At the "Mondial de l'Automobile 2016" Mercedes-Benz Cars unveiled its plan for further development of Mercedes-Benz 2020's strategy for growth with its new focus. At the heart is our leadership claim: with the strongest brand and the best products, our aim is to be the number one in the premium segment in terms of profitability and also in terms of unit sales. We are adding four future fields to our leadership claim, which are represented in CASE. CASE stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive.
Four future fields for one comprehensive mobility offering
CASE – these letters will shape the future of Mercedes-Benz Cars. They stand for the strategic future fields of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared) and electric drive systems (Electric), which will be systematically advanced and intelligently combined by Mercedes-Benz Cars. Already today, we play a leading role in all four areas. By bundling them into one all-embracing strategy as part of our strategy for growth Mercedes-Benz 2020 we underline our claim to play a dominant role in the mobility of the future.
Connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric drive systems – each of these four trends has the potential to turn our industry on its head. Yet the real revolution lies in intelligently linking the four trends.
All activities in the area of connectivity are focused on the digital brand Mercedes me, which gives customers access to an extensive and personalised range of services by app, website or straight from their car. One of the next digital service offerings will be "Community-based Parking", in which the sensors in Mercedes-Benz cars detect free parking spaces and share this information with other nearby vehicles using the Daimler Vehicle Backend. This will make it significantly easier to find a parking space.
On the way to autonomous driving, Mercedes-Benz has for years been a key driver of development and has repeatedly set the benchmark. To this end, the Mercedes engineers use so-called sensor fusion. The data from different sensors, such as cameras, ultrasound and radar, are intelligently combined and analysed. Already today, this allows extensive autonomous driving functions, provided they are legally permissible and technically safe. What is already possible today is impressively demonstrated by the new E-Class with DRIVE PILOT. The most important functions include semi-autonomous driving on motorways, country roads and even in the city as well as assistance when changing lanes on multi-lane roads, for example when overtaking. Furthermore, it is capable in more and more situations of autonomously braking the vehicle if required and providing active assistance during evasive manoeuvres.
The inventor of the automobile is also a pioneer when it comes to flexible models for car use: "In 2007, we pioneered free-floating car-sharing with car2go. With around two million users, we are today the world's biggest provider," said Zetsche. And, here too, we are continuously developing new ideas and services. One of the next steps will be a pilot project for the renting of private vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and smart in cooperation with the San Francisco-based start-up Getaround. In addition to its collaboration with start-ups, the company is also developing its own car-sharing projects.
As far as the electrification of the powertrain is concerned, Mercedes-Benz is pursuing an integrated approach. Under the "EQ" brand, it is developing an ecosystem including not just the actual vehicle, but also a comprehensive offering around electric mobility. This extends from intelligent services to energy storage units for private and commercial customers as well as charging technologies, such as inductive charging, to sustainable recycling. The goal is clear: by 2025, Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to have over ten all-electric vehicles in its portfolio. To meet the growing demand for high-quality high-voltage batteries, the company is investing a total of one billion euros in the expansion of its global battery production network, with no less than 500 million euros flowing into the construction of a second battery factory at the site in Kamenz, Saxony.