Chinese take 10% stake in Daimler. Unwelcome?

AutoInformed.com on Chinese stake in Daimler

Putting positive face on unfriendly move?

Daimler AG confirms that the entrepreneur Li Shufu has acquired 9.69% (103,619,340 shares) of the company. Shufu owns Geely, and Volvo. In an unconvincing statement that lost nothing in translation Daimler said, “it is pleased to announce that with Li Shufu it could win another long-term orientated shareholder, which is convinced by Daimler’s innovation strength, the strategy and the future potential.” Yes, but Daimler already has a large product line portfolio and a manufacturing presence in China and with BAIC. Mercedes-Benz sells 25% of its cars in China right now.

“Daimler knows and appreciates Li Shufu as an especially knowledgeable Chinese entrepreneur with clear vision for the future, with whom one can constructive discuss the change in the industry.” Translation: the Germans didn’t seek this, and it could turn out to be a complicated ménage à trois with lots of conflict over the loot. 

Daimler Overview

Daimler AG is a large global holding company with its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services. Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles that are sold globally. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, financial investments, credit cards, and innovative mobility services.

The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler claims it wants to shape sustainably the future of mobility: The Group’s focus is allegedly on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe automobiles. Daimler says it therefore invests in the development of efficient drivetrains with the long-term goal of locally emission-free driving (too bad about its complicity in the German dirty diesel cartel that was an aspect of VW’s ongoing Dieselgate scandal) from combustion engines, hybrid vehicles and electric drive trains powered by battery or fuel cell. It is also working on connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and “new mobility concepts.”

Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable (arguably) premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz (Source: Interbrand-Study, The Anatomy of Growth, 10/5/2016), as well as Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses, and Daimler Financial Services’ brands: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Daimler Truck Financial, moovel, car2go and mytaxi.

The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (symbol DAI). In 2017, the Group sold around 3.3 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 289,300 people; revenue totaled €164.3 billion and EBIT amounted to €14.7 billion.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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