“From Tesla’s perspective it may be more interesting to work with BMW”.
Daimler Tesla Stake Sale
Daimler’s decision to sell off its stake in electric car pioneer Telsa Motors surprised investors, who speculated that this might mean closer ties to Mercedes rival BMW.
News Mercedes parent Daimler sold its four per cent stake in Tesla Motors, and pocketed a $780 million profit came out of the blue, not least because in January, Daimler CEO Dieter Setscrew said the cooperation deal had room for further expansion. Tesla supplies electric motors and batteries for the Smart For Two electric vehicle and the Mercedes B-class electric car.
Daimler announced that the sale of the stake didn’t mean that cooperation with Tesla would end.
Earlier this year Tesla said it would allow competitor car companies to share its patents, in the hope this would stimulate the overall market for electric cars. In June, Tesla and BMW executives met to discuss how to standardize a charging network for electric cars. BMW has led Europe’s response to Tesla’s electric car success with its i3 electric city car and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar.
International Strategy & Investment analyst Arndt Ellinghorst pointed out that cooperation between Tesla and Daimler didn’t require an equity stake and he believed this would continue. But he saw signs recently that the ties with Daimler might be weakening, and that Tesla might be more interested in BMW’s pioneering carbon fibre technology.
BMW’s carbon fibre
“In our view the ties between the two companies have loosened over time. From Tesla’s perspective it may be more interesting to work with BMW going forward, given BMW’s carbon fibre technology, than with Mercedes on the B-class,” Ellinghorst said.
“Tesla has emerged as a serious competitor with the (Mercedes) Model S-class in the U.S. last year and running not far behind the all new Mercedes model year to date,” Ellinghorst said.
After the news, Mercedes insisted nothing much had changed with Tesla.
“We are extremely satisfied with the development of our investment in Tesla, but it is not necessary for our partnership and cooperation. For this reason, we have decided to divest of our shares,” Daimler chief financial officer Bodo Uebber said.
The agreement to supply Mercedes-Benz cars with Tesla battery technology remains unaffected by the sale, CEO Zetsche said.