Wilfried Porth, Member of the Board of Management, Daimler AG
2018 CEO Summit Munich

How do new opportunities help shape Daimler’s strategy?

“Looking into the future, there are a lot of challenges ahead; digitization, autonomous driving, the sharing economy. There are new competitors coming up. And those are the things we have to deal with. Now there are lot of opinions about what will be the breakthrough at the end of the day. And we do believe that there will be a little bit of everything at the end of the day. So, we need to invest in all those channels. We won’t be the better Googles or the better Apples.

What are some of your most promising new growth ventures?

car2go we have in several cities in the world, for example, Amsterdam, Stuttgart. We have fleets running of Smart cars of our small cars. And you can sign up and then you can take a ride whenever you need and whenever a car is available nearby. And then you drop the car wherever you stop. And that’s quite a challenge because your business case depends very much on the usage of the cars and you don’t know exactly where cars are being needed in the near future. So that’s quite a complex business model, but it’s something we are testing and then we are actually at the moment the biggest in Europe.

Where will future innovation come from?

Thing like the anti-locking system for brakes and a lot of other innovations came through the premium cars and they did not come through the mass production cars. Nevertheless, I think especially in China starting with electric vehicles in the mass market with very cheap, very simple vehicles will definitely prepare the base for better batteries in the future. And that will also support the premium market. That’s not a field we want to go in, but we would definitely benefit from it at the end of the day.

What do you see remaining the same in the future?

So, there are opportunities for us to grow. When it comes to the overall perspective on automotive industry, I am very confident that we are able to adapt and cooperate with those companies to master the future challenges like autonomous driving, like sharing, because we are providing the physical assets. And those are still the base of whatever happens in the future.”