DAI.DE - Daimler AG

XETRA - XETRA Delayed price. Currency in EUR
50.63
+0.71 (+1.42%)
At close: 5:35PM CET
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Previous close49.92
Open51.00
Bid50.46 x 124500
Ask50.48 x 73800
Day's range50.36 - 51.69
52-week range40.31 - 60.00
Volume5577452
Avg. volume4,407,183
Market cap54B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.58
PE ratio (TTM)13.39
EPS (TTM)3.78
Earnings date11 Feb 2020
Forward dividend & yield3.25 (6.51%)
Ex-dividend date2019-05-23
1y target est62.70
  • Mercedes Delays Electric Debut After Jaguar and Audi SUVs Flop
    Bloomberg

    Mercedes Delays Electric Debut After Jaguar and Audi SUVs Flop

    (Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz is putting off the U.S. debut of its first electric vehicle by a year in the latest sign of just how difficult a time automakers are having replicating Tesla Inc.’s success.Daimler AG’s luxury brand will start sales of the EQC crossover in 2021 rather than early next year. The German carmaker said in an emailed statement that it’s made the strategic decision to first support growing demand for the model in Europe, where deliveries began earlier this year.The world’s top-seller of premium autos has touted the EQC and the series of battery-powered models it has planned under the EQ sub-brand as an answer both to Tesla and its traditional rivals. But the initial electric vehicles Jaguar and Audi introduced in the U.S. market this year have underwhelmed on the sales charts, failing to keep up even with Tesla’s years-old Model S and X.Daimler has at least 10 purely battery-powered cars planned through 2022 to help meet tougher emissions rules around the globe. But while regulatory pressure is picking up, U.S. demand has been tepid for models other than Tesla’s lower-priced Model 3. Consumers continue to harbor concerns about limited driving range, long charging times and high sticker prices.Jaguar has sold 2,418 I-Pace SUVs in the U.S. this year through November, while Audi has delivered 4,623 e-tron crossovers, according to InsideEVs. By contrast, the website estimates that Tesla has sold about 111,650 Model 3 sedans.Luxury-car makers’ biggest retailers are divided over the outlook for electric cars in the U.S. In February, the president of Sonic Automotive Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. dealership group in the country, wondered aloud on an earnings call whether Tesla had built a cult following for its cars and said the brand needed to be taken seriously by BMW and others.But in October, Roger Penske, the chief executive officer of Penske Automotive Group Inc., said the I-Pace hasn’t sold as expected and that consumers have been canceling orders for the e-tron.“They’re expensive, and everyone has range anxiety, and to me, what’s going to be the residual value at the end?” Penske said during an earnings call. “The growth is going to be slow.”Automotive News first reported Mercedes’s decision to delay the EQC earlier Friday.\--With assistance from Christoph Rauwald.To contact the reporter on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at gcoppola@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Nokia, Daimler, others agreed to mediation to resolve licensing dispute
    Reuters

    Nokia, Daimler, others agreed to mediation to resolve licensing dispute

    Nokia, German carmaker Daimler and several car parts suppliers have agreed to independent mediation to resolve their technology licensing dispute, the Finnish telecoms equipment maker said on Thursday. The move, if it leads to a successful outcome, could stave off a possible EU antitrust investigation following complaints by Daimler, Bury Technologies, Continental, Valeo and Thales-owned Gemalto to the European Commission. The Finnish telecoms equipment maker and Daimler have been at loggerheads on who should apply and pay royalties on technologies key to navigation to systems, vehicle communications and self-driving cars.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 2-Motor racing-Ferrari boss 'flattered' by Hamilton's interest

    Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari chairman John Elkann have met socially but talk of a move for the six times Formula One world champion is premature, according to chief executive Louis Camilleri. Ferrari had previously not confirmed the meetings, while not denying them either.

