Daimler began construction of a new Mercedes-Benz plant near Moscow this week, following through on the first new investment by a major foreign automaker in Russia since Western sanctions were imposed three years ago.
Daimler said in February that it will invest more than $280 million in the factory, contrasting with widespread wariness among international investors after a prolonged downturn brought on by sanctions and a collapse in global oil prices.
The way people get around is going to change, with more people deciding that they don’t want the hassle of owning a car – they just want to hire one from time to time.
This seems to be the prevailing view among established automakers such as Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, as well as new entrants to the motoring market, such as the smartphone apps which enable users to hail cabs and so on.
With all the current talk of robots taking over the world, and replacing millions of workers everywhere, laying waste to economies and societies everywhere, it is surprising that a company known for its advanced technology is replacing robot workers with human workers.
Prestige auto brand Mercedes has been employing more humans and fewer robots at its car factories because apparently its customers want vehicles with a high degree of customisation which is beyond the capabilities of robots, no matter clever they are.
In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Markus Schaefer, the German automaker’s head of production, says: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”