Daimler Shareholders Express Concern Over Automaker’s Lack Of A Tesla Model 3 Competitor

2 years ago by Steven Loveday 41

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

At the German company’s annual meeting, Daimler shareholders voiced concerns about the lack of competitive vehicle offerings. Portfolio manager, Ingo Speich, from Union Investment, said that there is worry that the future of premium German automakers may be at stake. He said the industry is facing “a radical upheaval, driven by attacks from Silicon Valley”. 

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

A Daimler shareholder commented in agreement:

“We don’t really have a product for this competition from Tesla. In the long term we have some great vehicles . . . but they are virtual at this point.”

Many other questions were posed to Daimler at the meeting. One attendee asked why there is no true European competition to Tesla’s Model 3. Another wondered if maybe Daimler dropped its Tesla shares prematurely. The Financial Times reported:

“Daimler bought a 9.1 percent stake in Tesla in May 2009, before it went public, for an estimated $50m. It disposed of its shares in October 2014, netting $780m. This year Tesla shares have risen about 10 percent.”

The company’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche, provided some answers. He reminded the group that Daimler is a front runner in new technology. Plans are to have 10 Mercedes plug-in hybrids for sale by 2017. Also, to compete against the Tesla Model 3, Zetsche said Daimler will offer an all-electric car with a 500km (311 mile) range.

Zetsche also pointed out that Q1 sales were on track and Mercedes-Benz sold 483,000 cars. This is up 13% from last year and reported as the company’s best ever first quarter. However, he failed to mentioned declining stock values across the board.

Separately, Autobild did a poll of 6,200 Germans and two-thirds said of the Tesla Model 3 – so demand appears to be there:

“Super, I want to have one.”

Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW have been increasingly pushing goals for electric vehicles. Reports say that it may be only due to the growing success of Tesla.

Daimler chairman, Manfred Bischoff, admitted that the company must be “faster, braver, and in some cases should veer off the beaten path.” He emphasized the “balancing act” that Daimler is in, with having to move technology forward, meanwhile also keeping its reputation as a leader in traditional, premium autos.

Source: The Financial Times

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41 responses to "Daimler Shareholders Express Concern Over Automaker’s Lack Of A Tesla Model 3 Competitor"

  1. Alaa says:

    The Arabs own most of it!

  2. Speculawyer says:

    The should express concern.

    The Model S (and now the Model X) are really eating into market share of fancy BMW, Mercedes, and Audi cars. All three of those are down while Tesla is up, up, up.

    Well, at least Mercedes made a lot of money on their former investment into Tesla. 😉

  3. There is certainly cause for concern among Daimler shareholders.

    The smart ED and MB B-class do not even have DC quick charge, at a time when most of the competition does, and those that don’t will have it for 2017.

    Surely MB is capable at least of offering a fully functional EV.

    I expect to see another surge of Model 3 orders immediately after it starts shipping and people realize that not getting in line may mean another multi-year wait. That will take another few hundred thousand sales off the books for everyone else.

  4. Foo says:

    MwuhahahahAhAHAHAH

    1. TomArt says:

      That was my reaction, as well! It was a genuine Laugh Out Loud moment.

      1. KumarP says:

        As a prospective Model 3 owner and Tesla shareholder (albeit an itty bitty one), this article took me to my happy place. On a related note, my wife and I considered the Mercedes electric vehicle before settling on the Kia Soul. She wanted the Mercedes but admitted that without DCFC, there was no point, considering our driving patterns.

  5. Mike I says:

    If Daimler feels that their brand represents “traditional premium autos” then perhaps they should spin off a new brand to represent progressive new high tech cars.

    1. TomArt says:

      That’s one way in which I think Ford is missing a golden opportunity: the Mercury brand could have been refreshed and re-introduced as a pure EV line that would be parallel to, yet distinct from, their Ford and Lincoln brands. Since EVs are fast and fun, the idea of Mercury, the messenger of the gods with winged shoes, the element Mercury (“quicksilver”) and the planet itself, daringly close to the Sun, could all be played upon for marketing/branding.

