How VW, Daimler, BMW, others are transforming into tech companies

Daimler got lucky with Marcela Craciunescu. Five years ago, the Romanian software developer had been at Alcatel-Lucent developing a fourth-generation mobile network for the U.S. telecommunications companies in Timisoara. Craciunescu’s sister, who had moved to Stuttgart from Romania, suggested she consider working for the city’s best-known company, Daimler. While Craciunescu didn’t speak any German, the programmer was looking for a change and found herself typing in the company’s Internet address. It was here that she hoped to find the answer to her most burning question: What is Daimler?

When she learned that it was the parent of premium brand Mercedes-Benz, her curiosity was piqued. She decided to apply for a role as a systems developer — not at the automaker, but at the group’s captive financial services business. “They were impressed that I was more interested in the position itself than simply working for Daimler,” she recalled in Stockholm last September during the Me Convention, which was co-sponsored by Mercedes.