Approximately 6,000 Daimler AG shareholders expected in Berlin

Approximately 6,000 Daimler AG shareholders expected in Berlin

04.10.2007: Approximately 6,000 Daimler AG shareholders expected in Berlin

Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting to Decide on Renaming as Daimler AG - Berlin, Oct 04, 2007

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG and Head of Mercedes Car Group: "The strength of our brands is one of our most valuable assets."

The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board of DaimlerChrysler AG will today recommend to the Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting that the name of the Group be changed to Daimler AG following the disposal of 80.1% of its stake in Chrysler Holding LLC.

According to the text of his speech, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG and Head of Mercedes Car Group, will explain to the approximately 6,000 shareholders the rationale behind the decision to rename the company. According to Zetsche, a clear distinction should be made between the corporate brand Daimler and the Group's various product brands.

Wherever the focus is on the Group as a whole, the company wants to present itself consistently as Daimler, for example in its dealings with political decision-makers and the general public, in the financial markets, in its relations with the business media, and as an employer. The company also aims to present itself as Daimler in all areas where several brands are involved, thus providing an umbrella designation for all of the individual product brands.

"The strength of our brands is one of our most valuable assets," Zetsche says in his speech. "Clearly, one of our central tasks is to maintain and enhance that strength." Mercedes-Benz, for example, has the richest tradition of any automobile brand. It's also the world's most valuable premium automobile brand, and a recent study has revealed that it's still the most coveted automobile brand in Germany. According to Zetsche, "No other automobile brand shines as brightly as the Mercedes star."

For more than 80 years, Mercedes-Benz has been the company's business card in its dealings with customers all over the world. In the future, the brand with the star will continue to take center stage at the Group. As a result, "the proud name of Benz will not only remain prominent, it will have significantly higher visibility," according to the text of Zetsche's speech, in which he refers to the many demands for the retention of the name "Benz" in the company name that were expressed before the Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting.

Wherever the company is dealing directly with customers, and in areas where the focus is primarily on products of a single brand, the corresponding brand name will be used. The product brands Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, smart, AMG, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Detroit Diesel, Setra, Thomas Built Buses, Orion, and Mitsubishi Fuso will serve as the company's "business cards" to the customers.

Zetsche points out that this clear distinction between the corporate brand and the product brands will position all of the brands more clearly and make them even stronger. That's a key factor in market competition, especially for premium automakers.

In the future, this distinction will also be reflected in the names of the divisions. The Truck Group with its five brands will become "Daimler Trucks," the bus brands will operate under the name "Daimler Buses," and Financial Services will be renamed "Daimler Financial Services." In line with the emphasis on products, the Mercedes Car Group will become "Mercedes-Benz Cars" in the future, while the van unit will be called "Mercedes-Benz Vans." DaimlerChrysler Bank will be renamed Mercedes-Benz Bank.

The name change to "Daimler" should also express the fact that the company has changed greatly in the past ten years. The total annual revenues of the Mercedes Car Group and the Truck Group today are double what they were ten years ago. The Mercedes Car Group now has seven additional model series and three new brands: Maybach, smart, and AMG. The Truck Group has incorporated Fuso, Detroit Diesel, and Western Star. Financial Services' current portfolio is two and a half times as big as it was in 1997. The Group as a whole is much more international in scope than it was ten years ago.

"The Group name 'Daimler' clearly indicates that we are writing a new chapter of our history, while at the same time continuing our tradition as the inventor of the automobile. And this rich heritage will remain an essential part of our identity — of our DNA, so to speak," he continues. At the same time, the company is also looking forward: "We're combining our proud origins and a bright future — honoring our long tradition and harnessing our pioneering spirit. The name Daimler is an expression of this dual identity."

Functional strategy

According to the text of his speech, Zetsche emphasizes that high performance is the company's common goal, which extends across all divisions and functional units. However, the definition of high performance varies according to markets, brands, and customer demands.

"With regard to passenger cars, we are clearly committed to providing premium products; as far as our trucks are concerned, we are striving to achieve outstanding levels of safety and reliability, while also maximizing economy," Zetsche explains. With respect to services, the aim is to provide innovative and customized total solutions.

However, the overall objective, or the glue that holds everything together, is always the same: "We want to be the best in those areas that are most important to our customers in specific markets", Zetsche states at the extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting.

The strategies at the functional units are also geared toward the Group as a whole. The financial strategy is designed to continually improve the capital structure and optimize methods for obtaining the necessary funds to invest in the divisions in order to support the Group's profitable growth on a sustained basis.

The company's human resources strategy aims to ensure that it becomes a preferred employer. According to Zetsche, this means continuing to improve employees' working conditions, including measures that enable them to meet more effectively their work and family obligations; offering high-potential employees the best possible career opportunities; and becoming "the first choice for the top people in our industry."

The overall research and development strategy is meant to ensure that the Group will play a leading role in technologies that set it apart from its competitors.

A number of long-term financial goals have been defined for the individual divisions. The Mercedes Car Group has targeted an average return on sales of 10% by 2010 at the latest. The Truck Group is aiming for a sustained return on sales of at least 7% and a return on net assets of 30% over the entire business cycle. The bus business already is the benchmark when it comes to profitability, and it aims to further strengthen this position in the long term. The company plans to expand its strong market position in the vans sector, and Financial Services is aiming to post a return on equity of at least 14%.


To achieve these aims, the company plans to utilize four levers:

1. Operational excellence:

- Consolidating the efficiency gains the company has achieved and making further improvements - Instilling a high-performance culture throughout the Group, at every level and in every employee

2. Growth in the Group's core business:

- Using compelling products and strong brands to inspire customers in the traditional segments

- Exploiting new regional market opportunities

3. Expansion of the service portfolio:

- Expanding the range of customer-focused services up and down the entire value chain

4. Growth through the exploitation of new business potential:

- Developing pioneering solutions for sustainable mobility and staking a strong claim to industry leadership in the areas of safety and environmental protection

- Systematically investing in future-oriented technologies

"To sum up, we are not striving to become the world's largest automotive company. Instead, our aim is to be one of the most respected and admired on a permanent basis," concludes Zetsche, according to the text of his speech



-Thomas Fröhlich - photos Mercedes


04.10.2007 / MaP

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