Mercedes-Benz to increase business with China auto suppliers

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Daimler AG will deepen partnerships with Chinese auto suppliers since they often lead United States and European competitors in major technologies for electric vehicles and connected vehicles, Mercedes-Benz executive Wilko Stark stated on Thursday.

Stark, who is presently the head of Procurement and Supplier Quality at Mercedes-Benz stated the shift toward electric and connected cars has made it more reliant on battery cell chemistry and connected vehicles expertise from outside the firm.

“We will consider partnerships in some areas. The role of partnerships as a whole will gain in importance,” Stark stated during a news conference in Stuttgart to talk about the German automaker’s procurement strategy.

Mercedes-Benz will depend more on its suppliers to take a leading role in the area of research and development along with the identification of cost-cutting potential through process optimization, Stark stated.

Daimler is also considering a broader alliance on batteries in view of the challenge of attempting to police potential ethical or human rights violations in mining of rare earth minerals – such as cobalt, which is regularly found in conflict zones, but is required for electric car batteries.

By wrapping up orders for components for standard and electric vehicles with the same provider, Mercedes-Benz hopes to help its supplier base manage the transition of electric and non-electric cars.

Other than these discussions, Stark stated the replacement of Carlos Ghosn as Renault chairman will have no effect on an alliance between Renault and Mercedes.

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