Finance Acquisition

Daimler Gears Up

Daimler_Fleet_Management_scaled source Daimler
Daimler will more than triple its portfolio of leased cars to 340,000.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The acquisition will help Daimler gain market share and could help it compete against Sixt Leasing, BMW’s car leasing unit Alphabet and others.

  • Facts


    • Daimler’s car leasing unit Daimler Fleet Management currently leases 85,000 cars in 13 European countries, while Athlon has around 250,000 cars on the road in Europe.
    • Both businesses compete with Frankfurt-listed Sixt, BMW’s car leasing unit Alphabet, Volkswagen Leasing and others.
    • Volkswagen Leasing has around 1.2 million vehicles and calls itself Europe’s largest car leasing firm.
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Daimler, which makes Mercedes luxury cars and trucks, has agreed to buy Dutch car leasing firm Athlon for €1.1 billion, or $1.2 billion, from Rabobank of the Netherlands, the Stuttgart-based automaker said Friday.

With the purchase, the German carmaker will triple the number of cars it leases to 340,000 from 85,000 and offer services in 14 European countries.

“Fleet management is a growth market and this acquisition of a strongly positioned and innovative fleet management company is a key step for us in becoming a leading fleet management services provider,” Bob Uebber, Daimler’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Daimler’s car leasing unit, Daimler Fleet Management, and Athlon offer leased cars of all brands. The German carmaker’s leasing operations in future will carry the Athlon brand, Daimler said.

Daimler’s decision to throw resources into the leasing business will likely increase competition for other major players, including BMW’s fleet operations called Alphabet, Sixt Leasing, a unit of Germany’s biggest car rental firm Sixt, and Volkswagen Leasing, which has around 1.2 million vehicles and calls itself Europe’s largest car leasing firm.

BMW bought car leasing operations from Dutch bank ING in 2011 for €700 million, adding 240,000 cars to BMW’s 300,000 leased cars in operation at the time.

Daimler leases cars to beer maker Anheuscher-Busch InBev, airplane maker Airbus, chemicals firm Bayer and other companies.

Daimler’s shares were up 1 percent  €54.06 by 11:37 a.m. in Frankfurt, trailing stronger gains by rivals Volkswagen and BMW, which rose 3.6 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.


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Gilbert Kreijger is an editor with Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin, covering companies and markets. To contact the author:


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