Daimler CEO Believed Mercedes Will Lose Race to BMW This Year image

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche does not expect Mercedes-Benz to win the luxury auto sales race in the US this year.

“I don’t think we’ll be No. 1 at the end of the year and that’s OK,” Zetsche told reporters yesterday in Seguin, Ontario. “We won’t play any games. I’m not sure that applies to our competition.”

After the first half of this year Mercedes led BMW in US sales by 1,519 units. BMW managed to get the no.1 place for the past two years and last year it took the crown with a December surge, although if we are to take into consideration vehicle registrations, it was Mercedes the winner for 2012, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co.

Although Zetsche’s plan for Mercedes is to surpass rivals BMW and Audi in global sales and profit by 2020, he is aware that this year Mercedes will not be the winner. During the first quarter the German automaker’s operating profit reached 3.3% of sales, from 11.1$ for Audi and 9.9% for BMW.

During the first six months of the year Mercedes’ sales increased 10% to 141,950 units, compared with BMW which rose 11% to 140,431 units.

Source: Bloomberg