Daimler AG (DMLRY) is a multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The company was formed in 1926 with the merger of Benz & Cie and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. Today, the automaker is one of the world’s largest producers of luxury cars and is the biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Daimler has roughly 300,000 employees worldwide and over $200 billion in revenue, as the company produces a variety of vehicles under numerous brands around the world and also operates a financial services segment.


In 1886, original founders Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz created the world’s first gasoline-powered automobile, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. The first Mercedes automobile was marketed in 1901. Primarily known in the United States for its line of premium vehicles, the Mercedes-Benz car division produces a wide range of models, such as the A Class and B Class, SUVs, roadsters, coupes, convertibles, and S Class luxury sedans.

Key Takeaways

  • Germany's Daimler AG is one of the biggest producers of luxury cars and the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles.
  • The company has numerous brands and a financing unit called Mercedes-Benz Bank.
  • Mercedes-Benz, which is best known for its luxury vehicles, is a subsidiary of Daimler AG.
  • Freightliner, Thomas Built Buses, Detroit Diesel, and Smart Automobile are also part of Daimler.

Mercedes-Benz also sells trucks, coaches, buses, and bus chassis, primarily in Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In addition, the company produces a line of commercial work vans under the Sprinter brand. In 2019, Forbes listed Mercedes-Benz as the 17th most valuable brand in the world, with more than $125 billion in sales and 167,000 employees.


Daimler AG acquired American truck manufacturer Freightliner in 1981. The company is headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and it operates as Daimler Trucks North America LLC. The company is known mainly for its heavy-duty class 8 diesel trucks, commonly known as semis, and also produces smaller class 5-7 trucks. Meanwhile, Cascadia Evolution model leads the long-haul-on-highway product lineup.

Thomas Built Buses

Thomas Built Buses began as a streetcar company in 1916 and became one of the largest bus manufacturers in the United States, which is a status that it still enjoys today. Headquartered in Highpoint, North Carolina, the company was acquired from the Thomas family by Daimler AG in 1998. Thomas Built offers a full line of school, childcare, activity, specialty, and energy-efficient buses. It was the first bus manufacturer to produce a traditional type C school bus fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) and also produces buses fueled by propane.

Smart Automobile

Daimler AG’s Smart Automobile is an automaker based in Boblingen, Germany. It manufactures and sells microcars and subcompact cars, primarily the Fortwo and Forfour models. Mercedes began the design for Smart in the 1970s in cooperation with Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group. The Smart name is short for Swatch Mercedes Art, and the company’s first model under the brand appeared in 1998. The cars are manufactured across Europe, and both its electric and gasoline models are sold around the world.

Mercedes-Benz Bank

The Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz Bank AG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler Financial Services AG, the global financial services provider of Daimler AG. The universal bank—which is mostly an auto financing and leasing operation—was founded under the name DaimlerChrysler Bank in 2001 and obtained a banking license in 2002. The name was changed to Mercedes-Benz Bank in 2008 and it now has over 1,500 employees serving 1 million customers.

Detroit Diesel

Founded in 1938 as the diesel division of General Motors (GM), Detroit Diesel produces heavy-duty and mid-range diesel engines, transmissions, axles, safety systems, and telematics products for the trucking industry. Daimler AG acquired the Detroit-based company in 2000. It now has over 2,000 employees at six manufacturing plants located throughout the United States. Parts are distributed through a network of over 800 service outlets in North America and three worldwide distribution centers.