No more Daimler-Benz

Mercedes Unimog Meets The G Class

Germany’s oldest automotive company is splitting.

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have agreed to become two entirely separate entities, with separate development resources for heavy vehicle and passenger cars.

For decades the Daimler-Benz corporate structure has been a source of novelty in the global automotive industry. Very few traditional car brands are part of an organisation that also used resources, in a direct distribution, to develop heavy trucks and buses.

Volvo split its passenger car and truck divisions a long time ago. For Mercedes-Benz, scale is always important and it believed that there were commonalities between the smart driving truck technologies and a trend towards autonomous passenger vehicles. This no longer appears to be the case.

In the new structure, Daimler becomes purely a truck and bus business, with Mercedes-Benz, wholly focused on passenger vehicles.

What this new structure will allow, is for Mercedes-Benz to focus specific resources on its passenger car business. The synergies between engineering for heavy-duty transport and hauling vehicles, and passenger cars, are too divergent.

Truck companies have extreme vehicle and haulage weight requirements, which makes the metrics that engineers work on, especially with braking systems, very different from passenger cars.

In the truck and bus realm, hydrogen development has been championed. With passenger cars, most brands have opted for batteries as an alternative future power source.

At Mercedes-Benz, the structure was simply no longer working. After two difficult years, the company needs to be leaner to reassert itself. And that means breaking-up the heavy vehicle and passenger car divisions.

The changes are expected to become substantive later this year after shareholders vote in Q3. 

An interesting issue will be where the low-volume, but immensely regarded, Unimog trucks go in this new equation.

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