  • Bloomberg

    How’s Your Driving? If You Use an App Insurers Could Be Watching

    (Bloomberg) -- Apps that let you book a ride to work or borrow a car for your next vacation are feeding into a revolution in auto insurance -- while also raising some privacy red flags.Data on everything from how frequently a car is booked, the type of vehicle rented, the destination, the amount of time between making a reservation and the trip, how hard the driver slams on the brakes to how punctual and friendly a person is on the drive could all be fair game for the industry.Startups like Turo Inc. and BlaBlaCar believe they can take this information and use it to find new ways to assess risk and create new businesses tied to auto insurance.“It’s not so much about an individual’s story there, but at an aggregate level across millions of trips, patterns exist that actually predict risk,” Turo’s U.K. head Xavier Collins said in an interview.The famously staid and risk averse auto insurance industry is slowly finding ways to use new types of data analysis to help it make decisions about who to cover, how much to charge and which customers are most likely to leave for a competitor, said Ingo Blöink, a consultant in Germany who was previously the European director of Daimler Insurance Services.Sleeping BeautyA mix of telematics that measure a car’s performance and other publicly available records together with privately garnered “soft data” can be fed into a program to discern patterns. That can create a “microsegment” risk analysis that more finely slices who’s most likely to get into an accident or commit fraud, which could eventually replace most actuaries, Blöink said.“The industry is a sleeping beauty slowly waking up; they’ve not realized that there’s huge potential,” he said. “It will completely change the way risk will be underwritten in the next 10 years.”San Francisco-based Turo and France’s BlaBlaCar already have specialized arrangements with insurers -- Allianz SE, Liberty Mutual and Axa SA -- that offer tailored products to cover drivers who’ve borrowed another person’s car or used the service to transport someone else in their own car.The companies are part of a ride-sharing industry, led by the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., that’s challenging traditional car ownership and rentals. Turo’s platform lets users lend personal cars to others. BlaBlaCar arranges carpools between cities.Privacy QuestionsAt an aggregate level, this type of data is “definitely something that’s of interest to us and we are exploring,” said Martin Hoff, Allianz Automotive’s head of product management and innovation, noting, however, that it isn’t being used currently. A record of good driving from such companies could help new drivers applying for auto insurance, he said.Still, sharing data with the insurance industry, which may already have a lot of information about a user, raises privacy issues, said Ioannis Kouvakas, a legal officer at Privacy International, a British charity that lobbies for privacy rights.It’s difficult to truly anonymize data, and companies could potentially reconstruct identities and use that information in invasive ways. Another big concern is whether customers are aware that they’re sharing data, he said.“There’s a lot of potential for abuse,” Kouvakas said in an interview, adding that people can rarely ever be sure of how their data is used.Consent NeededAllianz’s Hoff said the insurance industry is constrained by regulations on information they can use when assessing applicants, particularly in Europe.That’s largely thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation legislation that requires companies to inform people when their personal data is being used, letting them opt out or object, said Ian De Freitas, a partner at law firm Farrer & Co. who specializes in privacy law.But when identifying markers are stripped out and the data become anonymous, it’s no longer considered private, he said.Turo’s users currently consent to share data that lets the firm determine their likelihood of getting into an accident or making an insurance claim, identify unsafe driving behavior and conduct investigations and risk assessments.The firm’s privacy policy says that the company might collect aggregate data about its users to consider new features. Customers share their drivers’ license information, reviews, street address, employers, schools and location.Smarter InsuranceSimilarly, BlaBlaCar collects details about cars, biographical information, replies to surveys and reviews, and location.Last year, BlaBlaCar announced BlaBlaSure, an insurance product with Axa SA that targets ride-sharers. It’s been rolled out in France, with plans to make it Europe-wide, BlaBlaCar Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Brusson said in an interview. Eventually, this product will use data collected from BlaBlaCar users to help determine rates for new customers.“It seems pretty basic but when you get hundreds of data points from drivers saying a person is a great driver,” Brusson said. “It’s pretty powerful in terms of insurance pricing.”The company is collecting data and finding correlations between data points such as how someone’s driving is rated by other users, and the number of accidents. Customers must opt in to sharing their data with the insurance product, which is combined with information from other users and anonymized, he said.Drawing conclusions from the research to sell insurance is a few years off, Brusson said.“Long term, all these car-insurance products will be smarter because we have lots of data from the community,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Vidya RootFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Nokia halts legal action against Daimler with mediation offer in patent row
    Reuters

