Daimler forges ahead with plans for flagship EV

Source: By Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Daimler AG is pushing ahead with plans to produce an all-electric version of its flagship Mercedes S-Class sedan from next year even as it cuts back in other areas to weather a slump in demand across the industry.

The company’s main Mercedes-Benz cars unit aims to make all of its factories carbon-dioxide-neutral by the end of 2022, Chief Executive Officer Ola Källenius said Monday in a webcast. The goal was previously restricted to Europe. Daimler also confirmed that it will roll out a fresh version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the second half of this year, another key project.

It’s critical for Daimler to stick to its main strategic goals — from eliminating carbon emissions to boosting digital operations — to overcome the crisis sparked by the COVID-19 outbreak, Källenius said. “We’re not taking our eye off the ball,” he added.

The world’s bestselling luxury-car maker has been looking to accelerate restructuring efforts in the wake of the pandemic, which closed factories and showrooms around the world. Demand in the brand’s largest market, China, has started to recover, while lockdown measures in Europe and the U.S. are gradually easing.

The crisis poses “a big challenge, but step-by-step we’re getting back on track,” Kallenius said. Most dealerships across the globe have reopened and showroom traffic in China is almost back to pre-crisis levels, he said.

“It’s a tad too early to make a final assessment” of the impact of the virus, he said, “but I see reason for cautious optimism.”