FRANKFURT -- Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says the company's Mercedes-Benz brand will challenge rival German premium brands BMW and Audi for the position as the world's best-selling and most profitable luxury carmaker.
In a rallying call to employeees, Zetsche admits that Mercedes is being outpaced by rivals, but says: "Our competitors' success should provide us with additional motivation."
Zetsche issued the challenge in a letter to Daimler employees, a copy of which was obtained by Automotive News Europe.
He writes: "Some of our competitors are now growing faster and more profitably than we are. Granted, those are just snapshots in time and should not be overestimated. After all, many of our best new products are yet to come."
Zetsche adds: "In the long run we can't be content to be in a 'solid second' or even 'third' place: We are Daimler – we should be far ahead of the pack! And if that requires something that we don't currently have, then we'll identify and develop it."
Zetsche ends the letter by saying: "Enjoy your summer and refill your tanks. Because in the second half of this year we're going to continue to play some hard offense!"
Mercedes lags rivals
Luxury car makers are enjoying booming sales, fuelled by growing wealth in China and a rebound in the United States, but Mercedes' growth is lagging its German rivals.
In the first six months, Mercedes car brand global sales increased 9.7 percent to 610,531. BMW brand sales grew 17.8 percent to 689,861, while Audi saw sales rise by 17.7 percent to 652,970.