Tag Archive | "Daimler"

Over 40,000 Daimler Vans Will Need New Airbags


Daimler AG made 40,061 vans from 2005 to 2008 with airbags that must be replaced, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, reported by Bloomberg Business.

The affected vehicles, the 2007-2008 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500 and the 2007-2008 Dodge Sprinter 2500 and 3500, were manufactured from July 1, 2005, to July 31, 2008, and “are equipped with a passenger side frontal air bag that may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture upon its deployment,” the NHTSA said in a report posted Saturday.

Daimler Vans USA will notify Freightliner owners and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will alert customers who bought the Dodge model, according to the NHTSA. Dealers have been instructed to replace the airbags free of charge. No schedule has been announced for the swaps.

 A seventh death tied to faulty airbags was confirmed Friday by the U.S. agency. A 22-year-old woman died two days after an April 5 crash. Takata Corp., which produced the air-bag inflator that ruptured and injured the woman, agreed on May 19 to expand its recall effort to cover about 34 million units — the largest product-safety recall ever in the U.S.

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Ex-Daimler Engineer Files $2M Discrimination Suit


PORTLAND, Ore. — A Clark County, Washington, man who worked for Daimler Trucks North America in Portland, Oregon, is suing the company for $2 million, claiming his supervisor repeatedly called him “bin Laden” and suggested he was a member of al-Qaida, reported The Detroit News.

The Oregonian newspaper reports that the lawsuit by Hussein Fouad, a 75-year-old, Egyptian-born engineer, is the latest alleging discrimination at the German company’s operations in Portland.

In January, Daimler agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle complaints filed by six former workers who said they were the targets of racist or homophobic slurs, Nazi graffiti and threats. In February, four current or former workers who are black filed a $9.5 million claim, saying they were targeted with nooses, greeted with a “Heil Hitler” salute or otherwise harassed.

Company spokesman Dave Giroux declined to comment on the allegations but noted the company cooperated with a state investigation into civil rights complaints that led to January’s settlement.

Fouad’s lawsuit states he worked for the company from 2012 to 2014, and was recognized for saving the company more than $1 million a year for suggesting it use aluminum wire instead of copper wire in some of its electrical connections.

The suit claims he received a positive performance review in his first year, but after receiving a new supervisor, his work situation rapidly deteriorated. It says his supervisor repeatedly asked him about his age and retirement plans, mocked his accent and suggested that he was sympathetic with Osama bin Laden.

Despite Fouad’s strong job performance, his supervisor put him on a “performance improvement plan” as part of a mission to get rid of Fouad, the suit says. Four months later, he was fired.

Fouad seeks $1 million in lost wages and benefits, plus $1 million for emotional distress.

The truck company is a subsidiary of German automotive giant Daimler AG.

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Google Can Disrupt Car Industry But is No Automaker, Daimler Says


Technology companies such as Google are unlikely to become mass car manufacturers, even if they have the potential to disrupt an industry increasingly focused on software and automated driving, the head of German carmaker Daimler said on Friday, reported Reuters.

In recent years, automakers and Silicon Valley companies have grown increasingly inter-dependent because next-generation cars need advanced software and sensors, shaking up the traditional pecking order among carmakers and their suppliers.

While Google unveiled an advanced self-driving car last year, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said the U.S. company’s objective was probably to better understand how cars are used, rather than to become a manufacturer in its own right.

“Google and the likes want to get involved, I don’t think in the first place to build vehicles,” Zetsche told analysts, adding that Google was studying the home, the office and the car as places where people spend time.

“We have to understand that, and then to find our roles, to which extent they are complementary, to which extent we become dependent, to which extent we are competitors,” he added.

Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand, will put great emphasis on controlling data from self-driving and other cars.

“When we talk about high safety with Mercedes, it does not apply specifically for protection from accidents, but this means safety of their personal data as well. To be able to provide that, we have to keep control, and we can’t do that when it is collected by Google,” Zetsche said.

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Daimler, VW Dampen Speculation About Imminent CEO Succession


Succession is not an imminent topic at Daimler or Volkswagen, the chief executives of both carmakers said on Thursday, adding that any potential candidates would most likely come from within their respective companies, reported Reuters.

Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche and Martin Winterkorn, who heads up Volkswagen, were both asked during a panel discussion in Munich whether succession was imminent and whether a suitable candidate had emerged.

Zetsche said it was generally unwise to speculate in public about who would become the next chief executive, because premature exposure may prove disruptive to a smooth succession process.

“If somebody were to emerge into the open as crown prince, he would be shot down the next day,” Zetsche said, without elaborating further.

Daimler has a number of internal candidates who have the opportunity to prove themselves as being worthy, Zetsche added somewhat cryptically.

External candidates could bring a fresh point of view, but they tend to emerge at companies that are in trouble.

“If you are doing well, like all the three German automakers are, it is more likely that a successor will come from within,” Zetsche added.

Zetsche, who is 61, has a contract that runs until 2016.

Asked whether his replacement had already been born, Volkswagen’s Winterkorn said, “He has definitely been born, but I don’t know what his name is.”

