Mercedes-Benz plant Sindelfingen starts production of the Compact SUV GLA

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The ‘Innovation Factory‘ at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant: the Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant Michael Bauer (left) and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council (right) are celebrating the start of production of the compact SUV GLA with the team.

“With the GLA, the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is producing a compact model for the first time proving its high flexibility. With the project ‘Innovation Factory’ we are shaping the future of production at Mercedes-Benz Cars. At the same time we are supporting our global production network by providing quickly additional capacities. Our employees contribute a major part with their long-term experience and a high level of motivation”, explains Michael Bauer.

The production of the compact SUV GLA at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, which is about 20 km away of the company headquarters in Stuttgart, marks the starting point for the pilot project ‘Innovation Factory’. Cutting-edge production technologies which feature the ‘Factory 56’, one of the most modern car productions, are tested previously in the ‘Innovation Factory’: from innovative Industry 4.0 solutions to a work organization with flexible working models, the project covers almost all aspects of a future-oriented production.


Mercedes-Benz Cars: World premier of the “Factory 56” – the most modern car production in the world

Mercedes-Benz turns idea of employees into success stories


“We do have a highly qualified team that compensates order peaks of the GLA production. Thus Sindelfingen is proving its leading role as an innovation and competence center for new technologies. We, the works councils, are getting closer to our aim producing more vehicles in Sindelfingen. Our effort is to prepare the plant for future challenges and to ensure the employment. I am pleased, that our hard work paid off to make the location strong for the future”, says Ergun Lümali.

The GLA has been rolling off the production line at the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant since 2013, and also at the Chinese production site of Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation (BBAC) in Beijing since 2015. Since the market launch of the GLA in 2014, more than 500,000 customers have already chosen the compact SUV. Rastatt, the lead plant for the GLA as well as for the A- and B-Class, is running at its full capacity. The production of the vehicle in Sindelfingen creates additional capacities until the end of the product life cycle. For the first time a compact vehicle with front-wheel drive is produced at the Sindelfingen plant, known as the center of competence for rear-wheel drive vehicles in the luxury and upper-range classes.

The GLA is characterized by its sportily dynamic design idiom, light-footed handling and extensive individualization range. As the first compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz it brought a breath of fresh air to its market segment and established itself there as a major player. In 2017 the GLA was most successful in the markets China, USA, Germany and Great Britain. The GLA portfolio meets all individual mobility requirements of its customers.

About the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant

The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant is the center of competence for upper-range and luxury-class vehicles, and also the lead plant for the production of the S- and E-Class model series. This will also be the location for the prospective production of electric vehicles of the new EQ product and technology brand. Together with the central production organization of Mercedes-Benz Cars, the plant employs a workforce of more than 25,000. The site is the location for the production of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Sedan and Estate), the CLS, the S-Class (Sedan, Coupé and Cabriolet), the Mercedes-Maybach and the Mercedes-AMG GT family. Around 250 vehicles a day are delivered at the Mercedes-Benz customer center in Sindelfingen.

Source: Daimler Global Media Site

Daimler invests in the start-up Anagog

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Sabine Scheunert, Vice President of Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars announced the investment of Daimler AG in the start-up Anagog at the Mobile World Congress 2018.
  • Investment intensifies cooperation
  • Analysis and prediction of user behaviour with the aid of artificial intelligence
  • EQ Ready App already on the German market

Stuttgart/Tel Aviv – Daimler AG is intensifying its cooperation with the start-up Anagog Ltd. Daimler has participated in a financing round together with MizMaa Ventures, a venture capital company located in California. Based in Tel Aviv, Anagog has developed software which analyses user behavior directly in the mobile phone with the aid of the various on-handset sensors, and on the basis of artificial intelligence it predicts future movement scenarios.

Through this data analysis the mobile handset understands what the user is doing and the environment in which they are located. This means that various contextual services can be generated to improve the user experience. Anagog’s patented technology changes the rules of the game when it comes to using artificial intelligence on mobile phones and other wearables, without the aid of any backend servers.


The Mobility Status Company from ANAGOG

“We want to make the best digital services available not just to our customers, but to all mobile phone owners. We are improving every digital touchpoint in the mobility behaviour of our customers and thus increasing their independence”, says Sabine Scheunert, Vice President of Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With the investment in Anagog we are a big step closer to achieving this goal. This step also fits with the strategic approach taken by Daimler AG in investing in appropriate start-ups and supporting them as they grow.”

A significant advantage of the Anagog development “JedAI SDK” (Software Development Kit) here is the high data and privacy protection which grants the users full control over their data, as no data transfer to a backend server is required.

Anagog was founded in 2010 and in 2017 it participated in the start-up programme ‘The Bridge’ supported by Mercedes-Benz. The first joint development has already been on the German market since September 2017 in the form of the EQ Ready App. This app helps motorists decide whether it makes sense for them personally to switch to an electric car or hybrid. The smartphone app can record real journeys made by the user and compare it with numerous parameters of electric and hybrid vehicles. This makes it possible to try out e-mobility in a virtual yet realistic way. The EQ Ready app also recommends which electric or hybrid car model from smart or Mercedes-Benz best matches the user’s individual needs.

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Daimler and HERE to bring HD Live Map to future Mercedes-Benz models

HERE HD Live Map constantly publishes changes to the map through an innovative content validation process, where multiple vehicle sensors act as a “closed loop” to detect any deviations from the published data.

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Amsterdam/Stuttgart – Daimler and HERE Technologies have teamed up to make HERE HD Live Map an integral part of Daimler’s autonomous driving technology. With these efforts both companies are laying the ground work for upcoming generations of highly automated and autonomous Mercedes-Benz vehicles* to come to market with the benefits of HD Live Map on board. For Daimler, this is a logical step as the current E- and S-class models are already using maps from HERE.

Highly precise digital maps are a key component for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. The machine-readable, cloud-based HD Live Map allows an automated vehicle to effectively ‘see around corners’ and consists of multiple layers of information essential for it to know where exactly it is, what lies ahead and what it should do in various scenarios.

Maps from cars for cars: self-healing maps require large amounts of vehicle sensor data

HERE has created HD Live Map to be “self-healing”. This means it can reflect dynamic changes in the road environment and update itself accordingly in near real-time. This enables vehicles to proactively adjust to changing road conditions – for example, switching lanes and adjusting speed ahead of time in the case of an upcoming lane closure.

Vehicle sensor data is the most crucial element for an HD map to self-heal because of its quality, and the sheer volume of vehicles on the road that can detect and validate change. HERE is already receiving rich vehicle sensor data from multiple automakers, including Daimler, to produce near real-time map updates. With passenger safety top of mind, HERE HD Live Map constantly publishes changes to the map through an innovative content validation process, where multiple vehicle sensors act as a “closed loop” to detect any deviations from the published data.

“The map of the future is one that’s self-healing – constantly updating to mirror what is happening across the road network” said Ralf Herrtwich, SVP Automotive at HERE Technologies. “Together with Daimler, we are mastering this powerful mapping technology and are truly excited to make it available for the next generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.”

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, emphasized: “Maps with centimeter precision updating itself in near real-time, is one key element for autonomous driving. With the new HD Live Map and the rich, continuously growing information it provides we are taking a big step on the way towards autonomous driving.”

*Vehicles with level 3-5 automation, as defined by SAE International.

