In an interview, Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Daimler, talks about his company’s collaboration with Tesla, which ended in 2014. He does not rule out renewing it with the Californian in the future.
In the automotive sector, you can be a perfect partner one day, just as you can become overnight competitors. The small step back, specifically in 2009 … At that time, Tesla is going through a bad patch due to the global financial crisis. Then arrives the German Daimler who decides to inject nearly 50 million dollars and takes at the same time 9% of Tesla shares. Elon Musk will say that the German manufacturer had saved the start-up with this contribution of fresh money.
The icing on the cake, Tesla will win the right to provide electric motors for Smart and Mercedes B-Class. Everything is going well until Daimler-Mercedes realizes the rise of Tesla in the car sector electric. The collaboration between the two brands ended in 2014, Daimler having resold its stake and pocketed the passage a beautiful bonanza of 780 million dollars.
In an interview with our Polish colleagues from Rzeczpospolita, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche – who will step down in May 2019 before joining Daimler’s supervisory board in 2021 – says he has no regrets about resale actions at the time, knowing the price they are worth today. He explains that the purchase of Tesla shares, at a time when the situation was catastrophic, was a willingness to show the market that Daimler believed in the technology of the electric car. From the moment the Tesla shares started to rise sharply, the builder preferred to retire, arguing that he was an auto specialist and not a trader.
Dieter Zetsche adds that “future cooperation is not excluded”, although he prefers that Daimler and Tesla “remain competitors”. The German adds that “it will be a good thing for the automotive market, which is already clearly prepared for electrification”.
Daimler was not the only partner of Tesla. The Japanese Toyota also held shares in the firm. And just like the German manufacturer, Toyota had entrusted a contract for the supply of electric motors. Luckily, this cooperation was halted in 2017 when Tesla launched its first real electric car, the Model S.
According to the Electric website, in 2014 Elon Musk did not despair of being able to partner with Toyota again. At the time, he said, “I think if you’re careful, maybe in two or three years, I would not be surprised if there’s a big deal with Toyota. I think it would be something important, maybe at a much higher volume level. “(Source Electric)
The future will tell if Daimler, Toyota or others will have the courage to collaborate with Tesla … That would be a bit of a snub!