German corporation Daimler, which, among other things, controls car manufacturer Mercedes Benz, announced today that it will open a new R&D center in Tel Aviv. The new center will join the corporation's global network of R&D centers, currently operating in the US, Germany, India and China. The Israeli technology center will be managed by Adi Ofek, an Israeli with international management experience, who has served in several management positions in Daimler since 2000. The center will focus on "car mobility and information services, in addition to the development and testing of various projects and user interfaces."
Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler AG board member and head of Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said that the new technology center in Tel Aviv "is aimed at boosting the global R&D array with the help of Israel, the high tech nation. The center joins Daimler's global array of R&D centers, so that we will continue to be the automotive industry's technological vanguard in terms of efficient, technologically advanced and safe cars."
Reports in Germany indicate that the center will not only deal with R&D directly, but also pursue "the development of a network of connections with Israeli startup companies, technology accelerators, incubators, innovation centers, and established high tech firms." In addition, the center will examine "financial, legal and strategic aspects of cooperation with local partners." This probably refers to scouting and identifying acquisition or investment opportunities in relevant automotive or car-related technology companies.
Daimler's move is part of a general trend in the automotive industry of opening research or development centers in Israel, or at least offices dealing with cooperation with local companies. General Motors already has a large R&D center in Israel, which has been undergoing a rapid process of expansion, and Renault recently opened a R&D center in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. Additional manufacturers, together with Israel's car importers, are currently examining investment opportunities in Israeli companies.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 7, 2016
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