When Daimler AG reported earnings on Thursday, there was a feeling of satisfaction in Stuttgart. Business was booming, profits increased and chief executive Dieter Zetsche offered shareholders the prospect of an increased dividend.
The figures suggested the sluggish years were over – years when no one knew how to revive Daimler. For the first time in ages, management and employees were now pulling together, and Mr. Zetsche promised “the automobile’s best time is yet to come.”
In 2014, more Mercedes cars were sold worldwide than ever before – even though Mr. Zetsche’s predecessors lost faith in car manufacturing long ago.
Already thinking about the end of the “oil age,” Edzard Reuter, chief executive from 1987 to 1995, acquired the electrical goods and engineering company AEG to experiment with “integrated technology.”