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Daimler CEO surprised by Google and Apple automotive efforts

Dieter Zetsche left impressed after speaking to Silicon Valley automotive firms and predicts growth in 2016

Daimler CEO surprised by Google and Apple automotive efforts
On a recent visit to Silicon Valley, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, praised Google and Apple’s efforts in automotive development

Daimler's chief executive Dieter Zetsche recently learned Silicon Valley firms are serious about progressing automotive projects, in particular the likes of Google and Apple, than he initially anticipated.

Impressed with both companies exploring technologies surrounding automobiles and autonomous driving, he told German weekly Welt am Sonntag: "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."

Daimler's luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, has of course worked on its own prototype, the S-Class limousine which drove 103km without driver input.

Google's self-driving vehicles have already has received a lot of attention, and though rumours have flared regarding Apple's vehicle research and testing, the iPhone manufacturer giant has stayed quiet.

Overall, Zetsche expects to see the market for passenger cars growing between 1% and 1.5% in 2016, and predicts Mercedes-Benz to show significant growth in the US this year.

"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.

Zetsche met with around 70 companies in Silicon Valley, none of which were publically named.

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