Lean on Me: Incoming Daimler CEO Aims to Tap Alliances, Get Models Out the Door Faster, Cheaper

Planned successor for Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, Ola Källenius, says Mercedes-Benz will significantly reduce development costs under his supervision by accelerating alliances throughout the industry. This, of course, has everything to do with electric cars, as that’s all auto executives seem capable of discussing anymore.

“The cost structure of the electric car is above that of the combustion engine car. We are working hard on lowering this,” Källenius said on Monday. “We need to work on the cost of vehicle architectures. From where we are now, we need to make a significant step by 2025 in terms of cost.”

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BMW Buying Out Brilliance Automotive in China, Adding Capacity for U.S.

Now that China has relaxed its joint-ownership mandates, BMW has announced that it will procure a majority stake in its venture with Brilliance Automotive. The German firm will be the first foreign automaker to have majority control of its business in the region.

Being first will not come cheaply, however. It will cost BMW $4.2 billion to assume control with a majority stake of 75 percent of the business — albeit as part of a larger deal. All the manufacturer has to do is come up with the funds and wait until 2022, when rules limiting foreign ownership for all Chinese auto ventures are officially lifted.

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As Dr. Z Prepares to Move On, Daimler Taps a Swede for CEO Job

Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz division won’t have Dieter Zetsche at the helm for much longer. The mustachioed, jeans-loving chief executive, who’s headed the automaker since 2000, leaves the position in May, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Dr. Z isn’t leaving the company — come May, the 65-year-old will accept the role of chairman of the group’s supervisory board. Occupying Zetsche’s former position as head of Daimler and the Mercedes-Benz brand will be the first non-German CEO in the company’s exceptionally long history.

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Everything A-Class: Mercedes Planning Eight New Vehicles On New Platform

Mercedes-Benz plans to launch eight cars off the back of the new A-Class and, unsurprisingly, a bunch of them will be crossovers. While North America will have to wait until fall for the A-Class sedan, Europe will see the hatchback much sooner. However, those models are just the start of the upscale brand’s drive to push the platform into every segment its size limitations allows.

The hatch will remain the smallest model, but CEO Dieter Zetsche says Mercedes-Benz needs to keep its rivals on their toes — and the automaker intends to tap the MFA2 platform for that honor. While the expanded lineup gives MB an edge universally, we know which automaker the company is most concerned with: BMW.

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Daimler CEO: Google, Apple Further Along With Car Projects

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said a recent trip to Silicon Valley revealed that tech companies such as Google and Apple were making significant progress on autonomous cars, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported ( via Reuters).

“Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed. At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought,” Zetsche said, according to the report.

Zetsche said he and other managers from the automaker met with tech companies in Silicon Valley, but didn’t disclose what those companies were.

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TTAC News Round-up: Investors Pump the Brakes, Daimler's Dig, and Chapo's Crapwagon

Investors aren’t necessarily drinking automakers’ Kool-Aid that 2016 will be full of beer and Skittles.

That, the China-made Cadillac CT6 that’ll eventually get here, El Chapo’s cheapo getaway car and General Motors’ questions get down and dirty … after the break!

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Renault-Nissan's Carlos Ghosn Banks $16M In 2014

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn did well for himself in 2014, banking around $16 million in compensation compared to the salaries of other automotive CEOs.

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Automakers Continue Support Of Electric Vehicles Despite Weak Sales

Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term.

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Zetsche: Google Better Off As Supplier Than As Automaker

Google may have the right stuff to shake up the auto industry, but Dr. Z doesn’t believe the tech giant will ever be an automaker in its own right.

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Zetsche: There's No Money In The EV Stand

Though Daimler made $780 million off of its recent Tesla stake sale, CEO Dieter Zetsche says there’s no money in the EV stand.

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Daimler, Volkswagen Urge Independence From Google Data Platform

Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.”

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s ability, urging its fellow automakers to develop automotive data platforms that would secure sensitive customer information from the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant.

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Daimler: Unionization Is For The Employees To Decide

Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala.

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Dr. Z Expects a Decade of Disappointment For Fuel Cell Technology
Daimler Not Giving Up On Going After Rolls-Royce and Bentley, New "Super S Class" to Go On Sale in 2015

Though Daimler shuttered its Maybach ultra-luxury brand, it isn’t giving up on selling cars in the $200,000+ price range. With the $470,000 Maybach, Mercedes-Benz tried to compete with ne plus ultra cars like the Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls Royce Phantom. In the ten years that the Maybach was produced, Daimler sold about 3,000 of them, about how many Phantoms Rolls-Royce sells in a year.

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Papal Visit Set Zetsche On His Road To Damascus

If it weren’t for a Papal visit, Dr. Z may never have come to know Mercedes-Benz.

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  • Master Baiter I like the references to Red Barchetta. My fun car is a spiritual cousin to this Miata: 2001 BMW M Roadster--green with tan leather; five speed.
  • Arthur Dailey I believe that removing the screen from the instrument panel would greatly improve the looks of the interior. What of the Recaro seats? Any that I have tried have been too narrow across the back. Have they 'modified' them to fit North American drivers?
  • Cprescott IIHS has to stay relevant by changing the rules in mid-stream and then it gets to falsely claim a car is unsafe. Point of fact that most vehicles on the road passed the pre-existing test and that IIHS should only test NEW products to the new test and to let the current models alone. The clown who used to be the face of IIHS was an arrogant little troll who loved to get face time for his arbitrary changes that he imposed.I understand things change, but an ethical organization would have a set name for a test and when the test changed, so would the name and the new test could not be imposed upon a vehicle it already tested with the old one. The manufacturer could point to the prior passed test and that would have been ethical. I'm surprised that IIHS hasn't gone back years to show how the new standard would have failed all current vehicles ever made - the cars didn't get less safe, but the test would make you think so.
  • Arthur Dailey Nearly a decade since Suzuki withdrew from the N.A. markets? Seems like just yesterday. They did make some 'decent' cars for the budget conscious. The Sidekick, Vitara and Grand Vitara all being favourites among my friends/colleagues from the former Soviet Union. They respect the simplicity and versatility of these vehicles. Particularly when they have the traditional body on frame structure.
  • Arthur Dailey Had a 210 'Sunny', 2-door. It was a base model with zero options (for example a rubber floor without any carpeting), that we used as a courier style vehicle. It took all kinds of aggravation/bad treatment, received only minimal maintenance and never once complained or let us down.