    Nokia halts legal action against Daimler with mediation offer in patent row

    Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia has suspended legal action against German carmaker Daimler in the hope that mediation will resolve their dispute over technology licensing fees. Nokia's pursuit of fees from Daimler has thrown a spotlight on the wider battle between tech companies and the car industry over royalties for technologies essential for navigation systems, vehicle communications and self-driving cars. Daimler, along with Bury Technologies, Continental, Valeo and Thales-owned Gemalto complained to the European Commission this year about fees demanded by Nokia for patents related to car communications.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 1-Aston Martin not actively pursuing new investors as opens SUV plant

    Aston Martin, which was reported this week to be the target of Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, said it was not actively pursuing new investors on Friday as it opened a new factory to build its first sport utility vehicle. As some in the global car industry turn to partnerships, alliances or mergers to handle the challenge of electrification, new technology and tighter margins, Autocar magazine reported on Thursday that Stroll, the owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing to buy a major stake in Aston. The British automaker's new factory in south Wales holds the key to ending a poor performance this year from Aston, whose shares have tumbled 75% this year on weaker-than-expected sales.

  • High-end premium car thefts rise in the UK
    Yahoo Finance UK

    High-end premium car thefts rise in the UK

    The number of premium brand cars stolen across the UK has more than doubled in the past five years, new data reveals.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Aston Martin CEO says shareholders in it for the long-term, not soliciting participation

    Aston Martin's two major shareholders are in it for the long term and the company is not actively soliciting participation, the firm's boss said on Friday after a media report said Lawrence Stroll, owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing a bid for a major stake. "They look to the long term," Andy Palmer said of the company's biggest owners.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Aston Martin opens new factory to build key first SUV

    Aston Martin opened a new factory in Wales on Friday which will build the British automaker's first sport utility vehicle, key to its hopes of a turnaround after a poor performance this year sent shares tumbling. Aston launched its DBX model last month, hoping that more female buyers will help boost sales after a year in which it has so far posted a pre-tax loss due to weaker-than-expected demand for its sports cars, particularly in Europe. The St Athan site near Cardiff in south Wales is the 106-year-old firm's second car plant after its existing site in Gaydon, central England.

