Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche recently revealed to the German press that a quick recent trip to Silicon Valley had shown him that both Google and Apple were further down the road with their automotive projects than he had thought.
“Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed. At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought,” Zetsche told the paper.
Zetsche’s comments follow a discussion with a small and undisclosed group of senior managers within Silicon Valley.
“There were concrete talks. I will not say anything about the content. It was not just about the fact that there is an innovative spirit in the Valley. We know that already. We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it,” Zetsche told the paper, explaining that they had also looked at startup firms.
Mercedes Benz is expecting strong U.S. growth this year, with passenger cars increasing sales in the 1 to 1.5 percent range in 2016.
In separate remarks, Zetsche noted German automotive officials in the KBA had spent three days testing various Mercedes and Smart models to see if they fell within stringent national emission standards.
“To my knowledge, no conspicuous emissions levels were found,” Zetsche told the paper.