According to Automobilwoche newspaper, an unnamed private-equity company plans to buy parts of Daimler’s retail operations in Germany.
Another possible buyer might be U.S. based Penske Automotive Group, as Daimler plans to sell part of its retail network, close some locations and combine several sites. Last year the automaker’s retail operation reached 10 billion euro in sales, which means a loss of 45 million euro.
Daimler has 98 Mercedes dealerships, accounting for half of the automaker’s vehicle sales in Germany, while BMW has 43 dealerships which account for about a quarter of its sales and Audi has 16 dealerships which account for less than 10%.
Earlier this month an anonymous source said that Daimler plans to sell four Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Germany to reduce costs and reduce the profitability gap with Audi and BMW. Selling more dealerships, means cutting costs for retail staff, vacation pay, corporate pensions, Christmas bonuses and profit share.
“Management wants to try this out to see exactly how it would work in practice,” said the person, who asked not to be named. “They are gathering experience that could serve as a blueprint,” he said, adding “Zetsche is no fan of own retail.”