Source

Mercedes-Benz Cars: World premier of the “Factory 56” – the most modern car production in the world

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Digital laying of the cornerstone at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant (from left to right): Michael Bauer, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Werks Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council.
  • “Digital, flexible, green” – latest production technologies are integrated at “Factory 56”. Main focus is on the people.
  • “Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘ green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
  • The foundation stone for the “Werk 56” production hall in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen is laid by high-ranking representatives from politics and business.

Sindelfingen – Mercedes-Benz Cars presents its “Factory 56”, the world’s most modern car production. “Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

To mark the laying of the cornerstone for the new assembly hall on 20th of February, high-ranking representatives from the worlds of politics and business came together at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Alongside Markus Schäfer, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, Michael Bauer, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, as well as Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council, also took part in the celebrations.

Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut emphasized that the laying of the cornerstone is also an essential element for a good future of Baden-Württemberg as an automotive location: “The ‘Factory 56’ will bring together two global megatrends that are of crucial importance for our country in particular: the digitalization of production and vehicle models of the future.” Baden-Württemberg will only be able to defend its reputation as a premium location for industry in the long term and secure the country’s prosperity if the manufacturers provide the right answers in both fields, production and mobility of the future, she said. The task of the state would be to support this path by supporting innovation.

In 2020, the “Factory 56” will already start production of upper- and luxury-class cars and electric vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. Passenger cars, electric vehicles of the upper and luxury class and robo-taxis will be produced. These include the new generation of the S-Class as well as the first electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ “made in Sindelfingen”. For the construction site 700,000m3 earth was moved. The area is 220,000 m2. This corresponds to about 30 football pitches. Approximately 6,400 tons of steel are used for the steel construction – almost as much as for the Parisian Eiffel Tower.

“Factory 56” – latest production technologies in series

The production concept of the “Factory 56” is setting new standards. This includes man-machine-cooperations and digitally supported processes including work organization as well as logistics and quality assurance. The plant is not only digitised consistently according to Industry 4.0, it is also connected to other productions in the global production network.

The 360 degree linkage along the whole value chain is an essential feature – from the suppliers, through to the development department, design and our production and to our customers. In the future, for example, the finished vehicles shall drive off the line automated to the loading station. Under “Digital Anticipation” in the Mercedes me App and online, customers purchasing new vehicles can already today gain exclusive insights into the production of their vehicles and thus have a much more enjoyable wait for delivery.

In the assembly hall itself state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies are used. Driverless transport systems (DTS) with product baskets support logistics in the assembly and ensure the seamless supply of the required materials for the employees at the line. Innovative Radio Frequency Identification-technologies (RFID) are integrated into the “Factory 56”. Components and vehicles can thus be digitally tracked and linked with one another.

Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analyses and Predictive Maintenance guarantee high transparency and support in production planning, control and also in quality assurance. Through the analysis of existing production data, for instance, predictions on potential faults or due maintenance work can be made in advance.

The human at the centre

The human is at the centre of all activities in the “Factory 56”. The employees work at ergonomically optimised workstations and are optimally supported in their tasks by digital tools. The focus is on the use of intelligent, flexible technology. A new work organisation provides for flexible and modern working time models. The break areas are designed according to the latest standards – for example with a pantry, couch and info screen.

“Factory 56” is sustainable and energy-efficient

Modular building structures are characteristic for the “Factory 56”, with a design that is both energy-efficient and green, so environmentally friendly. The assembly uses renewable energies and reduces CO2 production, water consumption and waste significantly.

On the roof of “Factory 56” there is a photovoltaic system which feeds green electricity into the productions supply. This leads to a reduction of yearly 5,000 MWh of electricity. An electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ, for example the electric SUV EQC, could be charged 72,000 times a year with this. That corresponds to around 36 million kilometres mileage a year. CO2 emissions at the “Factory 56″ will be reduced by 75 percent compared to today’s S-Class production in Sindelfingen.

The construction of the assembly hall is very translucent. The Blue Sky architecture supports a pleasant working climate for the employees in daylight. In addition, the temperature of the hall can be set at up to seven degrees below the outside temperature.

About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations

Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world. Three of them are currently being established. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees it includes the central functions of production planning, TECFACTORY, logistics, and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the seventh record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance. Mercedes-Benz Cars is ready for the electro mobility: Around the globe electro hubs are built for the production of electric vehicles and batteries. The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.

Source: Daimler

Mercedes-Benz turns idea of employees into success stories

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  • Mercedes-Benz offers worldwide training courses for suppliers at the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy.
  • The project is the result of an entrepreneurial spirit of Mercedes-Benz employees in a worldwide cooperation.
  • More than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already took part in the training program during the year 2017.
  • Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality: “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry.”

Stuttgart. Since the beginning of last year, Mercedes-Benz has been offering suppliers a special learning program. The Supplier Academy trains suppliers on topics such as quality assurance, processes and the requirements of Mercedes-Benz. There is no real building. The Supplier Academy is flexible and available worldwide – in the local language and directly with local suppliers in the US, Mexico, China or Europe. All suppliers can participate, regardless if they already work with Mercedes-Benz. “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry. For us in the procurement and supplier quality department of Mercedes-Benz, it is a valuable opportunity to ensure top quality for our vehicles from new players and to strengthen cooperation with existing suppliers. This is a win-win situation”, says Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality. In the training courses, native-speaking trainers teach a maximum of 15 participants the expectations, procedures and standards of the Mercedes-Benz supplier management. This facilitates an efficient and successful entry into the cooperation. In 2017, more than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already participated in the program, which Mercedes-Benz runs together with its external partner German Automotive Business (GAB). This kind of training takes place almost every day somewhere in the world.

Founder’s vision within the company

The idea for the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy came from employees who are responsible for purchasing and supplier quality. “We at Mercedes-Benz have an increasing number of local suppliers worldwide whom we want to prepare for the top quality of Mercedes-Benz. Together with our colleagues at foreign purchasing locations, we have turned this idea into a successful project”, says Christoph Kania, one of the project initiators from Supplier Quality Management. Starting with the smallest possible effort and without any investment, the idea grew steadily through the interest of the suppliers.

Expansion to other areas planned

The initiative of his employees encourages purchasing manager Klaus Zehender: “The entrepreneurial spirit of our buyers and quality managers shows that they recognize challenges and find practical solutions.” So far, only one area of Mercedes-Benz’s purchasing department has been included in the training: quality assurance. Christoph Kania and his colleagues are planning to extend the offer of the Supplier Academy together with other departments. So other specialist areas such as logistics, development and IT systems could be on the timetable soon. To motivate even more suppliers to participate, online training courses are planned as well.

Via Daimler Global Media Site

Joyful Anticipation, Mercedes customers can now track production status of their order in real time via Mercedes-me portal

  • Via their personalised access to Mercedes me, new car customers in Germany are able to follow the production status of their ordered Mercedes-Benz car in real time.
  • Digitalisation in the Mercedes-Benz plants allows the use of production data for a new brand experience and offers interactive services.
Neuer Service von Mercedes me gibt exklusiven Einblick in Produktion: Digitale Vorfreude für Mercedes-Benz Kunden
“Joyful Anticipation” consists of four areas, “Welcome”, “Your Vehicle”, “Your Production” and “Your Handover”. In the “Your Production” section, the customer finds out everything about the individual production stages for the ordered vehicle, with real-time tracking.

