ATLANTA — Mercedes-Benz USA will tweak dealer payouts and relax objectives as the automaker braces for a pullback in sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an email to U.S. dealers Monday, CEO Nicholas Speeks quoted England’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill while underscoring the “unprecedented” situation facing the auto industry.
“Winston Churchill once said, ‘If you are going through hell ……. KEEP GOING!’ ” Speeks wrote to dealers. “The challenge we have is not of the dimension he was forced to confront but that is exactly what we, all of us, are going to do: Keep going.”
On Tuesday, Mercedes parent Daimler Group said it will shutter car, van and commercial vehicle plants in Europe for at least two weeks in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Global supply chains currently cannot be maintained to their full extent, Daimler said. The company’s U.S. plant in Vance, Ala., remains open, for now.
The email to dealers, obtained by Automotive News,…