Korea will become a hot spot in the areas of telematics, navigation system, connected car, and driver assistance system, said a top executive of Mercedes-Benz on Nov. 7.
“Mercedes-Benz will cooperate with Korea in these fields,” said Markus Schaefer, a management board member of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for production and the supply chain.
Schaeffer met with Korean reporters after attending the opening ceremony of the Meredes-Benz R&D Korea Center at Seoul Square in front of Seoul Station.
Schaeffer has been in charge of production and the supply chain for passenger cars since January 2014, and will be promoted to a general manager in charge of research at the Daimler Group and passenger car development at Mercedes-Benz starting in April next year.
The Meredes-Benz R&D Korea Center opened in 2014. Initially, it had four researchers and technical experts, but its staff will be expanded to over 40 by the end of this year.
"Korea retained its No. 1 ranking in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index and is one of the undisputed leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Schaeffer said. "The Meredes-Benz R&D Korea Center is the hub of the company’s R&D innovation and the center of R&D in Asia."
In particular, he stressed that the German carmaker will seek to develop its vision of "CASE" through the Korean R&D hub.
CASE sums up Meredes-Benz’s strategy for future mobility. It is an acronym that stands for “connected,” “automonomus,” “shared & services,” and “electric.”
"Benz's future will be explained in these four letters," Schaeffer said.
"Powertrains are being electrified worldwide due to strengthened regulations on emissions in each country and more crowded cities," he said. "We are also planning to improve the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines and introduce plug-in hybrid cars and high-speed electric cars."
He also stressed that the company is expanding its parts logistics center by investing more than 35 billion won and is maintaining cooperative relationships with many South Korean partners.
By the first quarter of next year, Benz Korea is planning to expand the storage space of the parts logistics center by 50% and hire about 50 more workers.
"Benz has long depended on the expertise and competitiveness of Korean suppliers," Schaeffer said.
According to him, more than 200 Korean partners have been approved by the Meredes-Benz. "This means that they are all meeting our standards and demands regarding quality and specifications," Schaeffer said. "Korean companies are very advanced, strong and fast in connectivity."
He also noted that Korea is also very competitive in battery cells. Battery cells from Korean producers are installed in Mercedes-Benz electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold in markets around the world.