Stuttgart – People spend 374 days of their lives “waiting” for something. During the waiting time between ordering their Mercedes-Benz and taking delivery, Mercedes enthuse their customers by digital means.

A new tool within “Mercedes me” makes it possible after ordering the desired vehicle to track its production status online from the comfort of your own home, or while travelling: Between the ordering and delivery time, Mercedes-Benz offers new car buyers in Germany exclusive insights into the production of their Mercedes-Benz car in real time, so as to heighten the “Joyful Anticipation”. The new service from Mercedes me at http://mercedes.me/production is a very special brand experience on a PC, tablet or smartphone. “Joyful Anticipation” is already available for vehicles in production in the German Mercedes-Benz car plants in Sindelfingen (CLS, CLS Shooting Brake, E- and S-Class), Rastatt (A- and B-Class, GLA) and in Kecskemét (B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake) in Hungary. Shortly “Joyful Anticipation” will also become available for models from the German Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen (C-Class Sedan, Estate, Coupé, Cabriolet; E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, GLC, GLC Coupé, SL, SLC). The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa (USA) is still following this year in which SUVs for the German market are running off the line.

Customers in Germany concluding a sales contract in Germany for a new Mercedes-Benz car receive a flyer about “Joyful Anticipation”. Using their personal Mercedes me account, customers can log-in and input their ordered vehicle using the order number. In addition to information about the vehicle, they receive an insight into different production stages – from production planning, body shop, painting, assembly and quality control to completion and planned delivery. In addition, interactive services such as a tailor-made Mercedes me car insurance with special terms, or vouchers with special offers, for example for a driving training, enhance the attractiveness of “Joyful Anticipation”.

“Joyful Anticipation” consists of four areas, “Welcome”, “Your Vehicle”, “Your Production” and “Your Handover”, which are configured completely individually for the customer and vehicle. The aim is to give the customer an individual, exciting, digital brand experience even during the waiting time for the ordered vehicle. In the “Your Vehicle” section, the customer is given all the relevant information relating to the ordered vehicle. In the “Your Production” section, the customer finds out everything about the individual production stages for the ordered vehicle with real-time tracking. The multimedia content provides an entertaining insight into the manufacture of a Mercedes-Benz car, ranging from the production location to the production processes and the final inspection. Following vehicle completion, the customer can find out all he/she needs to know about the vehicle handover.

Networking the entire value added chain in real time is already more than just a vision for Mercedes-Benz. And the focus here is always on the potential and actual customer. The status of every vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz car plants is reported to the production network. These data are used for production planning and control. The new service of Mercedes me now likewise accesses these vehicle data.

The digital mobility and service brand Mercedes me creates individualised access to the world of Mercedes-Benz. This goes well beyond the car itself, offering an integrated system of products, services and innovations.

Since its introduction, “Joyful Anticipation” has not only been enthusiastically received by customers. The service was honoured with coveted prizes, e.g. the German Online Communication Awards (“Deutscher Preis für Onlinekommunikation”) and “Best of Best” winner in the Automotive Brand Contest.

With the digitalisation of our production the prerequisite for this innovative digital service has been made and will be expanded. A vision of the future is that the customer will be able to assign changes to the equipment and even further customization after the purchase order.

*The service is presently available for customers in Germany only

Via: Daimler Global Media Site

BharatBenz expands product portfolio with launch of all-new 16-tonne intercity coach

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  • Crafted for comfortable, safe inter-city travel.
  • Operators to benefit from low total-cost-of-ownership, reliable performance, proven BS-IV technology.
  • Mr. Markus Villinger, Managing Director Daimler Buses India: “We designed the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach to take inter-city travel to the next level: a safer and more comfortable experience for passengers and drivers, and more value for operators at the same time. Building on our acceptance in the market and this strong product with proven BS-IV technology, we are very confident to capture opportunities in this growing segment.”

Chennai – Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, continues its product offensive to further expand the product portfolio of its BharatBenz brand. As per plan and as announced in 2015 with the start of the company’s bus business, the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach completes the brand’s bus line-up. Targeted at the growing segment of inter-city travel, the 16-tonne, 238 hp (175 kW) front-engine coach complements BharatBenz’ successful portfolio of school, staff and tourist buses in the 9-tonne category, which have been available since the end of 2015.

Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Markus Villinger, Managing Director Daimler Buses India said: “We designed the all-new BharatBenz intercity coach to take inter-city travel to the next level: a safer and more comfortable experience for passengers and drivers, and more value for operators at the same time. Building on our acceptance in the market and this strong product with proven BS-IV technology, we are very confident to capture opportunities in this growing segment.”

Crafted for passenger comfort

With its optimized wheelbase, the 12-meter BharatBenz intercity coach ensures best-in-class cabin space distribution for easy seating, offering 790 mm of legroom for passengers. Refined interiors and wider windows provide for a relaxed journey with panoramic views. The front and rear air suspensions are calibrated with chassis performance to minimize impacts of road undulations. Overall, the vehicle also offers low levels of noise, vibration and harshness thanks to its unique open saloon design which enhances acoustic insulation despite a front mounted engine. A powerful air conditioner with engine driven compressor assures not only a pleasant cabin environment for passengers but also a less fatiguing workplace for drivers, helping them to stay alert.

Built for safer travel

The BharatBenz intercity coach adopts a holistic approach towards safety and is fitted with a comprehensive range of seamlessly integrated active and passive safety features. The robust aluminique body meets the stringent safety standards for roll over as per the AIS-031 CMUR Bus Body Code. Fabricated without any welded parts, the lightweight structure not only gives extra strength to the vehicle but also lowers its centre of gravity. This provides extra stability to the vehicle and drastically reduces chances of toppling. The wider brake lining (410 x 220 for all four tyres) guarantees effective braking leading to a better braking distance. With regard to interiors, the vinyl flooring comes with an anti-skid top layer and fire retardant materials which are carefully designed to ensure a safe walkway for passengers in case of emergency situations.

Designed to meet operators’ requirements

With a focus on higher profitability for bus operators, the BharatBenz intercity coach is designed for lower cost of ownership. The vehicle body’s unique aluminique structure considerably lowers its gross vehicle weight, while the aerodynamic body design and tubeless tyres reduce drag and rolling resistance, altogether improving fuel efficiency. The coach also offers unmatched oil change and gearbox oil change intervals of 100,000 km. The extended warranty that BharatBenz offers for all its vehicles nationwide is also available. As a unique BharatBenz feature, annual maintenance packages are offered that cover both the body and chassis, ensuring optimum maintenance.

Proven BS-IV technology with SCR

BharatBenz BS-IV vehicles meet the upgraded norms using a system based on SCR technology proven in hundreds of thousands of Daimler commercial vehicles in many markets for over a decade. Besides the further improved fuel economy and lower maintenance costs, SCR technology allows BharatBenz BS-IV vehicles to operate unhampered with BS-III fuel, if required. The SCR technology uses an aqueous urea-based fluid called AdBlue, which is sprayed into the exhaust stream to break down dangerous nitrogen oxides emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. AdBlue consumption is only a fraction of fuel consumption, so refill intervals are fewer. AdBlue is available nationwide at all BharatBenz dealerships and other outlets.

