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Transformation instead of pep talks

That was it, our Capital Market Day ! This event was eagerly anticipated by our workforce and the analysts, and it was also the theme of many media reports. Not all the media across the board, of course, but in the German media most of all.

Lots of bad news items were discussed during the day, and at times you had the feeling that Mister Doom and Lady Gloom were getting ready to meet for dinner in the purgatory of the automobile industry.

This is the usual kind of negative chitchat, which is neatly summed up by the acronym FUD,which stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It’s ultimately a disinformation strategy, which I don’t believe is at all justified in this context. Germans simply have a very ingrained habit of regarding certain developments very critically at first glance.

Frugality, workforce reductions, making processes leaner…of course these are not necessarily the terms you’d expect to hear at a global motivational event. However, they are important, and they show unmistakably that we’ve got a clear-cut strategy for the future of our Group.

Electric mobility, autonomously driving vehicles, and mobility services are disrupting our sector in ways we’ve never seen before. The digitalization of our sector is generating new players and, even more importantly, new fields of competition that have the potential to turn decades-old structures upside down. This transformation has to be confronted. In fact, I declare that we should welcome it, because it offers us new potential.

Our considerable investments in eMobility (a global network of battery factories , new models, and the procurement of battery cells), our strategies for future autonomous platforms, and the way that mobility is changing in urban centers — in all of these areas we’ve presented pioneering strategies that are meant to reinforce our claim to be the market leader in the premium segment.

We have consistently set the course for the future here. EV First is our way!

EV First: Electrifying our entire portfolio
EV First: Electrifying our entire portfolio

In view of the fact that the premium segment will grow at an average rate of 2.6% in the next ten years (while the market as a whole will grow by 1.6%), we would do well to forge ahead with our transformation into a brand of “sustainable luxury ” and to defend our leading position in this segment. And I think that we’ve set the course in this direction for cars as well as for developments in the commercial vehicle segment.

In addition to electrifying the entire portfolio, autonomous driving is, of course, one of the decisive pillars. The same goes for the question of how to earn money with it.I think it is an important signal that we are focusing first on trucks in the commercial implementation of Level 4 and 5. Especially since we will be maintaining the development of passenger cars.

All of this sounds a lot like an optimistic forecast and a pep talk, doesn’t it? No, it isn’t. On the contrary.

Pep talks urge people to maintain the status quo and express the hope that some miracle will happen to somehow change a precarious situation into a positive one. By contrast, we are looking to the future and transforming our company more fundamentally than ever before!

Pallegram is Sascha Pallenberg's column and comes on Fridays.

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Sascha Pallenberg

At the age of four Sascha sat for the first time at the 24h race at the Nordschleife. Ten years later, in 1985, he went online for the first time. At least for a month, because then the phone bill surprised his parents. But at least this time still forms the foundation for his passion for the intersection of mobility and the digital world.

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