  • For Aston Martin, 2020 Is No Time to Die
    Bloomberg

    For Aston Martin, 2020 Is No Time to Die

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- For the many hedge funds betting against Aston Martin, a takeover bid for its parent company is a dreaded specter. Thursday brought the trailer for such a scenario, with Britain’s Autocar magazine reporting that motor-racing mogul Lawrence Stroll could acquire a controlling stake in Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc.With no formal announcement, despite a 20% share-price jump, some caution is warranted. But if you think the historic sports-car maker will escape its current troubles, now would be the time for a predator to buy.Aston has become a binary bet on its new DBX luxury sports utility vehicle. The company has taken on vast and expensive debts in developing the car. But worries over whether it could deliver on time are abating: Marketing began last month and full production is scheduled for the second quarter of next year. Darker macro clouds maybe lifting too. Sterling’s recent rally suggests hope for greater U.K. political stability and perhaps a clearer sense of where Brexit is heading. Rising stocks hint that trade-war fears may be easing. It helps too that there’ll be a new James Bond movie, stuffed with Aston Martins, just when the DBX comes out.Now consider the dynamics of Aston’s shareholder register. There are three big strategic shareholder blocks: Kuwaiti investment funds, the Italian private-equity group Investindustrial Advisors SpA and German automaker Daimler AG. The Kuwaitis have been selling down since last year’s initial public offering. Any aspiring buyer would knock on their door first, but their shares alone wouldn’t confer control. If Stroll wanted real influence, he’d have to make an offer to all shareholders, probably having lined up Kuwaiti support in advance.It’s not clear who else might want to sell given that a bid at, say, 650 pence a share — roughly 30% above Wednesday’s close — would still be 66% below the IPO price. Investindustrial might want to hang on. Either way, any offer now would rest on tricky scenario planning. Whether the DBX succeeds or flops, Aston will probably want to cut its excessive debt by selling new shares to raise equity. Assuming some existing investors — notably the Kuwaitis — weren’t willing to inject more money, that capital increase would provide a natural opportunity for Stroll to step into their shoes.Of course, if DBX sales really take off, Aston’s share price would fly too. Perhaps better to move now with prices depressed than to wait and see. If Stroll gets a big stake, that will also raise questions about Aston’s strategy, which is based on launching seven new vehicles, with each one generating revenue to fund the next. Right now, the focus is on getting the DBX to market and managing cash as tightly as possible. Shareholders who exit via an offer won't need to worry. But those who wish to stay invested will want to know whether a new partner with a background in motor racing has other ideas.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at chughes89@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy Lavin at tlavin1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 2-Billionaire Lawrence Stroll seeks big stake in Aston Martin - report

    Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing a bid for a major stake in Aston Martin, Autocar magazine reported, sending the luxury sports car maker's battered shares up 17% on Thursday. Aston Martin, the drive of choice for fictional British secret agent James Bond, has seen its shares slump since its flotation in October 2018 as sales have failed to meet expectations.

  • Tesla Competitor NIO Launches Another SUV in China
    Bloomberg

    Tesla Competitor NIO Launches Another SUV in China

    (Bloomberg) -- Cash-strapped electric-car upstart NIO Inc. is introducing its third sport utility vehicle, a streamlined model aimed at spurring demand in China’s slowing EV market.NIO didn’t disclose the price for the electric SUV coupe, which comes with a panoramic-view window and is set to compete against vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe and Tesla Inc.’s Model Y. NIO’s existing models are the ES8 and ES6 SUVs, and the EP9 performance car.“Coupes fall in a niche market in China and it’s really hard to position this kind of product,” said Yale Zhang, managing director of Shanghai-based consultancy AutoForesight. “But if they only aim at selling hundreds of cars a month, it should be fine.”The unprofitable carmaker is battling an unprecedented slump in Chinese auto sales, including electric vehicles, as the country’s economy cools. The company also faces intensifying competition from the likes of Tesla and Daimler AG just as some investors scrutinize its funding situation.Backed by technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., NIO sought $200 million from founder William Li and a Tencent affiliate -- though hasn’t clarified whether the investment has been completed -- and has also reduced its workforce. U.S. shares of NIO have dropped more than 60% since the company’s initial public offering in New York last year.By the end of the third quarter, NIO had cut its staff to 7,800 from 9,900 in January. Having burned through more than $5 billion in four years, the company failed in an attempt to get local government funding, according to media reports.China’s EV sales have slumped for four consecutive months, while the overall auto market is down in 16 of the 17 past months. That’s impacting fundraising for EV startups in China, according to rival XPeng Motor. China is raising its 2025 sales target for electrified cars as the government tries to spur the industry.(Updates with government sales target in seventh paragraph)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Chunying Zhang in Shanghai at czhang714@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Ville Heiskanen, Angus WhitleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Carmakers Shed 80,000 Jobs as Electric Shift Upends Industry
    Bloomberg

