Recent news pertaining to the German auto giant Daimler suggests that it is making a strategic shift towards software driven autonomous and connected driving that will complement its inherent strengths in designing and producing cars, buses and trucks. And to make this significant futuristic shift, the company has chosen India to act as a pivot around which the company will implement its strategy. The reasons for choosing India for this important shift are manifold: a booming automobile market, a favorable demography for future growth and availability of skilled manpower at a fraction of the cost compared to the ones that are available in developing countries, among a host of other reasons.
According to company sources, Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, will soon hire hundreds of engineers to boost up its existing setup in Bangalore (it already has around 1300 engineers) so that the company can focus more intensely on its much touted mobility first project. According to this project, in future, a person can choose between cars for different purposes – like one type of model he or she can use to travel daily to his or her place of work, whereas another model can be used while going on a weekend trip with the family.
News filtering in also suggests that it will be a front wheel drive, though there is no information regarding the engine configuration and transmission setup of this compact sedan. But seeing other BMW models, we believe the engine that will propel this sexy beast is likely to feature a turbocharger to squeeze more juice out of this motor, thereby giving riders a mind blowing performance.
The inspiration for this project seems to have come from the new autonomous drive cars developed by Tesla and the explosive success of Uber, where the company proved that more and more people are relying on apps to get a car that will drive them to their destination rather than facing the daily hassle of driving their own cars through maddening traffic. Company sources suggest that although the company will continue to make cars and trucks, its new focus will be to enable customers to use its products without owning it.
The CIO of Daimler, Jan Brecht, on his visit to the Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India (MBRDI), Bengaluru, said,"There are two things to this as every other company will evolve more into a software company. There is no way to not be a software company. Secondly, the question to any company is where is profit? Right now profit is in selling products, in the future profit will be selling mobility."
He further stated, "We will still make cars and trucks, but there might be different models in it. You will see the product prominently but you might not have to own the product. We will shift from selling a mechanical product to selling mobility services."
The new strategy will see the company store a huge amount of data related to the driving habits of its consumers from all over the world in Germany, which can then be uploaded to cloud storage so that the same could be accessed by its engineers sitting across major regional centers like Bangalore to make tailor-made mobility software for individual consumers driving a Daimler product.
Among the 8,400 robust IT team of Daimler, 1300 are the dedicated software professionals and more will be hired soon to strengthen the first mobility strategy of Daimler to deepen its roots as a mobile services company.
The company spokesperson was quick to clarify that personal data of all individuals will be stored at a secured place. He further stated that the company will fulfill all legal norms of countries in which it will launch the concept of driverless cars so that consumers do not face any problem in future, but continue to enjoy world class services of Daimler.