Mercedes-Benz claims luxury pole position in 2017

The Mercedes logo is shown as the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is introduced at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, US on Nov. 18, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 January 2018
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Mercedes-Benz claims luxury pole position in 2017

FRANKFURT: Mercedes-Benz said Monday it had defended its top spot as the world’s biggest luxury carmaker in 2017, with a surge in sales, particularly in China, enabling it to clock up another record year.
The Stuttgart-based group reported sales of around 2.3 million cars last year, an increase of almost 10 percent on the figure for 2016 and its seventh record year in a row.
Much of the growth was attributable to Mercedes’ breakneck expansion in China, where sales grew by 26 percent, and the ever-rising appeal of its SUVs, with the luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles accounting for more than one in three sales worldwide.
The group claimed its three-pointed star remained the top high-end car brand worldwide, after overtaking Munich-based rivals BMW in 2016.
BMW has yet to release full-year sales figures for 2017, but the latest release from November shows the group significantly lagging Mercedes.
“Success in our core business provides the basis for us to actively shape the mobility of the future,” said Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Mercedes parent company Daimler.
Like other carmakers, Mercedes is investing heavily in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, as well as more efficient, less polluting traditional motors.
Manufacturers are racing to polish up their environmental credentials and meet more stringent emissions requirements.


Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla on Monday confirmed that the head of Model 3 production, who went on leave after chief executive Elon Musk took over his duties, will not be returning.
The departure of engineering senior vice president Doug Field came as California-based Tesla appeared to have finally hit a self-imposed goal of cranking out 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.
Tesla co-founder Musk fired off a Twitter post over the weekend saying “7,000 cars, 7 days.”
In a note to investors on Monday, Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities said that in the preceding week, Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla has been under pressure to increase production to show it can operate profitably and at the kind of scale needed to be considered a major auto company.
Musk has been managing the Tesla production line, which has been rejiggered to pump out cars faster.
Field will not be returning to the company, according to Tesla.
“After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on,” a company spokesman told AFP.
“We’d like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla.”
Tesla announced in June that it was cutting nine percent of its workforce to enhance profitability, but said the move would not affect an ambitious production ramp-up of its Model 3 sedan.
The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring to address excess staff in some areas due to the company’s speedy growth, Musk said in an email to employees.
The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets, said Musk, who characterized the downsizing as an acknowledgement of the need to focus more on costs.
“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” Musk said in the message.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable.”
Shares of Tesla closed the formal trading day down 2.3 percent to $335.07 but regained some of that ground in after-market trades.