The industry as a whole is close to catching up with the world wide web in terms of the “version” it has reached, if we’re to believe what Mercedes-Benz is telling us.
When the financial crisis struck in 2007, the automotive industry was predictably one of the most badly hit sectors, as people suddenly realized they could still drive their two-year-old car and didn’t really need a new one.
While they have an undeniable practical side, cars were treated as luxury products before the turmoil, so when the affected population had to make cuts in their spending, the automobiles were the obvious first choice.
I’m not going to be that guy that says the 2007 financial crisis was a good thing, but I do think it made every carmaker realize it was time to change their ways and build a more efficient business if they wanted to make it out in one piece.
So what could have spelled the partial collapse of the automotive industry only helped the ones surviving it get stronger.
One of the brands that’s clearly been on an ascending trajectory lately is Mercedes-Benz, the German premium manufacturer that is currently busy filling every possible niche while not saying no to creating new ones.
If you’re a bit confused about what web 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0 stand for, you’ll be even more in the dark regarding the “industrie 4.0,” as the Schwabs are calling it. Basically, it has to do with the digitalization of... well, everything.
Dieter Zetsche, to the rescue
“All major trends in the automobile industry are already driven by digitalization, or are driving it themselves. Our aim is to be the world's leading, most innovative automobile manufacturer when it comes to digital technologies, too,” was Dieter Zetsche’s take on it, the Chairman of the Board Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
This digital revolution can affect pretty much every stage in the process of making and selling a car, not to mention actually using it. The potential implications are huge, with benefits for everybody involved. Naturally, Mercedes-Benz aims to be at the forefront of this digital revolution, whether it refers to electrical cars, self-driving automobiles, or a new process of manufacturing.
While in the ‘70s the Mercedes-Benz range consisted of three models and that was enough to satisfy all customers’ needs, now that number has increased tenfold, and the Stuttgart-based company foresees a future where mass production will give way to a sort of tailored manufacturing, where every product would be personalized according to the client’s wishes.
This will have a wide range of repercussions, from the manufacturing process - we’ll get things like “smart factories” - to the way the company interacts with the end client (think of what Tesla is doing, for example).
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the automotive world is following so closely the evolution of the digital realm, as the two are so tightly interlocked. For more on what these changes will bring, read the full press release below.
Read the Press Release here
Mercedes-Benz Talks About ?Industrie 4.0,? the Next Step in the Industrial Revolution