    Carmakers Shed 80,000 Jobs as Electric Shift Upends Industry

    (Bloomberg) -- It’s turning out to be one of the worst years ever for auto workers across the globe amid shrinking demand and a tectonic shift in vehicle technology, with Daimler AG and Audi announcing almost 20,000 job cuts in just the past week.All told, carmakers are eliminating more than 80,000 jobs during the coming years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Although the cuts are concentrated in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K., faster-growing economies haven’t been immune and are seeing automakers scale back operations there.The German companies joined General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. in massive retrenchments put in motion over the past year. The industry is sputtering as trade tensions and tariffs raise costs and stifle investment, and as manufacturers reassess their workforce in an era of electrification, autonomous driving and ride-on-demand services.The global auto industry will produce 88.8 million cars and light trucks this year, an almost 6% drop from a year ago, according to researcher IHS Markit. German auto-industry lobby VDA on Wednesday predicted that the decline will continue next year, forecasting global deliveries of 78.9 million vehicles, the lowest level since 2015.The pace of job cuts in the home of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW is expected to be “more pronounced in 2020,” VDA President Bernhard Mattes said at a press conference in Berlin, adding that the technology shift alone could lead to the loss of 70,000 jobs over the next decade.“A fundamental structural change with enormously high investments at a time of deteriorating market dynamics -- the tension is being felt at many companies,” said Mattes.Cuts are also being carried out in China, which employs the largest number of people in the industry and has been mired in a sales slump. Electric-vehicle startup NIO Inc., which has lost billions of dollars and watched its New York-listed shares plummet, dismissed about 20% of its workforce by the end of September, shedding more than 2,000 jobs.“The persistent slowdown in global markets will continue to dent automakers’ margins and earnings, which have already been hurt by increased R&D spending for autonomous-driving technology,” said Gillian Davis, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “Many automakers are now focused on cost-saving plans to prevent margin erosion.”Being an early leader in electrification hasn’t spared Nissan, which has been in turmoil since the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn a year ago.With profits plumbing decade lows, the Japanese automaker is shedding 12,500 positions in the coming years, mostly at factories across the globe, to reduce costs as it rushes to refresh an aging model lineup. A redesigned version of the battery-powered Leaf, which debuted later than planned because of the loss of the company’s longtime leader, isn’t giving the company much of a boost this year.Factory-floor workers have been rising up against the retrenching. GM’s more than 46,000 U.S. hourly workers staged a 40-day-long strike this fall — the longest against the company in almost half a century — but managed to coax the company into keeping open only one of the four American factories it made plans to shutter a year ago.On Nov. 22, about 15,000 people marched in the streets to protest job cuts and factory closures in Stuttgart, the German city that’s home to the global headquarters of Daimler, Porsche and major parts supplier Robert Bosch GmbH.Protesters in the historic downtown square of Schlossplatz wore red scarfs, blew whistles and waved red flags in support of Germany’s powerful labor union IG Metall, which organized the demonstrations. Top union officials who represent workers at Mercedes-Benz, Audi and many parts makers claim the companies are using the shift toward EVs as an excuse to push through deeper cuts and boost profits.