Daimler expects moderate growth this year after a record 2015 image

After posting record sales and profit for 2015, Daimler AG sees a moderate pace this year, as the Chinese market is foreseen to slow down.

Daimler is aiming to become the world’s best-selling luxury automaker, pushing Mercedes-Benz in front of BMW. Even if this plan is backed up by the strong results achieved last year, especially in China, the momentum is being tempered by the 2016 projections, as it is seen as a slower year in terms of sales and profits. In the financial year of 2015, Daimler achieved its best ever earnings before interest and tax EBIT of 13.5 billion euros (around 15 billion dollars), compared to 10.8 billion euros from 2014 (12 billion dollars). The German company proposed its highest ever dividend of 3.25 euros per share last year, but said on Thursday it expected revenue and EBIT from its ongoing business to increase only slightly in 2016.

As previously announced, Daimler significantly increased its total unit sales in 2015. The number of around 2.9 million vehicles sold was 12 percent higher than in 2014. This growth was primarily driven by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division (up 16 percent) and to a lesser extent by the Vans unit (up 9 percent). At Daimler Trucks, the growth in unit sales of 1 percent was lower than originally expected, mainly due to weak markets in Latin America and Indonesia. From a regional perspective, Mercedes-Benz sees the Asian markets to be again particularly strong drivers of the growth in unit sales in 2016. Last year, China was for the first time the biggest sales market for Mercedes. Following the strong growth of 41 percent in 2015, the company projects further expansion for 2016. However, the growth rate in China will be more moderate this year, Daimler said.

The automaker plans to significantly increase its expenditure for research and development projects in 2016 and 2017 to an average of 7.2 billion euros, also saying the most important new model and growth driver in 2016 is the new E-Class.