by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

REPORT: Mercedes-Benz reconsiders growth strategy amid the global economic crisis

The economic downturn, which ones again seems to affect the entire world like it did beginning with the end of 2008, is proving to be hard contender to fight with in the automotive industry as well. The absence of liquidities and the inevitable inabilities to meet payment terms in some cases lead to the postponement or even cancellation of initial plans. The crisis does not take its toll on the standard, large automobile constructors only. Premium carmakers like Mercedes-Benz are also faced with problems in these difficult times.

No sooner than the end of September, two days before the Paris Motor Show officially opened its gates for public, Daimler executives have announced that the company was forced to lower the profit margin by 10 percent for the Mercedes-Benz Cars division in the prospect of 2013. The initial plans were disturbed by some market factors, which led to this decision. A cautios, yet necessary step, if you ask us, as it is always better to deal with reality than play with fantasy.

Even though chief Dr. Dieter Zetsche is fully aware Mercedes-Benz and smart will sell less units in the next years, he admits improving quality and efficiency will be the main targets to achieve in the next period in order to counteract and reduce the effects of the economic crisis. Most probably, the previously sketched 2020 growth plan may have suffered some important alterations.

According to Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG in charge with supervising the procurement and production activities at the company, is confident that Mercedes-Benz needs to focus on respecting four principal attributes that best describes the German entity: BRAND, TRADITION, HERITAGE and DESIGN. We are talking about an all new strategy which looks to substantially develop the core flagships of portfolio, such as the compact class models, the future C-Class, the new E-Class, the SUV range, the upcoming S-Class and the SL-Class, in order to achieve a sustainable, long-term performance. This means the officials might have already ditched plans on several versions that were rumored to be released in the next years. One example is the SLC AMG supercar rivaling the Porsche 911, which we have talked about frequently in the past. On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz will reportedly extend its crossover lineup by up to four new models in the coming years: the compact GLA, the rugged GLG - a modern interpretation of the G-Class in a compact size, the dynamic GLC - a compact Sports Utility Coupe with five doors, and the MLC (or GLS) - the M-Class Coupe, if you don't mind.

Moreover, the development of new, state-of-the-art technologies in the domains of safety, telematics and powertrain solutions (mind the future tri-turbo diesel and petrol units and the I6 engines coming in the next 3-4 years, as well as the expansion of the electric and hybrid model portfolio) will certainly be a crucial engine for the growth of Daimler, which targets to be the summit in the premium automakers league by the end of this decade.

Read further articles on similar topics:

- Mercedes-Benz consistently implements its 2020 growth strategy
- Outlining the future of the automobile: The Mercedes-Benz 2015 model offensive
- Daimler's Dr. Z confirms the future S-Class lineup will total six different models
- J.D. Power Study 2012: Mercedes-Benz drivers are the most satisfied
- REPORT: Mercedes-Benz on the trail of becoming leader of the premium segment
- PREVIEW: 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLC
- REPORT: Mercedes-Benz supposedly readying two very different compact SUVs - the GLA and the GLG
- The new 2015 Mercedes-Benz SUV coupe previewed at the Tuscaloosa plantThe new 2015 Mercedes-Benz SUV coupe previewed at the Tuscaloosa plant
- REPORT: 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLC AMG launch delayed

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