“We don’t let our jobs be taken away just because some managers haven’t done their homework,” Roman Zitzelsberger, the regional head of IG Metall in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the worker representative on Daimler’s supervisory board, told the crowd.The job concerns proved to be justified. Audi announced a week later it will eliminate as many as 9,500 positions in Germany through 2025 as parent Volkswagen AG prepares for a costly transition to electric vehicles. Daimler announced plans to shed more than 10,000 worldwide.If it were a country, the auto industry would be the world’s sixth-largest economy, according to Fircroft, a technical job-placement firm. In Germany alone, when including local operations of foreign manufacturers, about 150,000 jobs might be at risk in coming years, according to estimates by the Center of Automotive Management, near Cologne.The clouds started to form for U.S. carmakers last year, when Ford revealed plans for a years-long, $11 billion restructuring. The company has made a series of piecemeal announcements since then, slashing roughly 10% of its global salaried ranks and shutting six plants: three in Russia and one apiece in the U.S., U.K. and France. Of roughly 17,000 jobs Ford is eliminating, 12,000 will be in Europe.The state of car-factory jobs in the U.S. is less clear, mainly thanks to the new contracts Detroit-area automakers have been negotiating for the next four years.The prospects looked somewhat bleak for the United Auto Workers union when talks began this summer. With vehicle demand slowing, production shifts were being pared back across the country — by Nissan at its truck-and-van plant in Mississippi, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV at its Jeep Cherokee SUV factory in Illinois and Honda at an Ohio plant that mostly makes Accord sedans. Workers fear plug-in cars, which have fewer parts and require less labor to build, will doom auto jobs.In the end, the UAW has announced commitments by GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler to invest almost $23 billion in U.S. facilities over the course of the next four years, and to add or retain more than 25,000 jobs. While that sounds like a lot, it remains to be seen whether the spending will actually boost production. It costs the companies billions to convert or retool existing factories for them to make new cars and powertrains.The union also didn’t emerge without some bruising losses, with the most notably being its lost battle to save GM’s spacious car plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory, opened in 1966, became a political football when the company announced production of Chevrolet Cruze sedans would end in March. President Donald Trump told supporters a year and a half earlier not to sell their homes, assuring them his administration would bring jobs back. GM sold the complex to cash-strapped electric-truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp. last month.For Scott Brubaker, GM’s offloading of the Lordstown plant could be a one-way ticket out of the auto industry. The automaker transferred him to its Corvette sports-car plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which meant leaving an Ohio farm his family has owned for four generations.The idling of the factory left him with two options: live in his camper trailer in Bowling Green and commute home on weekends, or take a $75,000 severance check from GM and find a new job near Lordstown. He has an offer to work for a company clearing land for developers, but it pays $5 an hour less than GM, and he says it would cost him his pension. Lordstown Motors is still raising money for its electric trucks, and Brubaker has his doubts it will succeed.“I went to GM for good pay and benefits,” Brubaker said. “What we did in the plant we did successfully, and GM still pawned us off.”(Adds comments from German auto lobby beginning in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Kristie Pladson, Keith Naughton, Gabrielle Coppola, Craig Trudell, Cécile Daurat and Chris Reiter.To contact the reporters on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at crauwald@bloomberg.net;David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.net;Anurag Kotoky in New Delhi at akotoky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net, Reed Stevenson, Michael TigheFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Daimler cost cuts to hit Germany hardest - Stuttgarter Zeitung
    Reuters