About Daimler Buses India

Responsible for DICV’s bus business, Daimler Buses India is catering to the domestic market with a twofold strategy: BharatBenz front-engine buses and coaches meet the needs of the volume segment, while the premium segment is addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engine coaches. All vehicles are produced at DICV’s state-of-the-art plant in Oragadam near Chennai. Customer services for both brands are provided through the pan-Indian BharatBenz dealer network, offering tailor-made service packages, 24×7 after-sales support, and advanced interactive vehicle diagnosis. Custom-tailored financing solutions are provided by Daimler Financial Services India and through DICV’s partnership with over 25 banks and NBFC (Non-banking Financing Companies).

Porsche joins “Startup Autobahn” platform

Next step in the digital campaign: Porsche has become the latest partner of the Startup Autobahn innovation platform in Stuttgart, where newly established companies from around the world are developing ideas for the mobility of the future.

The platform focuses on developing technologies right up to project maturity. Porsche is supporting the company founders by providing an experienced team of mentors. “This gives our culture of innovation an extra boost”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche. “Digitalization, electrification and connectivity are revolutionizing the automotive industry. We see this as an opportunity, and we want to make the most of it. These top talents from the international start-up scene give us external inspiration that accelerates the progress we are making. To make this happen, we provide the start-ups with an environment in which they can reach their full potential and focus on their work. As one of the world’s leading automotive and high-tech regions, Stuttgart is an ideal place for this project”.

Under the motto “The spirit of Silicon Valley. In the hub of mobility engineering”, Porsche will collaborate will other corporate partners Daimler, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ZF Friedrichshafen, BASF and Murata in the Startup Autobahn innovation platform. The ultimate goal is to develop Stuttgart as a technology hub. The project was launched in 2016 by the American accelerator Plug and Play, together with Daimler, the University of Stuttgart and Arena2036. Plug and Play is one of the largest tech-focused investors and venture capitals in Silicon Valley, Berlin, Spain, Singapore and Brazil. Since 2006, the accelerator has supported more than 2,000 start-ups and has a global network of around 300 corporate partners. Every year, Plug and Play organizes about 400 events around the world to bring start-ups and investors together. It also acts as an investor itself.

Rigorous selection process culminates in “Expo Day”

Applicants have to go through a rigorous selection process. After an initial pre-selection, the first major hurdle is the “Selection Day”. If an applicant submits an idea that wins over the jury, they will receive special coaching sessions from mentors and partner companies over a period of three months, including focus weeks and monthly network meetings. The start-ups are able to use the co-working space and hardware lab at Arena2036 during this time. They are also given access to Plug and Play’s global network. The name “Arena” stands for “Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles”; in 2036, the automobile will be 150 years old. The extensive, high-tech workshop houses technology worth millions, including tools, production machinery, 3D printers, robots and software for prototype construction and small-scale series production.

The service includes contact with the spheres of business, research and politics, as well as with investors, potential customers and mentors. The development process is supported by a range of additional services, from legal and tax advice to professional help in financial planning and project management. The aim of this process is for the applicants to inspire potential investors at the final “Expo Day”. The type of start-up funding provided is based on the company’s degree of maturity. It is possible that funding may involve taking shares in the company or reaching individual agreements. Out of the 300 applicants in the first wave, 13 made it through to the final on February 9 in Stuttgart. Around 1,000 guests were also in attendance.

The Startup Autobahn Expo Day in Stuttgart :

Startup Autobahn Expo Day, Stuttgart, 2017, Porsche AG

Startup Autobahn focuses on finding and supporting “hard tech start-ups” that offer intelligent solutions at the interface between hardware and software. A start-up community from Germany and Canada presented solutions in the field of machine learning. One start-up in Tel Aviv has developed a form of glass projection technology that turns car windscreens into advertising space. The finalists also included the Cologne-based founders of Evopark. This start-up has created an app that shows drivers which car parks have spaces available, and then guides them to the space. The electronic parking ticket removes the need for paper tickets, and drivers receive a bill at the end of the month.

Turning visions into reality

Porsche holds a stake in Evopark through the new Porsche Digital GmbH, which represents the interface between Porsche and innovators worldwide. It identifies and enhances digital customer experiences, products, business areas and processes. The Porsche subsidiary tests and implements new value creation models and innovative product offerings in close cooperation with all company departments.

The Digital Lab in Berlin represents another step that Porsche has made towards digital transformation. Its purpose is to identify and test innovative information technology solutions. Several teams focus on the question of how Porsche can take innovations from the fields of big data and machine learning, micro services and cloud technologies, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, and turn them into practical commercial solutions at Porsche.

Startup Autobahn is a continuation of the innovation campaign at Porsche. “It’s the fantastic ideas, the network and the partnerships that are the lifeblood of this competition”, says Oliver Blume. “We bring together forward-thinking technologies and innovative business models. The pilot projects give rise to prototypes for use in specific applications. The goal of our campaign is to develop Porsche into a leading provider of digital mobility solutions in the premium automotive segment”.

Automotive Startups: Accelerator program for startups working on future of mobility

Daimler is establishing STARTUP AUTOBAHN, the new startup ecosystem in Stuttgart. “In contrast to Silicon Valley with its software focus, with STARTUP AUTOBAHN both software and, above all, hardware-oriented projects are to be in the foreground. We are warmly welcoming international as well as local startups”, says Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Whether it’s the USA, China, India or Germany…read more

About Startup Autbahn

Startup Autobahn is the ultimate innovation platform that unites global startups with the unrivaled tech expertise of Silicon Valley and the best of German engineering. Autobahn means controlled access highway  system in Germany. Autobahns have no mandated speed limit.

About Plug and Play Tech Center

The Plug and Play Tech Center has over 20 locations in Silicon Valley, Germany, Spain, Singapore, China and Brazil, making it one of the biggest and most experienced accelerator operators. Having looked after more than 2000 startups since it was founded ten years ago, Plug and Play has grown with a technical focus and venture capitals to become the world’s largest global accelerator. Plug and Play organizes over 365 events all over the world every year in order to network startups and investors and operates also as an investor.

Link: http://plugandplaytechcenter.com

About ARENA2036

The highly technologised ARENA2036 with its area of 10,000 m2 as a research campus is a new form of cooperation in which renowned partners from science and industry research innovative subject areas related to automotive production of the future under the same roof as the startups. A unique high-tech centre is being created in the heart of the economic region of Baden-Württemberg. The name “ARENA2036” stands for “Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles”. By the year 2036, the 150th anniversary of the car, the stated aims are to be implemented at the ARENA2036 research campus, thus paving the way for the automotive engineering of the future.

Link: http://www.arena2036.de/de

Via: The Porsche Newsroom

Daimler stays in the fast lane: Best-ever figures for unit sales, revenue and earnings in 2016 – dividend of €3.25 proposed – ongoing positive outlook

daimler-stays-in-the-fast-lane-best-ever-figures-for-unit-sa

  • Record unit sales with around 3 million vehicles sold for the first time (+5%)
  • Group revenue up by 3% to €153.3 billion (2015: 149.5 billion)
  • Group EBIT of €12.9 billion at prior-year level (2015: €13.2 billion)
  • Slight increase in Group EBIT adjusted for special items to €14.2 billion (2015: €13.8 billion)
  • Net profit at highest level with €8.8 billion (2015: €8.7 billion)
  • Attractive dividend of €3.25 per share proposed (2015: €3.25)
  • Outlook for 2017: slight growth in unit sales, revenue and EBIT

Stuttgart, Germany – Daimler AG (ticker symbol DAI) grew profitably once again in 2016 and achieved best-ever figures for unit sales, revenue and net profit. In the year 2017, due to the very attractive and competitive product range in all divisions, Daimler expects to profit from slight growth in global demand for motor vehicles and from its strengthened market position, and to further increase its unit sales in total. Accordingly, further growth in revenue and EBIT is also anticipated.

