Unlike German auto titans BMW Group and Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler didn’t have the stabilizing effect of a family or individual with a massive, long-term cache of company shares. That’s no longer the case, as Geely Group owner Li Shufu has announced his purchase of a 9.69 percent stake in the German automaker.
This makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder.
The Chinese auto tycoon, whose Zheijang Geely Holding Group manages car-producing Geely Group, already owns Volvo Cars and Lotus, and is a major shareholder in truck builder Volvo AB. Always on the hunt for opportunities, the near 10-percent stake in Germany’s largest luxury automaker should give Shufu the partnership he’s looking for.Â
“Daimler is an outstanding company with a first-class management. It will be an honor to support this unique team under the leadership of Dieter Zetsche in the future,â€� said Shufu in a statement. â€œI am particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming the worldâ€™s leading electro-mobility provider.â€�
Neither Geely Group nor any other subsidiary in the holding company plan to purchase more Daimler shares, at least “for the time being.”
While Shufu didn’t go into further product details, the share buy reportedly comes with the intent to partner with Daimler on electric vehicle production. Having access to the German company’s electrification technology would give Geely a technological edge in both the rapidly growing (and EV-heavy) Chinese market and the automaker’s export markets. To Shufu, the industry is now on a war footing, fighting against marauding high-tech startups.
â€œThe competitors which technologically challenge the global car industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today,” he said. “But with challenges come opportunities. No current car industry player will be able to win this battle against the invaders from outside independently. In order to succeed and seize the technology highland, one has to have friends, partners, and alliances and adapt a new way of thinking in terms of sharing and united strength. And we have act now.â€�
For its part, Daimler seems pretty pleased that Shufu’s in it for the long haul.
Stating that its new shareholder recognizes the “innovation strength, the strategy and the future potential” of the automaker, Daimler said it “knows and appreciates Li Shufu as an especially knowledgeable Chinese entrepreneur with clear vision for the future, with whom one can constructive discuss the change in the industry.”
[Image: Daimler AG]