future, unless of course your argument is that Daimler is able to singlehandedly influence that by persuing just one path. I'm guessing neither one will be succesful, certainly not Lion, hydrogen maybe...

  • Levi Levi on Apr 17, 2008
    More likely though, Chrysler is gone, so the company finally has some focus again. There you go. Daimler paid Cerberus to take Chrysler, demonstrating to the financial/credit market their willingness to do whatever it takes to re-focus. Daimler has been rewarded with a sight bump in their credit rating. If Daimler is increasing R&D, then maybe they aren't asleep at the switch. What an expensive alarm clock. But a dozen alarm clocks haven't awakened GM...
  • G48135 G48135 on Apr 17, 2008

    The biggest thing Daimler has got its sights set on???? Diesel, in a big way. EPA 2010 regulations pretty much end the aftertreatment technology side of things. Once the tech is in place, all it's going to take is tweaking in order to get any new regulations. It's all software and downhill from here. Who cares about $5/gallon diesel when you're getting 60 MPG with a 1.4 liter diesel, with enough DPF and SCR exhaust aftertreatment to shoot puppies, kittens, and sunshine out the tailpipe.

  • Windswords Windswords on Apr 18, 2008

    "Would you buy a hydrogen car from this man?" Hell, I wouldn't buy a horse drawn cart from him.