“In 2016, Daimler has set new records for unit sales, revenue and earnings. But what is just as important is that in the best year in our company’s history so far, we also initiated the biggest-ever transformation at Daimler,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the Annual Press Conference in Stuttgart. “We have set our course in the direction of electric mobility and are establishing a new culture of cooperation together with our workforce. Those who wish to shape the future of the automobile at the forefront of the automotive industry need both financial strength and innovative skill. In 2016, we demonstrated that the combination of these two factors at Daimler is stronger now than ever before.”

The Daimler Group posted EBIT of €12.9 billion in 2016 (2015: €13.2 billion). Due to favorable business developments in most of its divisions, Daimler slightly improved on its EBIT adjusted for special items – from €13.8 billion in 2015 to €14.2 billion in the year 2016 – thus setting a new record. Net profit increased to the best-ever figure of €8.8 billion (2015: €8.7 billion) and earnings per share rose to €7.97 (2015: €7.87).

Daimler increased its total unit sales in the year 2016 by 5 % to around 3 million vehicles, thus achieving its growth target. The Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans divisions confirmed the forecasts made at the beginning of the year with significant growth (+10% and +12% respectively). Daimler Trucks posted a significant decrease in unit sales of 17%, due in particular to the weaker market development in the NAFTA region, the Middle East and Turkey. Unit sales at Daimler Buses were significantly lower than in the previous year (-7%) and did not reach the originally expected magnitude. This was primarily the result of the significant market contraction in Brazil. Daimler achieved slight revenue growth of 3% to €153.3 billion in 2016 (2015: €149.5 billion); adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue also grew by 3%.

“We once again posted record numbers at Daimler in 2016. With our very attractive products and the measures taken to enhance efficiency, we have made considerable progress and stabilized our business despite volatile market developments,” said Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Finance & Controlling and Daimler Financial Services. “In the automotive business, we met our targets for return on sales once again last year. And we are confident that we will be able to improve on these record results once again in 2017.”

At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on March 29, 2017, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose the distribution of a dividend of €3.25 per share (2015: €3.25). “We continue to invest in our future and offer our shareholders an attractive dividend as usual. This is also an expression of our confidence,” continued Uebber. The dividend payout will amount to €3,477 million, as in the previous year, and the distribution ratio will be 40.8% (previous year: 41.3%) of the net profit attributable to the Daimler shareholders.

Compared with December 31, 2015, the net liquidity of the industrial business increased from €18.6 billion to €19.7 billion, and was thus at an appropriate level. The increase was mainly due to the positive free cash flow of €3.9 billion. An additional factor was the cash inflow in connection with equity transactions at Daimler Financial Services (€0.7 billion). There was an opposing effect from the dividend payout of €3.5 billion to the shareholders of Daimler AG.

The Group’s financial strength is also reflected by the upgrade of its credit ratings by Standard & Poor’s. The rating agency raised its long-term rating for Daimler from A- to A and its short-term rating from A-2 to A-1.

Slight decrease in workforce – high profit sharing bonus

At December 31, 2016, the Daimler Group had a total of 282,488 employees (2015: 284,015). The number of employees remained nearly stable despite an overall increase in production. The main reason for the slight decrease was a workforce reduction at Daimler Trucks due to weak demand in major markets. The number of 170,034 people employed in Germany remained at the prior-year level (2015: 170,454). At the end of 2016, the Daimler Group had 7,960 apprentices and trainees worldwide (2015: 8,307); in Germany, 1,883 young people started their vocational training at Daimler in 2016 (2015: 1,871).

Daimler is permanently working on further enhancing its high attractiveness as an employer – within the Group and with external applicants. Employees can take advantage of mobile work, are supported with reconciling professional and family life, and receive competitive remuneration and additional benefits in conformance with the market, such as a company pension for example. The Group also lets its employees participate in its business success. In April 2017, Daimler AG will pay its eligible employees an amount of up to €5,400 for the year 2016 (prior year: €5,650).

Details of the divisions

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division comprises the Mercedes-Benz brand with the sub-brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, as well as the smart brand and the new EQ brand for electric mobility. In 2016, the division continued its profitable growth. Unit sales increased by 10% to the new record of 2,198,000 vehicles and revenue rose by 7% to €89.3 billion. The car division gained market share in almost all regions. EBITof €8,112 million for the year 2016 was slightly higher than the prior-year figure of €7,926 million and was at its highest level to date. Return on sales was 9.1% (2015: 9.5%). Adjusted for special items, return on sales met the target of 10%, as in the previous year.

This positive development primarily reflects the increased unit sales of new vehicles. The main driver was the SUV segment. Another positive effect on EBIT resulted from a better pricing. Negative effects resulted from expenses for advance expenditure for new technologies and vehicles. EBIT also includes expenses of €480 million in connection with Takata airbags. Further expenses of €238 million were recognized from the remeasurement of inventories.

Daimler Trucks’ unit sales of 415,100 vehicles were substantially lower than the high prior-year figure (2015: 502,500). Revenue decreased to €33.2 billion (2015: €37.6 billion). The division’s EBIT of €1,948 million was significantly below the high level of €2,576 million achieved in the previous year. Return on sales was 5.9% (2015: 6.9%).

The negative development of earnings was primarily the result of sharply decreased unit sales in the NAFTA region, Turkey, the Middle East, Latin America and Indonesia. Earnings were also reduced by intense competition in Europe. The realization of efficiency and material-cost improvements and exchange-rate effects had a positive impact on earnings. EBIT also includes expenses of €91 million for workforce adjustments in the context of the ongoing optimization programs in Brazil.

Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved another sales record in 2016. The number of 359,100 units sold was 12% higher than in 2015. Revenue of €12.8 billion was also significantly higher than in the previous year (2015: €11.5 billion). EBIT of €1,170 million set a new record level (2015: €880 million). The division’s return on sales also increased significantly compared with the previous year to 9.1%, and was thus at the targeted level (2015: 7.7%).

EBIT reflects the very positive development of unit sales, especially in Europe, the NAFTA region and China, as well as efficiency improvements. On the other hand, expenses arose from advance expenditure for new technologies and vehicles. Expenses of €83 million resulted in connection with Takata airbags.

Daimler Buses sold 26,200 buses and bus chassis worldwide in financial year 2016 (2015: 28,100). This significant decrease in unit sales was largely due to the ongoing poor economic situation in Brazil. Nevertheless, the division was able to maintain its clear leading position in its traditional core markets, i.e. the EU30 region (EU, Switzerland, Norway), Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and Mexico. Sales of complete buses in the EU30 region were once again higher than in the previous year. Revenue of the Daimler Buses division increased slightly to €4.2 billion (+2%). EBIT of €249 million was significantly higher than the already high prior-year level (2015: €214 million).Return on sales rose significantly to 6.0% (2015: 5.2%), thus reaching the targeted level.

