Daimler Is Just Going to Be Mercedes-Benz, Says CEO

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Daimler had decided some serious changes need to be made before the end of 2021, including a name swap and separate listing for its commercial truck division. While the reason given was to better facilitate the company’s transition toward a “zero- emissions and software-driven future,” investors have been critical of Daimler’s share price after it cratered in March of last year. Though we would argue the bigger concern is the automaker’s lackluster (or absent) growth and declining revenue since 2018.

Regardless, CEO Ola Källenius believes continued changes to the firm’s corporate structure are the only way to go. By 2022, Daimler will simply be known as Mercedes-Benz and have spun off Daimler Trucks with its own listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Based on rival manufacturers who have taken similar measures (e.g. Volvo), Daimler leadership assumes its truck and bus division can might see broader operating margins if its allowed to fly solo. This is especially important for Daimler’s European trucking operations, which have been struggling far worse than their American equivalent at Freightliner.

“This is a historic moment for Daimler,” Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, said in Wednesday’s release. “It represents the start of a profound reshaping of the company. Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans and Daimler Trucks & Buses are different businesses with specific customer groups, technology paths and capital needs. Mercedes-Benz is the world’s most valuable luxury car brand, offering the most desirable cars to discerning customers. Daimler Truck supplies industry leading transportation solutions and services to customers. Both companies operate in industries that are facing major technological and structural changes. Given this context, we believe they will be able to operate most effectively as independent entities, equipped with strong net liquidity and free from the constraints of a conglomerate structure.”

By raising the profitability of Daimler Trucks, it’s also assumed that the unit will be in a better position to develop and implement advanced technologies. This includes the obligatory battery and fuel-cell trucks, in addition to autonomous driving functionalities. There’s also a customer retention program in the works that will be tied to mobility and data services.

From Daimler:

As part of a more focused corporate structure, both Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Truck will also be supported by dedicated captive financial and mobility service entities, driving sales with tailor-made financing, leasing and mobility solutions, increasing retention and building customer loyalty. In this process, the company plans to assign resources and teams from today’s Daimler Mobility to both Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Truck.

While the exact timing has yet to be decided, Daimler stated that “a significant majority stake” in the trucking business will be distributed to shareholders. Daimler Truck will have a wholly independent management team and an independent Chairman of the Supervisory Board. It’s expected to be listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange by the end of 2021. A separate announcement regarding the name change (and any other tweaks made to Mercedes-Benz) has also been planned.

“We have confidence in the financial and operational strength of our two vehicle divisions. And we are convinced that independent management and governance will allow them to operate even faster, invest more ambitiously, target growth and cooperation, and thus be significantly more agile and competitive,” Källenius stated.

[Image: Franz12/Shutterstock.com]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • RHD RHD on Feb 03, 2021

    Will any of this help the company(ies) sell more vehicles? Probably not. Will it help them make more profit by finagling the taxes a bit more? Most likely. Will they still share the parts bin? Yeah, they'll figure out a way. Does anyone really care about this? Well, not really, no. Will Mercedes still be the German Hyundai, at least in the looks department? Signs point to yes.

  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Feb 09, 2021

    Always been a little bit of a confusing name, seeing as the only Daimler branded cars I've ever seen have been range topping Jaguars (I think they used the Vanden Plas name in the states) Mercedes car range was strangely never harmed by their badge being used on vans, buses and trucks. I'd say more harm has came from the easy-finance Renault-Megane-based A class, a status symbol equivalent to a Ford Focus.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.