Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta has been riding down a rough road so far this year. Not only did it temporarily lose it license to sell bikes in California, rumors have kept popping up about it being sold to a couple of automakers. Fiat was reportedly considering the business for a possible purchase in March.
Sometimes, little more than a quote is needed to basically tell the entire story. This is one of those times. The quote below comes from Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche and his words are poignant, shocking and targeted directly at the thirsty automotive market in China which is growing at an extremely rapid rate. Zetsche openly voiced his thoughts during a round table event in Beijing stating:
Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of Justice along with the Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating allegations that German automaker Daimler and three of its subsidiaries paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes through offshore bank accounts to secure contracts for its vehicles.
The prodigal son returns. As with the Biblical parable, a well-loved son (ably played in real life by Wolfgang Bernhard) leaves the comfort of home (Bernhard previously served as Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche's second in command) and embarks on a journey away from his family.
Daimler AG is one of a shrinking number of automakers that continues to build its own transmissions, but the parent of Mercedes-Benz is now looking to change that. The automaker has been holding talks with rival BMW about possible powertrain collaborations including transmissions. Mercedes already supplies the two-mode hybrid transmissions that BMW is installing in its forthcoming ActiveHybrid X6. However, a proposal to build a joint factory to produce automatic transmissions in the U.S. for the
Tomorrow morning, May 19, Daimler will be holding an online press conference to make what it calls a major announcement in the EV space. Management board member Dr. Thomas Weber and a key executive of one of the company's suppliers will make an announcement about a strategic investment. While Daimler is not giving any details right now about which company this might be or the nature of the investment, we're told by our sources that the partnership is with Tesla.
Nerves are frazzled in Stuttgart over the troubles facing Chrysler. Let's not forget that Daimler still has a skin in the Chrysler game, and while everyone natters and frets about whether or not Fiat will prove to be the Savior Of Auburn Hills, execs are also thinking about the worst-case scenario in the halls of Daimler.
Late last year, Daimler AG announced that it would partner with Evonik for the development and manufacturing of automotive lithium ion batteries. Daimler bought half of Evonik's LiTec battery unit at that time. Now, Daimler is looking to bring in another partner for the project. At this time, its not clear if that would be a partner on the battery side to bring in more technology, or a partner to consume batteries and help spread the development costs.
A master mechanic and two clerks, among others, are being investigated for intentionally sabotaging Mercedes cars being built at the Sindelfingen factory. Allegedly, repair shops in the area that weren't part of the Daimler corporation were bribing workers with gifts, trips, and cash to alter the cars so that the repair shops could get the contracts to fix them.
So, just what is a 19.9% stake in America's third largest automaker worth? Um, nothing. So says Daimler, which owns exactly that amount. The German company claims that, for accounting purposes at least, there is absolutely no value in its part-ownership of Chrysler. Just about a year ago, Daimler estimated that its share of Chrysler was worth some $1.17 billion. The remaining 80.1% was sold to Cerberus Capital Management last August for $7.4 billion.
Hyundai, now a world-class engine manufacturer, may lend engine technology to Mercedes-Benz for a future four-cylinder powerplant. It was just a few short years ago that DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai banded together in the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) to build the so-called World Engine (pictured at right). The GEMA engine, with displacements ranging from 1.8-liters up to 2.4-liters, is found under the hood of more than a handful of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mitsubishi, an