STUTTGART – Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is determined to push Mercedes-Benz back to the leading position among premium automakers.
"Our goal is to be No. 1 in profitability and sales in the premium segment. The objective is clear, and so is our commitment. Concrete measures are next. We will talk more precisely about our milestones later," Zetsche told Automotive News Europe.
After Mercedes recently launched a new marketing offensive with the slogan "The best or Nothing," Zetsche said the next step is to follow up with clear volume targets.
The CEO forecasts a significant sales increase in 2011, compared with last year.
"This year, we expect sales of more than 1.35 million for Mercedes Benz Cars," he said. In 2010, the company sold 1.17 million cars.
Zetsche also sees increasing sales for the company's Smart microcar brand. "Last year, the figure was 97,500 Smarts. In 2011, we are aiming for 100, 000," he said.
Daimler has announced a goal to sell 1.5 million Mercedes cars by 2015. Audi has said it wants to reach the same volume a year earlier, in 2014.
Zetsche believes Mercedes will beat Audi in volume sales.
"In recent years, we invariably sold fewer vehicles than Audi in the first four months of the year. This year, this was the case for six months. But we were still ahead for all of 2010. It is certainly a bit tighter this year. But I am confident."