Mercedes-Benz will be number 1 by 2020, says Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 2, 2013

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is “confident” that by 2020 at the latest, Mercedes-Benz will be declared as the No. 1 luxury automaker ahead of Audi and BMW. When interviewed by German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung, he said that he aims to reach this goal during his term. His existing contract is only until December 2013 but he will most likely get a three-year extension in February.

Daimler has announced that by the end of 2014, he will implement 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in cost cuts at the Mercedes-Benz division. He said last October that the brand will fail to reach its operating profit goal for 2012 by 1 billion euros. Zetsche added that Mercedes was unable to compete with others in the compact car market and in China.

As the debt crisis has weakened the demand in Europe, Germany-based luxury-car makers have only been able to maintain their growth due to high sales in the U.S. and Chinese market. While BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are all hoping to achieve record sales for the entire 2012, the mass-market automakers in Europe are preparing for the lowest sales in the region in almost 20 years.

It’s predicted that BMW will become even more dominant at the luxury-car industry in 2013. Industry researcher IHS Automotive estimates that the Munich-based carmaker will boost sales by 4.6% to 1.54 million vehicles in 2013, surpassing Audi's 1.1% growth to 1.44 million units. IHS forecasts that Mercedes, whose sales were exceeded by Audi in 2011, will get back the No. 2 spot in 2013, with approximately 1.46 million units sold.

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