Daimler OKs truck spin-off, e-manufacturing sites
By Mike Brezonick30 July 2021
The future of Daimler Trucks has recently come into sharper focus.
First, the Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Daimler AG have given the go-ahead for the company’s historic realignment and the ongoing roadmap that will see Daimler Truck become a separate company. After the planned spin-off of Daimler Truck by the end of this year, the shareholders of Daimler AG will hold a 65% stake in the new Daimler Truck Holding AG, which will then be listed on the stock exchange as an independent company.
Daimler shareholders are to receive one additional share in Daimler Truck Holding AG, a global player in commercial vehicles, for every two shares they hold in Daimler AG. Daimler will retain a minority interest of 35% in Daimler Truck Holding AG and intends to transfer 5% to Daimler Pension Trust e.V., a registered association according to German law.
The Daimler shareholders will decide on this realignment of their company at an extraordinary general meeting on October 1. A decision will also to be made on renaming Daimler AG as Mercedes-Benz Group AG as of Feb. 1, 2022, a step intended to emphasize the future focus of the company on the car and van business with the Mercedes-Benz brand.
“Today is a milestone in the nearly 140-year history of this unique company,” said Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG. “Throughout Daimler’s history, the courage to fundamentally reinvent the company has been the key to its success. With the spin-off, the two independent listed companies will be able to fully concentrate on their differing customer groups and therefore become more efficient and more successful.”
An independent global vehicle giant
As an independent company, Daimler Truck Holding AG employs approximately 100,000 people at more than 35 main sites. Daimler Buses accounts for more than 17,000 of those employees. The truck business comprises the brands Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Western Star, FUSO and BharatBenz, and the bus brands are Mercedes-Benz, Setra, Thomas Built Buses and FUSO. Today’s Daimler Trucks & Buses division generated revenue of €18.7 billion in the first half of fiscal year 2021.
“Our future independence offers us great opportunities and we will benefit consistently from them,” said Martin Daum, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and designated chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck Holding AG. “To use an image from our industry: Up until now, we had to travel in a convoy. In the future, we will be able to plan our own route and choose the best route for us. This will enable us to make faster progress with our objective. We will lead the way to emission-free transport by accelerating the development of battery and fuel cell vehicles. At the same time, we want to significantly increase our profitability.
“As an independent company, we will do everything we can to offer our customers the best products, our shareholders an attractive investment and our employees sustainable jobs.”
The future of powertrain production facilities
Along with that reorganization and following intensive talks, Daimler Truck AG and the Works Council, which represents Daimler Truck employees, have agreed on key points regarding the future orientation and safeguarding of the Mercedes-Benz powertrain plants. The three sites in Gaggenau, Kassel and Mannheim will specialize in different components for electrified drives. In the future, they will drive the global production of battery-electric and hydrogen-based drive systems in a production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems, together with the sister plant in Detroit.
“Our industry is undergoing a transformation toward CO2-neutral trucks,” said Yaris Pürsün, head of Global Powertrain Operations at Daimler Truck. “Since conventional drive systems will also be with us for some years to come, we are focusing the future orientation of our powertrain plants primarily on flexibility, cost-effectiveness and very well-trained employees. This had to be reconciled in our negotiations with the Works Council.
“With the production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems in conjunction with the competence centres at the plants, we have succeeded in doing so. In this way, we are creating optimum conditions for maximum competitiveness for our plants and at the same time laying the foundations for a successful future.”
Expanding electrification competencies
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau, which specializes in heavy-duty commercial vehicle transmissions, will develop into a competence center for electric drive components as well as the assembly of hydrogen-based fuel cell drive components. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kassel is expanding its current focus on commercial vehicle axles and will become a competence center for electric drive systems. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, specialized in commercial vehicle engines, is drawing on the more than 25 years of experience of the Competence Center for Emission-free Mobility (KEM) located at the plant and is focusing on battery technologies and high-voltage-systems.
Important scopes for alternative drives, such as the production of electrically driven axle systems, e-motors and inverters, as well as the assembly of fuel cell systems, will be integrated into the powertrain plants in the future, in addition to investments in the reprocessing and recycling of battery systems.