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Daimler Earnings Jump 30%, While Nissan Minimizes Impact of March Quake

German maker hits new quarterly record - but investors worried by results.

by on Jul.27, 2011

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche promises a great year - but investors worry about a Chinese market slowdown.

Credit China.  That’s the message from two major automakers as they report earnings from opposite ends of the globe.  For Daimler AG, a worldwide resurgence in luxury car demand – especially in the fast-growing Chinese market helped it come in with an all-time quarterly record that was up 30% year-over-year.

The numbers weren’t nearly as good for Nissan, but that was no surprise considering the devastating hit the Japanese industry, overall, has taken since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 on March 11 and left the industry in a shambles.  If anything, the 10% decline in net income was less than many had anticipated, while revenues – also driven by China – were up markedly.

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“Our rapid recovery from the natural disasters in March once again shows the power of Nissan in responding effectively and decisively to crisis,” said Nissan President and CEO, Carlos Ghosn. “Nissan’s performance in the first quarter, despite strong headwinds such as foreign exchange and rising raw material costs, demonstrates our potential to deliver the goals of our recently announced Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan.”

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Mercedes Bets on the Middle Kingdom

Chinese momentum “tremendous,” says CEO Zetsche.

by on Apr.18, 2011

Daimler is preparing to launch production of the Mercedes-Benz GLK at its Chinese assembly plant.

When Daimler AG’s shareholders quizzed Deiter Zetsche’s plans for the future he basically summed it up with one word – China.

The booming Asian nation now dominates Daimler’s strategic thinking, which is why it’s no surprise that Zetsche will travel to Shanghai this week to unveil the next version of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class at the Shanghai Auto Show. (With a second prototype getting a follow-up introduction days later at the New York Auto Show.)

In addition, Daimler plans to double the size its new joint-venture plant in Beijing to build 300,000 vehicles annually by 2014-2015, mostly for China’s internal market — though some of the multiple models slated for assembly at the plant could be exported.

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“The momentum of that market is tremendous. As recently as 2008, the ‘Middle Empire’ was number seven on the list of Mercedes-Benz most important market,” Zetsche told Daimler’s shareholders.  Now, “When someone in the auto industry mentions growth, within three sentences the talk will likely be about China.”

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Updated Maybach to debut at Beijing Auto Show

Daimler Ups the Ante in China.

by on Apr.16, 2010

Though Daimler has tweaked the look with updates like the Zeppelin, there's been no major remake of the Maybach sedans since their 2002 launch.

Daimler AG plans to unveil an updated version of its big Maybach ultra-luxury sedan at the Beijing Auto Show later this month, Daimler Chief executive Dieter Zetsche revealed.

Cornered by irate shareholder during the company’s annual meeting in Berlin, Zetsche denied the suggestion that Maybach was a failure – or that it has even lost money. The fact, he claimed, is that every Maybach makes a “good contribution” to the Daimler’s bottom line.  An updated version of the Maybach, which gets the first really significant facelift since the brand’s 2002 launch, will make its debut at the Beijing auto show, said Zetsche.

While the U.S. remains Mercedes’ single most important market, the appearance of the Maybach in Beijing indicates just how important China has become to Daimler. The belief inside the company is that China and other emerging markets, such as Brazil and India, are the future.

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China, in fact, is becoming the most important market for the S- Class, which is traditionally Daimler AG’s most expensive sedan – other than the extremely low-volume Maybach — and  the car line that makes more money for Daimler than any another other single vehicle in the Mercedes  line-up.

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