“Boring” EQC fails to provide Mercedes-Benz with EV momentum

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC. (Credit: Mercedes-Benz)

The Mercedes-Benz EQC was supposed to be the German automaker’s answer to Tesla’s emergence as the dominant force in electric transportation. After an introduction that could only be described as a disappointment, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler’s Shareholder meeting on Wednesday revealed how some investors felt about the EQC’s underwhelming performance.

“Too late, too expensive, and too boring,” Speich said about the EQC, which has had less-than-desirable sales figures, according to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority.

In 2019, only 397 units of the EQC were sold, and as of May 28, 2020, an additional 276 have been sold. The combination of these two figures is indicative of less than 700 units sold since the vehicle’s launch in late 2019.

2019 was a rough year for Daimler, and the EQC undoubtedly contributed to the struggles the automaker felt over the previous twelve months. Deka Investment, which holds about 5.4 million shares of Daimler stock, was vocal when the EQC came to light during the Shareholder meeting.

The all-electric EQC was released last year, and Deka’s Head of Sustainability and Corporate Governance Ingo Speich had prepared remarks that broke down the disappointing performance of the car, Yahoo reported.

Not all is bad for Mercedes-Benz, though. The company’s deliveries in China climbed to a record in Q2 2020, and truck and global car sales rose in June compared to the same month in 2019. The company did state that it will not turn a profit in the quarter due to the coronavirus, which halted the automaker’s momentum that included a plan to implement “thousands” of efficiency measures, according to Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius.

“Our previous efficiency goals covered the upcoming transformation, but not a global recession,” Kallenius said. “Daimler can do better, and we are determined to deliver.”

Mercedes will unveil the compact EQA electric car later this year, Kallenius said. The luxury car company will also offer five electric models and more than 20 plug-in hybrids by the end of the year. The push toward electrification is geared toward meeting strict European emissions rules in 2020 and 2021. Kallenius stated that reaching the CO2 limits will be “challenging.”

Daimler shares have declined by 24% so far in 2020, giving the company a market cap of €40 billion, or $45.3 billion. This figure is less than 20% of Tesla’s $257.26 billion market cap.

Daimler also announced a restructuring plan in November that foresaw the elimination of more than 10,000 jobs worldwide. The move will save the company €1.4 billion, or $1.58 billion in personnel spending by 2022.

Although the EQC did not live up to the hype that Mercedes-Benz expected, there is still hope. With the German automaker planning to produce several more fully-electric models and a broad spectrum of hybrid vehicles in the future, the push toward a sustainable fleet is still within reason. Mercedes has a long history of manufacturing luxury automobiles, and shifting to electric transportation presents a variety of exciting challenges that have stumped some of the biggest car companies in the world, like Volkswagen.

There is room for improvement, but the EQC is not necessarily an indicator of what Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The company must learn from the underwhelming performance of the EQC and push for the development of more advanced EV technologies for its future models.

“Boring” EQC fails to provide Mercedes-Benz with EV momentum
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