Daimler has successfully 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. 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 on its prestigious Mercedes passenger car brand, the Smart urban runabout and one of the world's leading heavy trucks businesses. In 2010, Daimler agreed a global partnership with Renault and Nissan to cooperate on small cars and light commercial vehicles.
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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.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: Daimler completed a review of global media, consolidating all duties not with Publicis as many had anticipated but with Omnicom Media Group. Earlier this year, creative and digital for Mercedes-Benz was awarded to a newly created Publicis Emil entity, replacing incumbent BBDO. However the media appointment maintains a split of duties between those two groups. Media in the US and some other countries was already being managed by Omnicom, while Publicis held Europe through dedicated unit Fuel. WPP, which had retained media in several other markets, mostly in Asia, was eliminated. No details of how the media account will now be handled have been disclosed; presumably Omnicom will create a dedicated entity of its own.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Sep 2018: Daimler's long-serving leader Dieter Zetsche will step down from an executive role next year after 12 years as CEO to become chairman of the automaker's supervisory board. He will be replaced as chairman of the management board, and also as head of Mercedes-Benz cars, by Ola Kallenius, currently board member for research and development.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jul 2016: UK taxi-hailing pioneer Hailo secured a lifeline in its battle with the ubiquitous Uber. It has agreed to merge with rival MyTaxi, which is wholly owned by automotive giant Daimler. As a result, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz brand will end up with around 60% of the merged business, which will adopt the MyTaxi name. In addition to London, Hailo also operates in Ireland and Spain, while MyTaxi covers Germany, Austria, Italy and Poland. This deal is likely to be the precursor to further consolidation in the market, as rival operators join forces to combat Uber.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jul 2015: Carmakers have been having a generally good year, with sales in Europe in particulart, at their best levels since before 2008. At the top end of the market, Daimler shifted a record 500,700 Mercdes-Benz units in 1H, while revenues and earnings were both above expectations. Profit margins hit 10.5%, the first time in a decade the company achieved a double-digit margin. General Motors' 2Q profits quadrupled year-on-year to $1.2bn as it put recall and quality worries behind it. European losses also improved significantly. The numbers were ahead of expectations, although revenues slipped 5% to $37bn on currencies. Ford too had a great quarter, with net earnings up 44% to $1.9bn, and its biggest quarterly profit from automotive operations since 2000. A key element in all three companies' results was their continuing resilience in an otherwise slowing China market. However, rival Hyundai suffered a sharp fall. That contributed to a 6th consecutive decline in quarterly profits for the Korean manufacturer. The China slowdown also weighed on Volkswagen Group, but not enough to stop it from overtaking Toyota to seize the #1 spot in global sales for the first half of the year, with shipments of 5.04m vehicles. Toyota suffered a 1.5% decline to 5.02m vehicles, while GM remained in third place at 4.9m units.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Feb 2014: Daimler reported record results for 2013, with best-ever performance in unit sales (2.35m cars, vans, trucks and buses) and revenues (€118bn). Net profit of €8.7bn (equivalent to around $9.3bn) was not only the group's own best performance to-date, but also topped results delivered so far by any of its automotive rivals. All four Daimler divisions reported increases in unit sales, though the biggest contributor to the 28% jump in net profit was the sale of the group's remaining shares in aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jan 2014: Publicis Groupe announced further details of its newly created dedicated media agency for Daimler in Europe. It won the business last year from incumbent MEC on the condition that a separate entity would be formed to house the business. That unit has been named as Fuel@VivaKi, and will operate in 14 markets across the region, handling the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands. The network will be led in Germany, its biggest market, by former ZenithOptimedia executive Dirk Lux.
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