AND WILL OUR CUSTOMERS BE DRIVING MORE ELECTRIC VEHICLES THEN?
Yes, the proportion of fully or partially electric vehicles will increase, particularly after 2020. This is especially true of China and the United States.
Our production drive for plug-in hybrids – of which there will be ten new models by 2017 – will enable us to hugely expand our range of electrified vehicles. And we will also be broadening our offering of totally electric vehicles.
IS IT THEREFORE TRUE TO SAY THAT EVERY NEW MERCEDES-BENZ MODEL THROWS UP NEW TECHNOLOGIES?
If we are to secure our pioneering position in areas such as connectivity, we have to regularly update our digital technology during our product cycles as well. As far as connectivity is concerned, we can no longer think in development cycles of several years; instead we have to replicate the fast pace of the consumer electronics industry.
WILL THIS FASTER PACE MERELY ALTER THE WAY IN WHICH VEHICLES ARE DEVELOPED?
No, the digital economy will transform our entire value chain. We have to base our digitised processes around our customers and offer them the sort of experience that they are often already familiar with from the consumer electronics sector. This includes things such as offering them a personalised and customised service and providing them with information on the progress of production. This is the new kind of quality that we will be integrating into our processes.
WILL THIS CHANGE THE WAY IN WHICH CARS ARE MANUFACTURED?
The way in which we work will change in order to meet our customers’ new requirements. This will include an even greater emphasis on cross-functional working, and restructuring our processes to make them more agile. The digitisation of the entire value chain will only work if the individuals involved think in terms of processes rather than in functions.
DOES THE CONCEPT OF CUSTOMISATION NOT FLY IN THE FACE OF THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY, WHICH ENCOURAGES THE SHARED USE OF THINGS SUCH AS CARS AS PART OF A COLLECTIVE MOBILITY SOLUTION?
We need to differentiate here. The sharing economy will, of course, continue to grow rapidly over the next decade across all markets and demographic groups. This is why we are further expanding offerings such as car2go and moovel. New sharing concepts would also be conceivable. However, it goes without saying that the individually manufactured car as we know it today will still be around in ten years’ time and will remain in demand. This is particularly true of vehicles of such an emotionally charged brand as Mercedes-Benz.