Daimler unveils plans to split Mercedes brand into two parts

Proposal would create two separate companies, Daimler Truck and Mercedes-Benz cars

Daimler-Benz is considering a proposal by its chairman to split the truck- and car-making giant in two. The proposal would separate out the car and van-making side from the heavy truck and bus operations.

"This is a historic moment for Daimler, " Daimler's chairman Ola Källenius said.

Mr Källenius said that Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Truck "operate in industries that are facing major technological and structural changes".

“Given this context, we believe they will be able to operate most effectively as independent entities, equipped with strong net liquidity and free from the constraints of a conglomerate structure,” he said.


If the proposal is adopted it would mean the last combined truck- and car-maker would be no more.

Mercedes has always managed to successfully mix and match its commercial vehicle operations with its luxury car-making side. That mix, it would seem, is no longer fit for purpose.

Zero emissions

As Mr Källenius puts it, he wants the company to “unlock the full potential of its businesses in a zero-emissions, software-driven future”. Given that heavy trucks will likely be among the last vehicles to convert to zero-emissions power, it seems likely that the emissions weight of such vehicles is something that Mercedes, as a car brand, can no longer afford to be associated with.

If the plan goes ahead, the new Daimler Truck company will be listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, and the majority of its shares will, initially at least, be held by existing Daimler shareholders.

At the same time, Daimler-Benz itself would rebrand as Mercedes-Benz, bringing an end to more than 100 years of the Daimler corporate name.

“We have confidence in the financial and operational strength of our two vehicle divisions,” Mr Källenius said.

He went on to say that “independent management and governance will allow them to operate even faster, invest more ambitiously, target growth and co-operation, and thus be significantly more agile and competitive”.

“This is a pivotal moment for Daimler Truck. With independence comes greater opportunity, greater visibility and transparency. We will grow further and continue our leadership in alternative powertrains and automation,” Martin Daum, chairman of Daimler Truck, said.


Daimler Truck is the world’s largest truck and bus producer, with industry-leading positions in Europe, North America and Asia, and with more than 35 main locations around the globe.

With more than 100,000 employees, it unites seven brands under one roof: BharatBenz, Freightliner, Fuso, Mercedes-Benz, Setra, Thomas Built Buses and Western Star.

In 2019, a total of about half a million trucks and buses were delivered to customers. Revenue in 2019 for the individual divisions were €40.2 billion for Daimler Trucks and €4 .7 billion for Daimler Buses.

The Daimler supervisory board and the general works council (which represents the union side of the operation) have already given their assent to the plan, and the proposal will be put to the shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in the third quarter of this year.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring