During the 2010s, Daimler refocused its attention on its core strengths following an ill-conceived attempt to establish a global automotive giant in the form of DaimlerChrysler. That group was created in 1998 by a mammoth merger which took the rest of the motoring industry almost completely by surprise. Until then, Daimler-Benz had been known as Europe's leading industrialist, with a gold-plated reputation for the highest quality engineering, epitomized by its Mercedes-Benz automobile marque. Yet in the mid-1990s, the company was accused of putting too high a value on quality and luxury and not enough on profitability. Restructuring led to a sharp new entrepreneurial edge by the end of the decade. The merger with Chrysler established the enlarged group as the #5 carmaker worldwide. DaimlerChrysler subsequently made a concerted push into Asia through the effective takeover of Mitsubishi Motors and a strategic alliance with Hyundai of Korea, but both those deals were unwound in 2004. Recurring problems at Chrysler as well eventually persuaded the group to abandon that experiment too in 2007. Instead Daimler has concentrated its attentions ever since on its prestigious Mercedes-Benz passenger car brand and one of the world's leading heavy trucks and buses businesses. Brands in the latter segment include Freightliner Trucks in the US, Evobus and Setra in Europe and Mitsubishi Fuso in Asia. In 2010, the group agreed a global partnership with Renault and Nissan to cooperate on small cars and light commercial vehicles. However, more recently it ceded control of its own Smart small car business, a chronic under-performer, to Chinese carmaker Geely. The group also has interests in a variety of digital mobility services including ride-hailing, transport ticketing and parking. These were consolidated in 2019 into Share Now, a joint venture with BMW. Long-serving chief Dieter Zetsche stepped down in 2019 and was succeeded as CEO by Olla Kallenius. Unit sales fell 15% from 3.3m in 2019 to a little under 2.5m cars & vans and 379k trucks & buses. In 2021, the group announced plans to spin off the trucks and buses division as a separate corporate entity - Daimler Truck Holding - in order to focus solely on the Mercedes-Benz passenger car and vans business. Shareholders approved the separation in October 2021. The old Daimler corporate entity became Mercedes-Benz Group in Feb 2022. Combined revenues for 2021 - including both Mercedes-Benz Group and Daimler Truck - were €168.0bn with net income of €23.4bn
Capsule checked 20th September 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 11th Mar 2021: BMW and Daimler are to sell their digital parking division Park Now to Swedish rival EasyPark. Park Now operates a collection of different apps that allows users to reserve, book, and pay for parking spaces. Brands being transferred include RingGo (the dominant parking app in the UK, and especially in London), Park Now (in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria), Park-line (the Netherlands) and Parkmobile (US, Canada and Australia). EasyPark operates a similar range of services in Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, France and Germany). BMW and Daimler retain a collection of ride-hailing and electric charge location apps.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Feb 2021: Daimler announced a plan to split itself into two entirely separate companies before the end of 2021. Under the proposed arrangement, the group's market-leading trucks and buses division would be split out as a separate entity, majority owned by existing Daimler shareholders, with an IPO planned for a minority stake at the end of 2021. Daimler Truck is already the world's leading truck and bus manufacturer. The remaining Daimler corporate entity would be centred around the Mercedes-Benz passenger car and light commercial vehicles business, and would change its name accordingly to Mercedes-Benz. Full details will be presented to shareholders for their approval in Q3.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Dec 2019: Just a few weeks after pooling their mobility services under the Share Now banner, Daimler and BMW announced plans to suspend operations of car-sharing services Car2Go and Drive Now throughout North America, as well as in London, Brussels and Florence. Share Now blamed the pullout on "rising infrastructure complexities" in North America and low adoption rates in those three European cities. The service will continue in 18 other European cities.
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Nov 2019: German car giants Daimler and BMW unveiled the first fruits of their previously agreed mobility joint venture. Share Now will gradually absorb their two existing car-share ventures, Daimler's Car2Go and BMW's Drive Now. Together these currently serve around 4m customers in 31 cities in continental Europe and North America. The current brands will be phased out in favour of Share Now, and a series of other similar ventures will follow. Reach Now will absorb the Moovel service which allows customers to book public transport tickets; Free Now is the venture's Uber competitor, absorbing the currently separate MyTaxi, Chauffeur Privé, Clever Taxi and Beat; Park Now offers smartphone-operated ticketless parking services in more than 1,100 cities under the Parkmobile or Park Now brands.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Mar 2019: Daimler has agreed to transfer its Smart city car brand into a newly created 50/50 joint venture with Chinese carmaker Geely, makers of China's best-selling homegrown brand as well as Volvo and Lotus. From 2022, all new Smart vehicles will be electric-only, produced from a new custom-built site in China. No terms were disclosed for the deal.
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