The four-cylinder is a project by Daimler with the major Chinese shareholder Li Shufu and his car company Geely. It could be the start for further joint projects.
Ein a world engine that goes just as well with a stately Mercedes hybrid as it does with a Chinese mass-produced car: this is a development project that Mercedes has agreed with the major Daimler shareholder Li Shufu and which is being implemented with his car company Geely, including the Volvo engine division. In 2024, the four-cylinder engines, for the development of which Mercedes is in charge, should lead to series production for the various brands.
China and Germany are apparently planned as locations for engine construction. This has not yet been finally clarified, said a spokesman. Nor can one talk about numbers of pieces. The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported that hundreds of thousands of engines were planned, which would enable Daimler to achieve savings in the three-digit million range. The Stuttgart-based company does not want to confirm this in concrete terms, it only vaguely speaks of the goal of “improving global competitiveness and achieving economies of scale”. For Daimler, the project is above all a further step towards working with the major Chinese shareholder.
Thick air in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim
Shortly after he became a major shareholder in Stuttgart with the purchase of almost 10 percent of Daimler shares in February 2018, Li Shufu had formulated his comprehensive vision in an article for the FAZ: Any cooperation of mutual benefit “can and should” be discussed. Too much of this has not yet been realized. However, Daimler is happy to have the long-term problem child Smart as a pure electric brand with the partner. The current engine project, however, could only be the start of further joint projects. “We have seen strong momentum in the development of the Chinese auto industry in recent years and are convinced that China will continue to offer great potential in terms of innovation, efficiency and economies of scale,” says Daimler.
At the traditional location in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim there is a lot of trouble because of the project – because the increasing electrification of the Mercedes product range means thousands of jobs are at risk here in the medium term. Negotiations are currently underway about the downsizing, which, like at all other German Mercedes locations, is to be achieved without redundancies. The development project planned with Geely and Volvo has no influence on this, according to Daimler.
Group boss Ola Källenius has made it clear several times in the past few months that the company no longer wants to invest in combustion technology on the way to production that is as climate-neutral as possible. The engine that has now been announced is known as a “highly efficient modular engine” that can be used for hybrid vehicles, but is apparently also prepared for the use of hydrogen or climate-friendly e-fuels, for example.