The 67-year-old Volkswagen chief, whose contract also runs out in 2016, was also asked whether he has one or several candidates in mind to follow in his footsteps, to which he said, “It would be bad if that were not the case.”

Winterkorn further said that he felt it would be an advantage if a successor came from within the company, because that person would know the processes and key people.

“An outsider would find it difficult,” Winterkorn said.

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Daimler Raises Forecast After Profit Beats Estimates


Daimler AG, the world’s second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, raised its full-year profit forecast after net income beat analysts’ estimates on demand for top-of-the-line E- and S-Class sedans in China and the United States, Bloomberg reported.

Third-quarter net income attributable to shareholders surged to 1.53 billion euros ($2.12 billion) from 41 million euros a year earlier, the Stuttgart, Germany-based carmaker said today. Analysts predicted profit of 1.09 billion euros, according to the average of nine estimates.

CEO Dieter Zetsche increased his target for 2010 earnings before interest and taxes to more than 7 billion euros. The average estimate of 14 analysts prior to the report was for full-year Ebit of 6.8 billion euros.

Daimler’s luxury-car sales are rebounding after the financial crisis as demand advances in China and the U.S., the world’s two largest auto markets. September marked the highest output of Mercedes cars for the month in the company’s 120-year history, as third-quarter E- and S-Class sales rose 34 percent.

Daimler predicts demand for E- and S-Class models, which start at $49,400, will boost Mercedes sales by more than 10 percent this year. Still, growth is slower than competitors. Daimler September sales worldwide gained 13 percent to 128,700 autos. Volkswagen AG’s Audi increased deliveries 16 percent to 102,650 vehicles, while sales at luxury leader Bayerische Motoren Werke AG climbed 17 percent to 142,950 cars.

Daimler traded down 13 cents, or 0.3 percent, at 47.50 euros as of 1:53 p.m. in Frankfurt. Before today’s announcement, Daimler had jumped 28 percent this year, valuing the company at 51 billion euros. The stock last week hit its highest price since May 2008.

“Investors worry about fading momentum at Mercedes and the impact of new competitor models,” such as the revamped BMW 5- Series and X3 and new Audi A7, said Adam Hull, a London-based WestLB analyst. “We expect a falling margin in 2011 and 2012.”

Third-quarter sales climbed 30 percent to 25.1 billion euros. The manufacturer recorded a fivefold increase in operating profit in the quarter to 2.42 billion euros. Earnings were boosted by 401 million euros in gains from health-care and pension benefits in the U.S. and after winning a lawsuit.

Sales in China, which overtook the U.S. in 2009 as the world’s biggest auto market, rose 19 percent last month. Mercedes outpaced the market by doubling deliveries. U.S. auto sales in September rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11.8 million, the fastest pace since the end of the “cash for clunkers” program. Mercedes outsold BMW and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus in the U.S. last month.

The revamped CLS luxury coupe and SLK hard-top roadster, as well as cleaner engines, will help Mercedes have a “successful” 2011, Joachim Schmidt, the car unit’s top sales chief, said in an interview last month. Daimler, which aims to increase Mercedes car sales to 1.5 million by 2015, didn’t comment on prospects for next year in the statement today.

The Mercedes unit, which also includes the Smart city car and the ultra-luxury Maybach nameplate, posted third-quarter Ebit of 1.3 billion euros, compared with 355 million euros a year earlier. The growth was driven by demand in China, where the unit’s sales have more than doubled this year to become its third-largest market after Germany and the U.S.

The recovering global economy has also boosted deliveries of heavy trucks at Daimler, the world leader in commercial vehicles. The division, which makes Mercedes, Freightliner, and Fuso vehicles, posted a third-quarter operating profit of 500 million euros after a loss of 127 million euros a year earlier. The unit closed factories in Asia and North America and cut jobs after posting losses in every quarter in 2009.

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Daimler Set to Pay ‘Healthy’ Dividend, CFO Says


STUTTGART – Daimler could pay investors a dividend for this year nearly twice as high as that distributed for 2008, the last time the luxury carmaker returned cash to shareholders.

“Investors can expect a good, healthy dividend — something that will give them cause to be pleased again,” Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber told Reuters in an interview, reaffirming Daimler’s forecast of an operating profit of 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) for 2010.

“I feel very comfortable” with the current analyst estimates for a dividend of 1.15 euros per share on average, he said.

Daimler scrapped the dividend for last year in a surprise move that sent shares tumbling on the day, but promised this was an “exception” and would not be repeated.

Uebber said the company’s ambition was to exceed its operating profit target by a “bit”, and dismissed fears about a downturn in the global economy.

“From today’s perspective judging by the current economic indicators, I do not expect a double dip, even if the present conditions in the USA are more difficult than before,” Uebber said.

Attempts by the Chinese government to cool down overheating growth would lead to a soft landing for the country’s economy, he added.

Should demand prove resilient, this could help Daimler with its borrowing costs.

“The prerequisite for a single ‘A’ rating could be fulfilled starting next year with stable, growing markets,” he said.

Daimler itself expects to be more productive again with the funds it employs, easily generating a higher return this year than those otherwise generally available on capital markets.

“At the current consensus of 3.60 euros earnings per share, we should earn far more than our cost of capital,” Uebber said.

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