Daimler AG


Daimler AG
Daimler AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as FWBDAI
Industry Automotive industry
Founded 1886
Headquarters Stuttgart, Germany
Area served Worldwide
Key people Dieter Zetsche (CEO and Chairman of the management board), Manfred Bischoff (Chairman of the supervisory board)
Products Automobiles, commercial vehicles (list of brands...)
Revenue 97.76 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income €7.274 billion (2010)[1]
Profit €4.498 billion (2010)[1]
Total assets €135.83 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity €37.95 billion (end 2010)[1]
Employees 260,100 (end 2010)[1]
Website daimler.com

Daimler AG (German pronunciation: [ˈdaɪmlɐ aːˈɡeː]; formerly DaimlerChrysler) is a German car corporation. By unit sales, it is the thirteenth-largest car manufacturer and second-largest truck manufacturer in the world. In addition to automobiles, Daimler manufactures buses and provides financial services through its Daimler Financial Services arm. The company also owns major stakes in aerospace group EADS, high-technology and parent company of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing team McLaren Group (which currently is in the process of becoming a fully independent stand-alone corporate entity[2]), and Japanese truck maker Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation.

DaimlerChrysler was founded (1998–2007) when Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler-Benz (1926–1998) of Stuttgart, Germany merged with the U.S.-based Chrysler Corporation in 1998. The deal created a new entity, DaimlerChrysler. However, the buyout failed to produce the trans-Atlantic automotive powerhouse dealmakers had hoped for, and DaimlerChrysler announced on May 14, 2007 that it would sell Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management of New York, a private equity firm that specializes in restructuring troubled companies.[3] On October 4, 2007 a DaimlerChrysler Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting approved the renaming of the company. From October 5, 2007, the company has been titled Daimler AG.[4] The U.S. company adopted the name Chrysler LLC when the sale completed on August 3, 2007.

Daimler produces cars and trucks under the brands of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner and many others.

Contents

History

Daimler AG is a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and engines, which dates back more than a century.

An Agreement of Mutual Interest was signed on May 1, 1924 between Benz & Cie (founded 1883) of Karl Benz and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (founded 1890) of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.

Both companies continued to manufacture their separate automobile and internal combustion engine brands until, on June 28, 1926, when Benz & Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft AG formally merged—becoming Daimler-Benz AG—and agreed that thereafter, all of the factories would use the brand name of Mercedes-Benz on their automobiles.

In 2007, when the Chrysler group was sold off to Cerberus Capital Management (see below), the name[note 1] of the parent company was changed to simply "Daimler AG".

Timeline of Daimler AG

Benz & Company, 1883–1926
Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft AG, 1890–1926
Daimler-Benz AG, 1926–1998
DaimlerChrysler AG, 1998–2007
Daimler AG, 2007–present

The "Merger Of Equals"

Merger with Chrysler

Former logo of Daimler AG as Daimler Chrysler AG.

In 1998 Daimler-Benz AG "merged" with the American automobile manufacturer Chrysler Corporation in an exchange of shares,[5] and formed DaimlerChrysler AG. The terms of the merger allowed Daimler-Benz's non-automotive businesses such as Daimler-Benz InterServices AG (Debis) (created in 1989 to handle data processing, financial and insurance services, and real estate management for the Daimler group) to continue to pursue their respective strategies of expansion. Debis reported revenues of $ 8.6 bn (DM 15.5 bn) in 1997.[6][7]

A troubled relationship

The merger was contentious with investors launching lawsuits over whether the transaction was the 'merger of equals' that senior management claimed or actually amounted to a Daimler-Benz takeover of Chrysler. A class action investor lawsuit was settled in August 2003 for US$300 million while a suit by billionaire investor activist Kirk Kerkorian was dismissed on April 7, 2005.[8] The transaction claimed the job of its architect, Chairman Jürgen E. Schrempp, who resigned at the end of 2005 in response to the fall of the company's share price following the transaction. The merger was also the subject of a book Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler, (2000) by Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz.[9]

Another issue of contention is whether the merger delivered promised synergies and successfully integrated the two businesses. As late as 2002, DaimlerChrysler appeared to run two independent product lines. Later that year, the company launched products that appear to integrate elements from both sides of the company, including the Chrysler Crossfire, which was based on the Mercedes SLK platform and utilized Mercedes's 3.2L V6, and the Dodge Sprinter/Freightliner Sprinter, a re-badged Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. The fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class despite the fact it had been nearly four years after the Daimler/Chrysler split.[10]

Sale of Chrysler

Chrysler had suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, culminating in DaimlerChrysler's agreement to sell the unit to Cerberus Capital Management in May 2007 for US$6 billion. Through most of its history, Chrysler has been the third largest of the "Big 3" U.S. automakers, but in January 2007, DaimlerChrysler, excluding its luxury Mercedes and Maybach lines, also outsold traditionally second place Ford, though behind General Motors and Toyota.

