Mercedes walks back on its EV targets

Caution! Low Voltage! ⚡️

This thumbnail was meant to advertise something else of theirs, but…

This is what I wrote to you back in July 2021, to our Pro Reports (back then called EV Industry2), on all the headlines announcing Mercedes-Benz is going all-electric by 2030. It’s always in the fine print we should be looking at:

Well, looks like now is a good time as any other for Mercedes to use that little door to back out of its EV plans.

Mercedes now announced it is walking back on its EV sales targets (without saying it like that, of course).

The previous “100% all-electric by 2030”, even without the disclaimers, now becomes “50% xEV by the second half of the decade”. Translation: they are targeting just 50% of their sales to be battery-electric, or plug-in hybrid, by 2030.

Here are their 2023 financial results, with the outlook of the future strategy (link).

Although it doesn’t seem to be recognized in the news yet, this is a massive change if we think about it. It’s nearly a weak, non-goal now really. They have basically buried the BEV targets altogether, now talking only of “xEV share”, as its new guidance KPI. (link)

Context from our 2023 OEM sales tracker (launching to the Pro members this week): Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars (including smart) sold 240,668 BEVs in 2023, which was 11.77% of its overall sales. It was also a 61.3% increase from the 149,227 BEVs sold in 2022. In 2022 it had a 7.31% BEV mix in sales.

Considering the smart BEV sales came in at 18,100 for 2023 (a -12% drop from 2022), this means Mercedes’ own EV lineup increase year-over-year was even a bit larger, at 73% all-electric growth for 2023.

We would assume that Mercedes ICE sales skyrocketed this year which makes them walk back on their plans, right? Nope. They sold as many cars in total, as they did in 2022 (2,043,800 in 2023 vs 2,043,900 in 2022).

So, this means the sales of their overall not-electric, aka fossil cars sales shrank by 4,67% in 2023 (1,803,200) compared to 2022 (1,891,500).

Looks like Mercedes will stick with the short-term fossil-fueled view, because it’ll be easy to keep selling some ICE and hybrids for a while. The EV market demand fluctuates too, who would’ve guessed? Mercedes even announced another €3B ($3.2B) in stock buybacks, which are to start when they’re finished with the current €4B one.

Mercedes will be fine. For just a bit. And then it’ll wake up in 2028 or so to realize they’ve given up most of their market share to the automakers that are focusing all their might on building nothing but EVs right now. Be they from Europe, US, or elsewhere.

Disclaimer — I might be totally wrong and overly salty here, of course.

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