Daimler: Reinventing Mobility

By Robert E. Siegel, Amadeus Orleans
2017 | Case No. E642 | Length 25 pgs.

In 2017, significant changes were sweeping the global automotive industry: the rapid growth of electric vehicles, the race to develop commercially reliable autonomous cars and the ride-sharing phenomenon. Those trends were magnified by technological advancements around connectivity between drivers and their vehicles, as well as changes in consumer preferences, especially related to waning interest in car ownership. Additionally, China’s increasing influence in the global markets and aggressive push for automotive innovation were shaking the industry.

Daimler, manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars and one of the long-standing industry pioneers, started to react in order to preserve its leadership. Wilko Stark was made CEO of a new business unit called CASE, in charge of developing solutions to address the new trends. The multifaceted efforts in research, product development, strategic planning and technology investments faced several challenges, however. Notably, issues emerged regarding need for new talents and skills, relationship with labor unions, brand preservation, experimentation with new sales and distribution models and intense competition from traditional and new players.

Learning Objective

The teaching objective of this case is to give students an overview of how traditional companies react to technological disruption, specifically in the context of the automotive industry.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff, as well as Stanford GSB alumni. For inquires, contact the Case Writing Office. Download