Chrysler reported losses of US$1.5 billion in 2006. It then announced plans to lay off 13,000 employees in mid-February 2007, close a major assembly plant and reduce production at other plants in order to restore profitability by 2008.[11]

DaimlerChrysler had reportedly approached other carmakers and investment groups to sell Chrysler in early 2007. General Motors was reported to be a suitor while Volkswagen, the Renault-Nissan auto alliance, and Hyundai Motor Company had said that they weren't interested in buying the company.

On August 3, 2007, DaimlerChrysler completed the sale of Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management. The original agreement stated that Cerberus would take an 80.1 percent stake in the new company, Chrysler Holding LLC. DaimlerChrysler changed its name to Daimler AG and retained the remaining 19.9% stake in the separated Chrysler.[12]

The terms saw Daimler pay Cerberus US$650 million to take Chrysler and associated liabilities off its hands. Of the US$7.4 billion purchase price, Cerberus Capital Management will invest US$5 billion in Chrysler Holdings and US$1.05 billion in Chrysler’s financial unit. The de-merged Daimler AG received US$1.35 billion directly from Cerberus but directly invested US$2 billion in Chrysler itself.

Since Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy filing in the United States, Chrysler has been controlled by Italian automaker Fiat, which unlike Daimler plans to integrate Chrysler's products into the Fiat portfolio, most notably Lancia and Chrysler's namesake brand.

Renault-Nissan and Daimler Alliance

On April 7, 2010 Renault-Nissan executive, Carlos Ghosn and Dr. Dieter Zetsche announced a partnership between the three companies in a joint press conference.[13]

Management

Dr. Dieter Zetsche has been the Chairman of Daimler and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars since January 1, 2006 as well as member of Board of Management since 1998. He was former President and CEO of the Chrysler, LLC (previously owned by Daimler AG), he may be best known in the United States as Dr. Z from a Chrysler advertising campaign called "Ask Dr. Z".

Current members of the Board of Management of Daimler AG are:

  • Dr. Dieter Zetsche: Chairman of the Board as well as Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
  • Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard: Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement and Production.
  • Wilfried Porth: Head of Human Resources and Labor Relations.
  • Andreas Renschler: Head of Daimler Trucks.
  • Bodo Uebber: Head of Finance and Controlling as well as Financial Services.
  • Dr. Thomas Weber: Head of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

Current members of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG are: Heinrich Flegel, Juergen Hambrecht, Thomas Klebe, Erich Klemm, Arnaud Lagardère, Jürgen Langer, Helmut Lense, Sari Baldauf, William Owens, Ansgar Osseforth, Valter Sanches, Manfred Schneider, Stefan Schwaab, Bernhard Walter, Lynton Wilson, Mark Wössner, Manfred Bischoff, Clemens Börsig and Uwe Werner. Dr Manfred Bischoff serves as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG and Erich Klemm as Vice-Chairman.[14]

Shareholders Structure

by Ownership[15]

by Region[15]

  • 28.2% Germany
  • 36.9% Other Europe
  • 15.4% United States
  • 9.0% United Arab Emirates
  • 6.9% Kuwait
  • 3.6% Others

Brands

Daimler sells automobiles under the following marques worldwide:

  • Mercedes-Benz Vans
    • Mercedes-Benz (vans group)

Holdings

Daimler currently holds interests in the following companies:

Partners

Daimler has built 1,000 all-electric versions of its Smart Fortwo using Tesla's battery technology.[16] Daimler works with China's Beiqi Foton (a subsidiary of BAIC) to build Auman trucks,[17] and with BYD to develop EV technology.[18]

Bribery and corruption

On April 1, 2010, Daimler AG's German and Russian subsidiaries each plead guilty to two counts of bribery charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Daimler itself will pay US$185 million as a settlement, but the company and its Chinese subsidiary remain subject to a two-year deferred prosecution agreement which requires further cooperation with regulators, adherence to internal controls and meeting other terms before they are required to return to the court room. Daimler will face harsher penalties if the company fails to meet the terms of the agreement during the two-year period.

Additionally, Louis J. Freeh, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will serve as an independent monitor to oversee Daimler’s compliance with anti-bribery laws.

U.S. prosecutors accused key executives of Daimler, Daimler subsidiaries, and Daimler affiliates of illegally giving foreign officials money and gifts between 1998 and 2008 to secure government contracts around the world. The investigation for the case revealed that Daimler improperly paid some $56 million in bribes related to more than 200 transactions in at least 22 countries (including China, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, Egypt and Nigeria, among other places) that, in return, awarded the company $1.9 billion in revenue and at least $91.4 million in illegal profits.[19]

The SEC case was sparked in 2004 after David Bazzetta, a former auditor at then DaimlerChrysler Corp, filed a whistleblower complaint after he was fired for raising questions about bank accounts controlled by Mercedes-Benz units in South America.[20] Bazzetta alleged that he learned in a July 2001 corporate audit executive committee meeting in Stuttgart that business units "continued to maintain secret bank accounts to bribe foreign government officials," though the company knew the practice violated U.S. laws.

