GENEVA, March 3 Carmakers will need to ensure
their vehicles can connect to mobile devices and the internet if
they are to survive, Daimler chief executive Dieter
Zetsche said on Monday.
His comments came after Daimler's Mercedes-Benz said it
would make cars compatible with new software developed by Apple
, known as CarPlay.
Daimler will also be offering compatibility to Android-based
devices, the company added.
"Virtually no product, including the automobile, is
purchased or used in a vacuum," Zetsche said at a Daimler event
in Geneva, on the eve of the city's motor show.
"We all know that the iPod for example, was not just a game
changer based solely on design or technology. It is also about
the convenient connection to iTunes," Zetsche said, adding that
"customers are buying the total package."
Mercedes unveiled a new service brand "Mercedes me" which
allows clients to gain access to a raft of mobility services
including its car-sharing business car2go, or myTaxi.
It also allows people to find out where their car is parked
or to book a service appointment using their mobile phone.
The offering is part of a raft of initiatives from carmakers
aimed at using software to make their vehicles more appealing to
Ola Kaellenius, Mercedes-Benz board member responsible for
sales and marketing, said Daimler wanted to get away from the
idea that service only meant "maintenance."
"One important aspect here is that we no longer expect our
customers to come and find us. We go and find them," Kaellenius
said, adding a smartphone was one of the main ways to connect to
"As early as this summer, we will begin to equip our cars
with the hardware necessary to connect them to our customers'
digital life and make them virtually accessible, all the time
Separately, Daimler said global sales of Mercedes-Benz
luxury vehicles had risen by a double-digit percentage in
"Our new products have played the major role in our growth
plan," Zetsche said, adding that sales of a new generation of
compact vehicles which includes the A-Class, had risen 64
percent compared with the year-earlier period.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)