Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius is not afraid of emerging Chinese competition. According to him, ‘his’ Mercedes will always be just a step ahead.
As one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world, Mercedes-Benz is not afraid of competition from new sources. That is roughly the message that CEO Ola Källenius has in conversation with the British Autocar. According to the Swede, it was also to be expected that sooner or later a new country would emerge that wanted to establish itself worldwide in the automotive industry. “In recent decades we have seen many enter the European and American markets; the Japanese in the 1980s and the Koreans in the 1990s. It is logical that the Chinese also want to go abroad.”
According to Källenius, Mercedes-Benz is armed to the teeth with experience to take on the battle. He believes that there is something that the Chinese cannot simply catch up on. “No company has a longer safety record than Mercedes,” he says. It is striking that he mentions exactly that because safety was the biggest Achilles heel of Chinese brands earlier this century. Nowadays, Chinese brands also score five stars at Euro NCAP, but according to Källenius that doesn’t say it all. “You can go to an insurance company or get stars from a testing agency, but we do tests that no one else does. We crash our own cars and those of our competitors and know exactly what works and what doesn’t.”
Naturally, Källenius believes that there are many more things that cannot be easily caught up. He also mentions the driving behavior and the, according to him, unwavering attention to design details. “All those things ensure that a Mercedes-Benz ends up at the top,” says a CEO who clearly exudes self-confidence.