      I’d reserve a Mercury Quicksilver with 200+ miles of range and supercharger access for $35k, wouldn’t you? How about a Mercury Hg (great pun on luxury vehicles using cryptic letters to define their models). They could have fun with it and sell plenty of EVs, if they had vision…

      1. Rich says:

        I like the thought!
        I would be shocked if Ford would be that bold.

      2. jensph says:

        I thought something similar about GM and Saturn — instead of killing off the brand it could have been their forward thinking brand, so a Volt, Bolt, etc wouldn’t be stocked next to Suburbans.

        1. TomArt says:

          Good point.

    2. Anon says:

      They can call it, “Daimler Saturn”. 😉

  6. TomArt says:

    This pretty much sums up the entire legacy auto industry, and at least one of their fundamental problems with plugs:

    [quote]
    Daimler chairman, Manfred Bischoff, admitted that the company must be “faster, braver, and in some cases should veer off the beaten path.” He emphasized the “balancing act” that Daimler is in, with having to move technology forward, meanwhile also keeping its reputation as a leader in traditional, premium autos.
    [end quote]

    1. Anthony says:

      Its far better to disrupt yourself than to let some other company disrupt you!!!

      Disrupting yourself can be painful in the short run, but it establishes yourself as a leader in the long run.

      1. Rick Danger says:

        Your comment should be nailed to the forehead of every Daimler executive until they get the point.

  7. Speculawyer says:

    Don’t worry. Mercedes is keeping themselves updated with the future by investing $3 BILLION into diesel engines.
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/news/a28191/daimler-will-invest-nearly-3-billion-in-next-generation-diesel-engines/

    LOL!

    1. TomArt says:

      Those who drink the dino juice, go the way of the dinosaurs.

      1. Anon says:

        +1000

    2. R3D says:

      You gotta be kidding me….

      Since EV market is still just a couple of % of the new car market, this strategy works for a few more years… But then??? I hope this is not the only one strategy they have.

      Now I know why I have never been a big MB fan. From the Germans only BMW and (maybe) Audi will be competitive in long term.

    3. Rick Danger says:

      IKR? I couldn’t believe it when I read that article.
      WTF are they thinking????

      1. ffbj says:

        In for a penny, in for a pound.

        Ditching the diesel now would be an admission of defeat and they are unlikely to do so.

  8. Clive says:

    “In the car business, you lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

    -Lee Iacocca

    1. Anon says:

      He forgot one. Bankruptcy.

      1. TomArt says:

        Excellent – full stop!

      2. Clive says:

        You got that right.

        And Milenials are not buying cars.

        Double edge game changer straight ahead.

      3. Speculawyer says:

        I think that falls under “get out of the way”

  9. Someone out there says:

    And they should! So should every car manufacturer, the ICE age is coming to an end

  10. tosho says:

    I’ve seen german management-heavy companies trying to emulate Silicon Valley before. It was a bureaucratic small-minded micromanagement over-budget disaster. Those people simply can’t understand the engineer driven culture of Tesla, Google and etc. I hope the germans manage to produce at least some decent BEVs (since I live in Europe and Teslas are really expensive over here) But I am not optimistic.

    1. Just_chris says:

      Si valley is customer focused not engineer focused. The engineering solution to low cost sustainable transport is public transport, cleverly designed urban areas and lot of bicycle lanes. This is what they have in Germany. What the customer wants is a big house deep in the suburbs and his or her own shiney car that they drive excessive distances to work. This is what they have in California, where the customer rules and the engineers are told to make it work. Teslas transport vision, as much as I love tesla for what they are doing, starts at $35k and goes upto $150k. They make far superior cars to the German bands current offerings but overall I think the Germans are doing better on balance than the Californians…… Both are doing better than the Australians.

