STUTTGART -- Daimler plans to deepen
partnerships with Chinese suppliers as part of efforts to develop electric and
connected vehicles, Wilko Stark, board member for procurement at
Mercedes-Benz said on Thursday.
Stark, who is head of procurement and supplier quality at Mercedes-Benz, said the shift toward electric and
connected cars has made Mercedes-Benz more dependent on battery
cell chemistry and connected-vehicle expertise from outside.
"China will dramatically increase in importance," Stark said
at a news conference in Stuttgart discussing the German automaker's procurement strategy.
"China is setting the pace on electric mobility, and lots of
cell producers come from China. There are no European or U.S.
players in this field," Stark said.
"In the area of connectivity services the Chinese are ahead
of the Americans, we have no choice but to deepen our
relationship with these suppliers," he said, naming China's
Alibaba and Tencent as leading players.
Daimler is also thinking about a broader batteries alliance
in view of the challenge carmakers face trying to police
potential ethical or human rights violations mining rare earths
like Cobalt, which is needed for electric car batteries.
"But there are no formal decisions in this area," Stark
Separately, Stark said the replacement of Carlos Ghosn as
Renault chairman will have no impact on the alliance between
Renault and Mercedes.
"We have a relatively stable cooperation and supply
agreement with Renault-Nissan. This supply relationship is
stable and will remain unchanged," Stark said.
Renault on Thursday appointed Michelin boss Jean-Dominique
Senard as chairman after Carlos Ghosn was forced to
resign in the wake of a financial scandal that has rocked the
French carmaker and its partner Nissan.