Travel is meant to broaden the mind and when Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche took senior managers on a trip to California’s Silicon Valley this summer, they certainly learned something.
The top 110 Daimler executives spent July in intensive talks with representatives from Apple, Google, Uber, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
“It is impressive how quickly, but also how confidently and successfully the hundreds of start-ups there are moving along.” Mr. Zetsche told Handelsblatt.
The Daimler team came away with a clearer understanding of the digital revolution transforming the car industry. When the International Motor Show opens its doors on Thursday in Frankfurt, networking will be the central theme.
There is a buzz around this year’s show, which will host some 1,103 exhibitors from 39 countries. Such numbers have not been seen since the 2009 financial crisis.
The big tech companies like Apple and Google will be on the fringes of the trade fair, but they are in fact central to the future of mobility. The products made by these tech companies are already in every pocket and soon could be in every glove box. Furthermore, they can afford to buy and develop what they need.
“The financial resources of Google and Apple are enormous,” says BMW’s chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner. BMW, along with Volkswagen are looking for a way to respond to these new competitors who are edging their way into the car industry.