Daimler to speed up its growth pace after E-Class kicks off, its CEO says image

Daimler expects better sales and profit after its new E-Class crucial model starts to sell worldwide, CEO Dieter Zetsche predicts.

Mercedes-Benz reported the best first quarter in its history with total sales of 483,487 units, even if the brand’s most important model is not yet available for sale in most major markets. But once the E-Class kicks-off, the automaker is definitely going to hit some other record figures in terms of deliveries. This record was mainly the result of the very strong demand for the compact cars, the new GLC and the locally produced vehicles in China. The new mid-sized premium sedan will be delivered to the first customers in Europe in the next several days, and will be launched on the international markets in the second half of the year.

“All of the signs indicate that 2016 will also be a good year for Daimler,” Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement, as Daimler held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Berlin. “As in previous years, we expect the second half of the year to be significantly better than the first – with the increasing availability of the new E-Class and more attractive hedging rates.”

However, the automaker’s earnings were slightly affected in the first quarter, as Daimler Trucks posted unit sales below the prior-year level. While the division sold significantly more trucks in Europe, it was not immune to the weaknesses of the markets in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, in the latter country due to the introduction of Euro VI emission standards. The division anticipates unit sales in 2016 at the level of the previous year, whereby sales in the various core regions will develop very differently.

The company also said it would increase its research and development spending in the years 2016 and 2017 to a total of 14.5 billion euros, after it budgeted 6.6 billion euros in 2015, and its capital expenditure to 14 billion euros.