Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s boss, has made profits of 8.72€ billion euros in 2013, and now he promises to make even more money with car sharing. Zetsche arrived in Italy in order to receive the “Top Manager 2013” award from the magazine InterAutoNews. He’s in a good mood and his famous mustache laughs along with him. Here’s the link to his extensive interview (about Ferrari, Chrysler, compact car and so on) But now let’s talk about the Smart.
When will you start making money with car sharing and the small Smart? “Car2go,”says Zetsche, “has about 600 thousand customers in Europe and North America. According to our plans, by the end of this decade we’ll be able to generate revenues of 800 million with around a 10 percent return. This isn’t a public relations activity. It’s a real trend and a verifiable business opportunity.”
But isn’t the Smart still losing money? “I’m not in the habit of telling lies. I can’t say that our bottom line has improved. However, we’ve made significant gains when it comes to our reputation—even with the electric version. Many other opportunities will present themselves. If we hadn’t invented the Smart 20 years ago, we would’ve done it today.”
The first Smart ForFour was a flop. What are your prospects for the next generation that’ll be created in collaboration with Renault? “The four-seater shares the genes of both cars. I know that the competition is fierce even when it comes to price, but it’ll have a competitive price and unique selling points that competitors can’t offer. Our goal isn’t ambitious—only 20 percent of the market—so it’s doable.”