  11. Ian says:

    Some people starting to doubt…

  12. Just_Chris says:

    BMW, Audi and Merc. should absolutely be competing with Tesla, they knew abut the model S years ago. Merc even had an over priced electric super car that could have conceivably been an effective rival to the model S by now. Audi also have the R8 e-tron which never arrived. BMW have given us the i8 – not exactly what the readers of this site wanted but at least something that someone could conceivably cross shop with a Tesla. What has merc given us? nothing – if you want a new high tech car the first place you used to look was Germany, now you are better off with a Volvo. That is a big problem for the German auto-industry. Jaguar, Land rover and Aston Martin are in the same hole. They are all in a better place than Fiat, who won’t even make the 2021 deadline for 95 g/co2/km, but not that much better.

    I also think this is nothing to do with the model 3 and everything to do with the S and X which compete just fine with the existing high margin models. The model 3 is years away, Merc can up their game between now and then or at least if they started now on a model 3 competitor they could have something 12 months after the model 3 launch. They have got at least 3 years of pain ahead loosing to the S and X – there is nothing in the merc brand that can face off with those cars and win in certain customer segments.

    Years and years of marketing, pushing American cars as cheap, inferior and inefficient is really going to hurt when people put a BMW X5 phev next to a Model X.

    1. Mr. M says:

      The R8 etron is for sale since roundabout 2 years now.

      1. Bob says:

        The R8 e-tron was shelfted in 2013. Has it been revived? I do not see it for sale anywhere.

  13. Texas FFE says:

    The pricing of the Tesla products still scares me. It just takes a couple of options and the price of the Model S and X jumps tens of thousands of dollars. I think the Model 3 is also going to be prone to these huge price jumps with options.

    I think the high end auto brands have a lot to worry about from Tesla. I think the high end brands are going to have a hard time competing on technology and performance. I don’t think GM is going to push technology as hard as Tesla and as a result I think the Bolt will generally be a much lower cost EV than the Model 3.

    I don’t think the Bolt will compete with the Model 3. I think two models are marketed towards completely different consumer groups. I think people who would likely buy a BMW might buy a Model 3 where as people that might Chevy or Ford might buy a Bolt.

    There is a lot I like about the Model 3 but I’ve never been a BMW kind of guy (although I did seriously consider going outside my comfort zone for the i3). I will be pleasantly surprised if the Model 3 options come in at a marginal cost increase like the Ford and Chevy options do. I think I will wait to see what Model 3 options look like before I make a decision on buying another EV.

    1. ffbj says:

      A reasonable assertion. I have said as much regarding the options game and how Tesla plays it. This is one reason comments that they can’t any money selling a $35k car are really not to the point, since they won’t be.

      (I don’t like nominations, Sam I am. I do not like them in the house, I do not like having my name mentioned, I do not like them at a convention, I do not like, on the floor. I do not want to be nominated anymore). Ryan

    2. Stephen Pace says:

      If you ordered a Model S at the start with a 40 kWh pack and no options, it would have been $50k. At least 5 40 kWh vehicles arrived in Houston where I live–if the car is great without options, don’t order any. Some features like autopilot you can always enable later if you want them.

  14. SJC says:

    They could turn a C class into electric by putting a motor in the drive tunnel where the engine and transmission were then putting batteries under the hood.

  15. OntarioLeaff says:

    Oh Mercedes, the epitomy of upper class excess. Older conservative well heeled customers. Yawn.
    Make way for the new sexy entrants.
    Mercedes your wrinkles show. Go play with some of those contorted back led lights, the best advancement the German auto industry (except BMW and their i3) made in the last 10 years.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      +100

  16. Bill Howland says:

    The only Diamler product I’d consider is the Smart42EV.

    All the other stuff they have is overpriced and rather unreliable.

    A high end car should be understated and reliable.

    The fact they don’t even make an EV with a decent range is even a bigger negative against them.

    At least GM is making attractively priced vehicles.

    The BOLT shouldn’t have any problem being made in numbers since the ORION assy plant is very lightly used. They could put the 3rd shift back on if sales are higher than expected.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      And even then, the only reason I’d be considering it is because it is the only convertible Ev.