Although its CEO, Dieter Zetshe, claims he is not interested in getting a bigger Tesla stake, a Daimler top executive now said the German parent of Mercedes-Benz would like to increase its cooperation with Tesla.
Tesla is at the moment giving electric motors and batteries to Daimler for its Smart Fortwo EV and the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV that reaches showrooms next year in the United States and Europe.
“I told my guys, go back to Tesla and look for other opportunities” to work together, Bodo Uebber, Daimler’s chief financial officer, said at a press briefing. “We want to look for more cooperation.”
“We could use more” from Tesla, Uebber commented, declining to be more specific. Daimler has 4.3 percent of Tesla’s shares, with the US automaker also providing EV components to Japan’s Toyota.
Uebber said Daimler, which just released its new CLA compact sedan and is preparing to add a second model, the GLA compact crossover, in early 2014, is already mulling plans for its next generation of small vehicles, coming in 2018.
“We are a late comer” to the small premium segment, he said, but “we need compact cars to get a broader, younger customer base.”
He said the CLA, the GLA and at least one more derivative to be introduced in 2015, all riding the company’s MFA modular platform are key to Daimler’s growth, mainly in the United States and China.