    Daimler cost cuts to hit Germany hardest - Stuttgarter Zeitung

    Daimler's workforce in Germany will bear the brunt of 1.4 billion euros (1.20 billion pounds) in cost cuts planned by the end of 2022, the head of the carmaker's works council told a newspaper. "Two thirds of the sum are to be saved in Germany," Michael Brecht told Stuttgarter Zeitung. Daimler said on Friday it would cut at least 10,000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, following others in the industry seeking savings to invest in electric vehicles and to cope with weakening sales.

  • Germany's Car Jobs Boom Comes to a Screeching Halt
    Bloomberg

    Germany's Car Jobs Boom Comes to a Screeching Halt

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- After a week in which Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi announced thousands of job cuts, it’s easy to forget that the German car industry once seemed unassailable.The 2009 recession forced a massive downsizing of America’s auto giants. General Motors Co. and Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; Ford Motor Co. escaped a similar fate only by cutting its workforce to the bone. By contrast, Volkswagen, BMW AG and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz overcame the crisis with barely a scratch. Afterwards they took full advantage as wealthy Chinese splurged on luxury German vehicles. Germany’s carmakers and their suppliers went on a hiring spree at home and abroad.There were early signs of hubris: Volkswagen paid its chief executive officer 17.5 million euros ($19.3 million) in 2011. But Germany’s powerful trade unions made sure workers benefited too. In recent years production line staff at BMW and VW’s Porsche subsidiary took home almost 10,000 euros as an annual bonus. BMW spends an average of more than 100,000 euros per employee on salary, pension and social security costs, according to its annual report. Now that jobs boom has come to a screeching halt, and not before time. An industry facing unprecedented upheaval can’t afford such largess.The chief reason for the belt-tightening is, of course, the vast cost of moving beyond combustion engines. Volkswagen expects to spend an astonishing 60 billion euros on hybrid, electric and digital technology in the next five years. Doing this requires the hiring of even more people, but the products they’re developing aren’t always big money spinners yet.For a time, the industry will have to provide a full range of propulsion options. For their factories this means “peak complexity” — to borrow a phrase from Mercedes’s management. Eventually, however, many of these factory workers will become unnecessary because electric motors are much simpler to build than diesel and gasoline engines. Last week's job cuts won’t be the last.The German industry has been caught out too by an unexpected slowdown in demand. Continental AG, the supplier that’s cutting 20,000 jobs, expects production to stagnate over the next five years. Daimler said last month that sales haven’t matched its production capacity. Audi’s domestic plants are reportedly particularly under-utilized, not helped by the popularity of SUVs over sedans (the former tend to be built overseas).Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler will still generate about 24 billion euros of net profit this year, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. But the era of 10% operating profit margins — long a benchmark for German luxury carmakers — is over. Mercedes thinks 4% is more realistic next year.The automakers therefore have to tackle their bloated fixed costs. In view of its spending commitments, Volkswagen was unwise to let its workforce swell to almost 700,000. That’s about 80% more than Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., which builds a similar number of cars (though Volkswagen has a big truck unit too).Volkswagen’s labor expenses have crept higher as a percentage of sales since the last recession. Doubtless this reflects the influence of the German unions and hence it’ll be very difficult to rectify. Like their peers, German employees at the Volkswagen brand have job guarantees until 2029.Ultimately the German car jobs boom was a bet that demand would increase, combustion engines would have a long life and global trade would remain encumbered. Instead, the electric shift is happening faster than expected and Trump’s tariff crusades have turned the German industry’s global production presence into a liability.Cars are superfluous for many young people today, and if they do buy one it will soon have a simple electric motor, not a combustion engine made of hundreds of intricate components. The hiring practices of German carmakers look like a bubble that’s burst.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Motor racing-Hamilton not ruling out a Ferrari switch

    Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton did not deny meeting Ferrari chairman John Elkann when asked on Sunday about speculation linking the Mercedes driver with a move to the Italian team in 2021. The next deal will probably be Hamilton’s last in Formula One and he has said he is considering options outside of Mercedes, where team principal Toto Wolff’s future is also up in the air. "What happens behind closed doors is always private with whoever it is you end up sitting with," Hamilton said in response to a question about Italian media reports that he had twice met Elkann.

  • Nokia says working to end patent licensing row with Daimler, others
    Reuters

    Nokia says working to end patent licensing row with Daimler, others

    Nokia said on Friday it was working to end a row with Germany's Daimler and other firms which have complained to the EU antitrust regulators about the level of fees charged for technology patents from the Finnish company. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the Finnish telecoms equipment maker had submitted a proposal for resolving the patent licensing fee row, but did not give details. The offer could pre-empt any move by the European Commission to open an investigation and remove the threat of fines if the firm was found to be abusing its position.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Motor racing-Ferrari happy to hear Hamilton could be available in 2021

    Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto sang Lewis Hamilton's praises on Friday, fuelling speculation that the Italian team could seek to sign the six times Formula One world champion for 2021. "Lewis is certainly an outstanding driver, a fantastic driver," Binotto told reporters at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when asked if he would like to sign Mercedes' Briton.

  • Mercedes-Benz owner to axe at least 10,000 jobs worldwide
    Yahoo Finance UK

    Mercedes-Benz owner to axe at least 10,000 jobs worldwide

    Daimler is suffering from the crisis engulfing the global car industry, and shifting funds to invest heavily in electric cars.

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