Spotlight on the Sustainable Future of Europe’s Auto Industry

Munich, Germany

Anahita Thoms Talks Trade and Sustainability with Eckart von Klaeden from Daimler AG

As the automotive industry considers the future landscape, aside from the impact of COVID-19 and increasing digitalization, automotive companies are also looking to prioritize sustainability at strategic, operational and commercial levels. Anahita Thoms, Head of International Trade, Germany speaks with Eckart von Klaeden, Vice President and Head of External Affairs, Daimler AG about Daimler’s position about the current challenges and the future landscape of European automotive and auto supply chains.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the global automotive industry?

COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented drop of global automotive markets. Restrictive measures to limit the spread of the virus have had a significant impact on sales of new vehicles particularly in March, April and May. Most markets have improved since then. Provided there will not be a massive second infection wave, demand should continue to recover in the second half of the year, but global passenger vehicle and truck markets are still expected to post drastic declines in total 2020. Apart from the negative effects for OEMs, COVID-19 has dramatic consequences for the automotive supplier industry. For small and medium-sized enterprises with limited financial reserves, the current crisis may even represent an existential threat.

How did Daimler perform during COVID-19?

Overall, COVID-19 had a significant impact on the Daimler business in the first half of 2020. Unit sales went down by 26% compared to 2019, more precisely from 1.595 million units in the first half of 2019 to 1.186 million units in the first half of 2020. However, one can notice first signs of sales recovery and a strong finish to global retail car deliveries for the second quarter in June. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz Cars had the best second quarter ever in China, as they were able to sell 196,200 units, which equals a plus of 17% compared year…

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