The strong business with complete buses in the EU30 region, a good product mix and positive exchange-rate effects more than offset the negative effects of weak demand for bus chassis due to the ongoing difficult economic situation in Latin America and lower unit sales in Turkey.

In the automotive divisions, the restructuring of Daimler’s own dealership network led to expenses of €58 million (2015: €144 million).

During the year under review, Daimler Financial Services concluded  1.6 million new financing and leasing contracts worth a total of €61.8 billion. The total value of all new contracts rose by 7% compared with the previous year. Sales and leasing activities at Daimler Financial Services supported approximately half of all new-vehicle sales by the automotive divisions once again in 2016. More than 4.3 million financed or leased vehicles were on the books at the end of 2016; this corresponds to a 14% increase in contract volume to €132.6 billion. The acquisition of Athlon Car Lease International accounted for €3.7 billion of the increase in contract volume. Adjusted for Athlon and exchange-rate effects, the increase amounted to 10%. The division achieved EBIT of €1,739 million (2015: €1,619 million), the best EBIT so far. Return on equity was 17.4% (2015: 18.3%).

The main reason for this positive development was the growth in contract volume. Exchange-rate effects had a negative impact on earnings, however.

The reconciliation of the divisions’ EBIT to Group EBIT comprises gains and/or losses at the corporate level and the effects on earnings of eliminating intra-group transactions between the divisions. Items at the corporate level resulted in an overall expense of €333 million (2015: €79 million). This includes expenses of €400 million related to legal proceedings, the impairment of Daimler’s investment in BAIC Motor of €244 million and losses from currency transactions of €241 million. The gain of €605 million recognized on the contribution of the Renault and Nissan shares into the German pension-plan assets did not offset those expenses. The elimination of intra-group transactions resulted in income of €17 million in 2016 (2015: €50 million).

The special items affecting earnings in the years 2016 and 2015 are listed in the table on page 14.

Further increase in investment in the future

“Also in the coming years, we want to actively shape mobility with groundbreaking innovations, and in parallel we will push forward with digitization throughout the Group,” stated Dieter Zetsche. Daimler intends to play a leading role above all in the strategic areas for the future of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use and services (Shared & Services) and electric drive (Electric), as well as in the intelligent linking up of these areas.

For the reasons stated above, research and development expenditure was increased in 2016 from a very high level by another 15% to €7.6 billion. The focus was on new vehicle models, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly drive systems, new safety technologies, autonomous driving and the digital connectivity of the products.

In order to implement the growth strategy with new products, innovative technologies and modern production facilities, investment in property, plant and equipment was also increased once again in 2016, from an already high level to €5.9 billion (2015: €5.1 billion).

At Mercedes-Benz Cars, investment in property, plant and equipment of €4.1 billion in 2016 was significantly above the prior-year level (2015: €3.6 billion). The most important projects included the product ramp-up of the new E-Class models, preparations for the new GLE SUV and the successor models in the compact class, as well as new combustion engines and transmissions. The division also made substantial investments in the reorganization of the German production facilities as competence centers and in the expansion of the international production network.

The main areas of investment at Daimler Trucks in 2016 were successor generations for existing products, new products, global component projects and the optimization of the worldwide production network. Total investment in property, plant and equipment at Daimler Trucks increased to €1.2 billion (2015: €1.1 billion).

At the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, the focus of investment was on the next-generation Sprinter, in particular for the expansion of production in the United States. The main investments at Daimler Buses were in new products and the modernization of production facilities.

Daimler Financial Services acquired Athlon Car Lease International B.V. in 2016, thus making a strategic investment in the fleet-management business. Athlon is one of Europe’s leading providers of mobility solutions, especially for commercial fleet leasing and management. The entire fleet-management business is to be operated under the Athlon brand in the future. This will create one of the leading providers in the field of European fleet management with a portfolio of more than 360,000 cars and vans.

Outlook: slight improvement expected in the world economy

At the beginning of 2017, the world economy is continuing along a path of steady, if rather moderate, growth. Daimler assumes that growth will accelerate slightly as the year progresses. For the full year, the advanced economies are likely to achieve growth rates similar to those of 2016. The emerging markets, however, should experience a slight revival after six years of economic weakness. Overall, there are some indications that the world economy will perform somewhat better in 2017 than the weak growth of the previous year, but will probably not exceed the rather below-average growth corridor of 2.5 to 3%.

Outlook: automotive markets to expand again in 2017

Worldwide demand for cars is likely to increase again from a high level in 2017. According to current estimates,slight growth in the magnitude of 1 to 2% is to be expected. One of the factors decisive for global economic dynamism will be the extent to which market growth weakens in China, after the tax incentives for cars with small engines have been reduced. Despite the dynamic market development in 2016, the Chinese market should expand again slightly in 2017.

The US market for cars and light trucks should this year maintain its exceptionally high level of more than 17 million units sold. Possible fiscal-policy stimulus from the new US government could have an additional positive impact on demand. In Europe, a slightly larger market is expected overall. In Western Europe, it must be assumed that the number of cars sold will be only around the level of 2016, following the rather lively recovery of recent years. In key markets such as Germany and France, slight growth is to be anticipated at best, and a market correction is likely in the United Kingdom. After the drastic contraction of recent years, the Russian car market should recover in 2017. Following two years of falling demand, a stabilization of car sales is expected in Japan this year. In India, the dynamic growth of recent years is likely to continue with another significant increase in demand.

Demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the regions relevant for Daimler is likely to remain at the rather weak prior-year level. In the NAFTA region, the cyclical market correction can be expected to continue. In weight classes 6-8, it must be assumed that demand will decrease by approximately 5% after the significant drop in 2016. In the heavy-duty segment (class 8), the weakening of demand is likely to be rather more pronounced.

The market of the EU30 region temporarily peaked last year, according to current assessments. In a rather more restrained economic environment than last year, truck sales are expected to decrease slightly. After the end of the deep economic recession in Brazil, only a slight recovery of the truck market from a very low level can be expected there. And after last year’s dramatic slump in Turkey, a further slight decrease is anticipated. Starting from a very low level, significant recovery of demand is to be expected in Russia.

The most important Asian markets from Daimler’s perspective are likely to present a mixed picture in 2017. As the Japanese market for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks has remained at a relatively solid level for several years, a market correction of about 5% is now expected. Following the significant drops in demand of recent years in Indonesia, the overall truck market there is expected to be in the magnitude of 2016. Slight market expansion is anticipated for India. The planned reform of value-added tax, which would significantly reduce truck prices, could have a positive impact on demand during the year. The Chinese market should remain fairly stable, following its strong growth of 2016.

Daimler expects a slight increase in demand for small, mid-size and large vans in the EU30 region in 2017, driven in particular by the German van market, but also by other major European markets. In the United States, demand for large vans is likely to remain fairly stable. On the other hand, the market for mid-size and large vans in Latin America should revive significantly in 2017, although from a very low level. In China, a revival of demand is anticipated in the market Daimler addresses there.

Daimler expects slight growth in the market for buses in the EU30 region compared with 2016. The market development in Latin America continues to be negatively impacted by the current economic situation in Argentina and Brazil. After the significant drop in demand of recent years, it is assumed that the market bottomed out in 2016. Daimler anticipates a significant recovery in the year 2017, especially in Brazil, but the market volume will continue to be at a very low level.

Outlook: further growth in unit sales in the automotive business

Mercedes-Benz Cars will continue its »Mercedes-Benz 2020« strategy in 2017. Overall, the division intends to slightly increase its unit sales, thus reaching a new record level. Further growth is anticipated above all in China and Europe. This is based on the attractive and young model portfolio, which is more diverse than ever before. The new E-Class models in particular should provide growth impetus. Both the sedan and the wagon versions will be available for the first time over a full year. They will be followed by the new E-Class coupe this spring and by the E-Class convertible in the summer. In addition, a new and particularly versatile variant of the E-Class will be launched with the All-Terrain. Mercedes-Benz Cars is well positioned also with its SUVs and the new sports cars that were launched in 2016. Furthermore, it will enhance the attractiveness of its product portfolio with various model upgrades, such as the compact cars. In particular with the new S-Class, it will strengthen its leading position in the field of automated driving and connectivity. The division will push forward with its »Best Customer Experience« sales and marketing strategy. For example, the range of services offered by »Mercedes me connect« will be gradually expanded and rolled out in 20 additional markets. Furthermore, the attractiveness of theMercedes-Benz brand will be enhanced with increasing digitization in retailing and with additional service functions.

In the coming years, the cars division will focus its product portfolio even more closely on future requirements. The acronym CASE stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric: These four future-oriented strategic areas will define the mobility of the future. The main challenge consists of intelligently linking up those four areas. The division is actively tackling this challenge by promoting the related activities through an organizationally independent unit. Daimler, and in particular Mercedes-Benz Cars, plays a leading role in all four areas already today. The »Concept EQ« study that had its world premiere in Paris last year provides a clear outlook on a completely new generation of vehicles from Mercedes‑Benz. It shows the possibilities that will be offered for customers by closely linking up the CASE areas. The study is also the starting signal for the new EQ brand, which will bring together all the key elements for customer-oriented electric mobility. In line with the intelligent linking up of the CASE areas, the new brand covers a broad spectrum: It ranges from electric vehicles to wall boxes, charging services, home energy storage and sustainable recycling solutions. By 2025, Daimler plans to launch more than ten purely electric cars – in all segments – from the smart to the large SUVs.

The new electric smart (electricity consumption combined: 13.1 – 12.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km), which can be experienced as of spring 2017 not only as a fortwo, but for the first time also as a forfour, is a key element of the electric offensive. Additional growth opportunities are presented by the »ready to« services, which were launched in 2016 and are successively being expanded this year. They expand the range of use of a vehicle – especially in the city – for example with parcel delivery into the car’s trunk (»smart ready to drop«), thus creating significant added value for the customer.

Daimler Trucks anticipates total unit sales in the year 2017 in the magnitude of the previous year. In the three major regions, Europe, North America and Japan, the division anticipates a stable level of unit sales overall, supported by a strong second half of the year. After last year’s significant market correction in the segment for heavy-duty trucks in the NAFTA region, unit sales in 2017 should be at the prior-year level. This development will be driven also by the new Freightliner Cascadia, the flagship in the North American market, which went into production at the beginning of 2017. The division assumes that it will strengthen its already strong market position once again in 2017. In a slightly declining market environment in the EU30 region, unit sales are anticipated in the volume of the previous year. Sales of trucks in Japan should also be at the prior-year level. In Brazil, it is expected that along with a gradual market recovery, unit sales should also be above the very low prior-year level. Also in India, Daimler Trucks anticipates unit sales higher than in 2016.

Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to achieve slight growth in unit sales in 2017. The division anticipates slight increases in sales of vans also in the EU30 region. In the context of the strategy for the division, »Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global«, the V-Class multipurpose vehicle and the Vito were launched in 2016 also in China, the world’s biggest market for motor vehicles. These vehicles will additionally boost demand there in 2017. The van division aims to achieve further growth also with the Sprinter, which will be produced also in North America in the future. And in late-2017, it will enter the midsize-pickup segment with the X-Class, thus further increasing its worldwide unit sales in the long term.

Daimler Buses assumes that it will be able to defend its market leadership in its traditional core markets for buses above 8 tons with innovative, future-oriented and high-quality products. Total unit sales in 2017 are expected to be significantly above the prior-year level. The bus division assumes that unit sales in the EU30 region will increase moderately. In Brazil, significant growth in unit sales on a further on very low level is anticipated after the substantial decrease in 2016. A continuation of the positive development of unit sales is expected in Mexico.

Daimler Financial Services aims to achieve ongoing growth in the coming years. In the year 2017, the division expects a slight increase in new business and further growth in contract volume. This will be primarily driven by the growth of the automotive divisions, especially Mercedes-Benz Cars. In addition, Daimler Financial Service is utilizing new market potential above all in Asia, and is making use of new and digital possibilities for customer contacts – in particular through the further development of online sales channels. The division sees good growth opportunities also with innovative mobility services, where it is active with the brands car2go, moovel and mytaxi, as well as with equity interests in the companies Blacklane and FlixBus.

Outlook: growth expected for unit sales, revenue and EBIT

“We want to increase our total unit sales in the automotive divisions in total. And our financial and mobility services also target further growth,” summarized Dieter Zetsche the outlook for this year. “We are on a path of stable growth, along which we will systematically continue.”

On the basis of the assumptions concerning the development of major automotive markets and the divisions’ planning, Daimler assumes that total unit sales can be slightly increased in the year 2017. Daimler also expects Group revenue to increase slightly this year. This is a reflection of the overall positive development of unit sales in the automotive divisions.

The divisions currently have very attractive and particularly competitive product ranges, which have been expanded and systematically renewed in recent years. Daimler therefore assumes that it will profit to an above-average extent from the slight growth in global demand for motor vehicles that is expected also in the year 2017, and will be able to strengthen its position in important markets. At Mercedes-Benz Cars, additional growth this year will be driven above all by the new E-Class models, the successful SUVs and the new convertible models. The other automotive divisions are also well positioned with their products, and Daimler Financial Services’ new business will profit from further growth in unit sales.

Against this backdrop, Daimler expects revenue growth for Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services. Revenue at Daimler Trucks in 2017 should be in the magnitude of the previous year. Unlike the slight growth in unit sales expected at Mercedes-Benz Vans, the division’s revenue is likely to be at the prior-year level, as contract manufacturing of vans was discontinued in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In regional terms, the highest growth rates are expected in Asia and Europe, but business volumes should expand also in the other regions. In particular in China, Daimler has created the right conditions for further growth with new sales outlets, additional production capacities and a broader product range. But the growth in unit sales in China will have a disproportionately low impact on revenue growth, as the share of local production will continue to increase. The Chinese associated company Beijing Benz Automotive China (BBAC) is included in the consolidated financial statements using the equity method of accounting.

The anticipated growth in unit sales and revenue will have a positive impact on earnings in 2017. The foundations have been laid for a lasting high level of earnings with various programs for improved profitability, which were implemented in the years 2013 to 2015. At present, further measures are being taken in all divisions for the long-term and structural optimization of the business system. Daimler is standardizing and modularizing its production processes throughout the Group. In this context, Daimler is making intelligent use of vehicle platforms, allowing it to achieve further cost advantages. In parallel, it is pushing forward with digital connectivity: in all divisions and at all stages of the value chain – from development to production to sales and service. In this way, the Group is opening up additional scope to become even faster, more flexible and more efficient – to the benefit of the customers. There will be opposing effects, however, from the ongoing high expenditure for the model offensive, for innovative technologies for the digitization of products and processes, and for the expansion and modernization of the worldwide production facilities. As a result, advance expenditure aimed at securing a successful future will once again be higher in 2017 than in the previous.

