After posting best-ever global monthly volumes in March, Mercedes Benz has now chalked out an aggressive growth plan as part of the four-pronged strategy of the German auto group.
Addressing the shareholders at the annual general meeting here on Wednesday, Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said the company would seek to gain new customers by entering new segments for Mercedes-Benz.
'Mercedes-Benz Cars is in the middle of the biggest product offensive in its history. By 2020, it plans to introduce 12 completely new models that do not have any predecessors,' he added.
Mercedes has been posting double-digit growth rates in sales every month since the beginning of 2014, and March saw its highest ever monthly sales of 158,523 units globally by posting growth in all regions.
Explaining the four growth pillars, Dr. Zetsche said: 'We regard ourselves not only as a vehicle manufacturer but also as a provider of mobility solutions'. Under ‘Mercedez Me’ brand, the company had brought new mobility solutions and digitalisation. 'With Mercedez Move Me', Daimler was further extending its leadership position in mobility services, he added.
Elaborating further, he said extension of technological leadership was an important constituent of Daimler’s strategic growth focus. In this context, he pointed to the company’s successful efforts towards reducing fuel consumption and emission of its fleet in Europe by 25 per cent over the past five years.
After its successful foray into the Indian truck market, Daimler is gearing up to enter the Indian bus space. 'Here we will use chassis from our BharatBenz trucks to develop BharatBenz buses for the volume segment.
At the same time, we will serve the premium segment with our Mercedes-Benz brand chassis,' he said, adding 'We will benefit here from economies of scale that will enable us to offer our customers superior technology at competitive prices,' he added.
‘Old Europe is not the better Europe’
'Those who call for protectionism are not patriotic. They are short-sighted,' asserted Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercede-Benz Cars.
Addressing shareholders here on Wednesday, he said, 'We have had enough petty nationalism in Europe. And, despite all the current challenges, the old Europe definitely wasn’t the better Europe'.
The best way to safeguard jobs, prosperity, and social cohesion, according to him, 'is through economic success'. And, the key to achieving this success resided in free and fair markets for competitive products, he pointed out.
His remarks came even as he pointed to the 'type of rhetoric that recalls the days of Iron Curtain'. He referred to the planned free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU. 'Instead of exploiting these opportunities, the negotiating partners are bogged down in details about things like the amount of bacteria that should be allowed in unpasteurised cheese,' he said. He regretted that political forces in many regions of Europe were at work that viewed the EU 'not as historic opportunity but rather as a risk'.
(This correspondent is in Berlin at the invitation of the company)