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Daimler Rediscovers Its Best Asset

Zetsche Reuters_effect
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is pointing the Mercedes brand in the right direction again.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    It took a series of false moves for Daimler to acknowledge Mercedes is its ace in the hole.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chief executive since 2006, has a contract through 2016.
    • Potential successors include Ola Källenius, executive board member in charge of sales, and Wolfgang Bernhard, who heads the truck division.
    • Without new alternative drive systems, Daimler will not reach emission targets set by the European Union to reduce greenhouse gases.
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  • Audio

    Audio

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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.”

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