On the basis of the expected market developments, the aforementioned factors and the planning of the divisions, Daimler assumes that Group EBIT will increase again slightly in 2017.

The individual divisions have the following expectations for EBIT in the year 2017:

– Mercedes-Benz Cars: significantly above the prior-year level,
– Daimler Trucks: slightly below the prior-year level,
– Mercedes-Benz Vans: significantly below the prior-year level,
– Daimler Buses: slightly above the prior-year level, and
– Daimler Financial Services: in the magnitude of the prior-year level.

The decrease in earnings anticipated at Daimler Trucks primarily reflects expenditure arising from the worldwide optimization of fixed costs. This is expected to result in a total expense of up to €500 million, mainly in the year 2017. This will be partially offset by income of approximately €250 million expected from the sale of real estate at the Kawasaki site in Japan. The Mercedes-Benz Vans division achieved very high EBIT and a high return on sales in 2016. Compared with the long-term average, the van division anticipates a very high level of earnings also in 2017. The main cause of the significant decrease compared with 2016 will be high advance expenditure for the renewal and expansion of the product portfolio.

Daimler intends to achieve a 9% average annual return on sales for the automotive business on a sustained basis. This overall figure is based on the return targets for the individual divisions predominantly achieved in 2016: 10% for Mercedes-Benz Cars, 8% for Daimler Trucks, 9% for Mercedes-Benz Vans and 6% for Daimler Buses.

The anticipated development of earnings in the automotive divisions will have a positive impact on the free cash flow of the industrial business in 2017. In view of repeated higher expenditure for new products and technologies, the free cash flow of the industrial business should be in the same magnitude as in 2016, and thus higher than the dividend distribution in 2017.

With its research and development activities, Daimler’s goal is to further strengthen its competitive position against the backdrop of upcoming technological challenges. The Group wants to create competitive advantages above all by means of innovative solutions for low emissions and safe mobility. In addition, Daimler intends to utilize the growth opportunities offered by worldwide automotive markets with new and attractive products. It is increasingly focusing on the strategic areas for the future of connectivity, autonomous driving, flexible use and services, and electric drive (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, Electric). For that purpose total expenditure for research and development will once again be significantly increased in 2017. Furthermore, the product range will be systematically and further expanded in the coming years in order to achieve the ambitious growth targets. Growth potential also outside the traditional markets is also to be utilized by means of appropriate local activities. At the same time, Daimler aims to make sure that the Group can play a leading role in shaping the fundamental technological transformation of the automotive business. Against this backdrop, investment in property, plant and equipment will increase significantly once again in the year 2017. In the years 2017 and 2018, a total of more than €14 billion will be invested in property, plant and equipment and more than €16 billion in research and development projects.

“As the inventor of the automobile, we aim to play a major role in shaping the future of mobility from a position of strength, and to occupy a leading position in the industry. That is the basis for further sustainable and profitable growth,” emphasized Dieter Zetsche. “With our investment in the future, we are increasing the Group’s innovative power and agility. At the same time, we continue to keep a close eye on financial discipline,” added Bodo Uebber.

Due to the expected growth in unit sales and revenue, production volumes will continue rising in 2017. At the same time, the efficiency-enhancing measures that have been implemented in recent years at all divisions are now taking effect. The medium- and long-term measures for structural improvements of business processes should facilitate further efficiency progress. Against this backdrop, Daimler assumes that its ambitious growth targets will be achieved with only slight workforce growth. Additional employees will be required in particular for the expansion of the international production network as well as in the area of research and development for projects in the future areas of electric mobility and digitization. More jobs are likely to be created also at companies operated together with Chinese partners and whose employees are not included in the figures for the Daimler Group.

The development of EBIT in the years 2015 and 2016 was affected by special items, which are listed in the following table:

Special items affecting EBIT

In millions of euros

2016 2015
Mercedes-Benz Cars
Expenses in connection with Takata airbags -480 -300
Expenses in connection with the remeasurement of inventories -238
Settlement in connection with a patent dispute -64
Restructuring of own dealer network -33 -64
Public-sector levies related to prior periods -121
Relocation of headquarters of MBUSA -19
Sale of real estate in the United States +87
Daimler Trucks
Workforce adjustments -91 -58
Restructuring of own dealer network -14 -47
Sale of Atlantis Foundries -61
Mercedes-Benz Vans
Expenses in connection with Takata airbags -83 -40
Workforce adjustments in Germany -38
Restructuring of own dealer network -11 -29
Relocation of headquarters of MBUSA -3
Daimler Buses
Workforce adjustments -9
Restructuring of own dealer network -4
Sale of investment in New MCI Holdings Inc. +16
Reconciliation
Expenses related to legal proceedings -400
Impairment of investment in BAIC Motor -244
Losses from currency transactions (not allocated to business operations) -241
Contribution of shares in Renault and Nissan to pension-plan assets +605

Via: www.media.daimler.com

Daimler and Uber join forces to bring more self-driving vehicles on the road

  • Daimler and Uber sign general agreement on the intended supply and operation of self-driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles on Uber’s network

Stuttgart/ San Francisco, Jan 31, 2017: Daimler and Uber today announced an agreement on their intent to cooperate on the supply and operation of self-driving vehicles. Under the terms of the cooperation Daimler plans to introduce self-driving vehicles also on Uber’s global ridesharing network in the coming years. Daimler is the first auto company to join with Uber as it opens up its platform for manufacturers to introduce their own self-driving cars.

With its new corporate strategy entitled CASE – which stands for “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Services” and “Electric” – Mercedes-Benz Cars is marking out the cornerstones for its future success and the reshaping of mobility. This agreement is the next step into the future of shared and autonomous driving. Daimler is a pioneer when it comes to self-driving vehicle technologies. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the world’s first series-production vehicle to be awarded a test licence for autonomous driving in the US state of Nevada. With its Highway Pilot system, Daimler Trucks is now the world’s first truck manufacturer with plans to develop an autonomous driving system for use in commercial vehicles.

Uber has assembled a strong self-driving engineering group with its Advanced Technology Group, which is testing self-driving vehicles on the road in the US. Uber’s Otto division is also working on self-driving trucks. And Uber has valuable experience that comes from running a ridesharing and delivery network across 74 countries.

Each company will benefit from the other’s industry-leading capabilities in research and development of autonomous driving and network operations.

“As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving – one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility”, said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “ Mobility service providers offer an ideal platform for autonomous driving technology and Uber is a leading mobility platform company. The real revolution in future mobility lies in intelligently linking the four major trends we call CASE: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. And we will certainly be the driver of these changes.”

Travis Kalanick, CEO and Co-Founder of Uber, said: “Self-driving technology holds the promise of creating cities that are safer, cleaner and more accessible. But we can’t get to that future alone. That’s why we’re opening up the Uber platform to auto manufacturers like Daimler. By combining Daimler’s and Uber’s technological strengths, more people can get access to reliable transportation at the push of a button.”