Daimler is the world’s largest maker of trucks and luxury cars, and to keep it that way, it keeps a close eye on the competition — all the way down to the latest screw and bolt. Now that rival Tesla, the US electric car pioneer, is preparing to sell its all-electric Semi over-the-road truck in 2019, Daimler hopes to be one of the first buyers: “We will buy two very quickly: one for dismantling and one for driving,” Martin Daum, head of Daimler’s truck and bus business, said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a presentation of a new Mercedes-Benz electric rig, Mr. Daum said on Wednesday he was “highly curious” about Tesla’s new truck, which was unveiled last November. The 58-year old executive, who has worked at Daimler since 1987, isn’t worried about the upstart. “We don’t want to be the loudest but we do want to be the best everywhere,” he said.
One can always learn from the competition and disassembling a rival’s gear is a common practice in the car and electronics industries. Two years ago, Audi bought a Tesla Model X, an SUV, in the United States before it was sold in Europe to give it a test spin at home. And Daimler itself rented a Model X last year, test-driving and disassembling it before reportedly returning it damaged to rental agency Sixt, sparking a media feeding frenzy. Another German luxury carmaker also tested Tesla’s new Model 3, a $35,000 mass market sedan, a few months ago, according to a report earlier this week.