In another attempt to silence Bazzetta, Daimler later offered to settle his termination of employment suit out of court and he eventually accepted a settlement. But Daimler's strategy with Bazzetta proved to be a failure as the U.S. criminal investigation for violating anti-bribery laws was already underway in what is one of the most wide-ranging cases brought against a foreign corporation.

According to the charges, the bribes were frequently made by over-invoicing customers and paying the excess back to top government officials or their proxies. The bribes also took the form of luxury European vacations, armored Mercedes vehicles for high-ranking government officials and a birthday gift to a senior Turkmenistan official including a golden box and 10,000 copies of the official's personal manifesto translated into German.

Investigators also found that the firm violated the terms of the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Programme with Iraq by giving kickbacks worth 10% of the contract values to officials within the Iraqi government, then led by Saddam Hussein. The SEC said the company made more than $4 million from the sale of vehicles and spare parts in the corrupt Oil-for-Food deals.[19]

U.S. prosecutors further alleged that some bribes were paid through shell companies based in the U.S. "In some cases Daimler wired these improper payments to U.S. bank accounts or to the foreign bank accounts of U.S. shell companies in order to transmit the bribe," the court papers said.[21]

Prosecutors said that Daimler engaged in a "long-standing practice" of paying bribes, due in part to a corporate culture that encouraged the practice.

"Using offshore bank accounts, third-party agents and deceptive pricing practices, these companies [Daimler AG, its subsidiaries and affiliates] saw foreign bribery as a way of doing business," said Mythili Raman, a principal deputy in the Justice Department’s criminal division.[22]

"It is no exaggeration to describe corruption and bribe-paying at Daimler as a standard business practice," Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's enforcement division, said in a statement.[23]

"We have learned a lot from past experience," Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler's board, said in a statement.

As per the agreement with prosecutors, the two Daimler subsidiaries admitted to knowingly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars companies and their officials from paying bribes to foreign officials to win business.[24] The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act applies to any company that lists its shares on U.S. stock exchanges. Daimler AG was listed with the symbol "DAI" on the NYSE, giving the Justice Department jurisdiction over the German car maker's payments in countries around the globe.

Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court in Washington, D.C., approved the plea agreement and settlement, calling it a "just resolution."

The primary case is USA v. Daimler AG, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 10-00063.[25]

DaimlerChrysler is also known for assisting in translation to German language in 2003 of the first part of the Ruhnama book written by Turkmenbashi, the notorious former dictator of Turkmenistan [26][27]. Allegedly, this helped the company to gain contracts in Turkmenistan.

Alternative propulsion

Biofuel research

Daimler AG is involved in a joint project with Archer Daniels Midland Company and Bayer CropScience to develop jatropha as a biofuel.[28]

Transport electrification

Carmaker Daimler AG and the utility company RWE AG are going to begin a joint electric car and charging station test project in the German capital, Berlin, called "E-Mobility Berlin".[29][30]

Mercedes-Benz is launching its first passenger car model equipped with a hybrid drive system in summer 2009, the Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID.[30]

Daimler Trucks is the world market leader in hybrid systems. With its “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative, Daimler is pursuing a clear-cut objective for trucks and buses. The Mitsubishi Fuso “Aero Star Eco Hybrid” is now setting new standards in practical trials in Japan.[31]

Formula 1

On November 16, 2009 Daimler purchased a 75.1% stake in Brawn GP. The company was rebranded as Mercedes GP. Ross Brawn will remain team principal and the team will be based in Brackley, UK. However the purchase of Brawn meant that Daimler will sell its 40% stake in McLaren back in phases which will end in 2011. Mercedes will continue to provide sponsorship and engines to McLaren until 2015, when McLaren will probably have to find an engine supplier or make its own engines. Mercedes owns 45.1% of the new company with 30% for Aabar Investments and 24.9% for Ross Brawn. The racing team has signed the former champion Michael Schumacher.

Notes

  1. ^ Press release by Tata Group Jaguar now shares the rights to the Daimler name with Daimler AG, the German car manufacturer created when DaimlerChrysler was split up. Jaguar agreed terms in 2007 which allow the German company to use the Daimler brand as the title of a trading company, a trade name or a corporate name — rights that it did not hold previously. The renegotiated terms did not affect Jaguar's rights to build Daimler cars. A spokesman for Jaguar said: “The extended usage agreement does not affect either company's existing right to use the Daimler name for a product.” — The Times 28 July 2008.

References

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  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ a b "Newsroom | Daimler > Sustainability". Daimler. http://www.daimler.com/dccom/0-5-876574-1-886072-1-0-0-0-0-0-8-876574-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html. Retrieved 2009-05-01. [dead link]
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