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New Products Drive Sharp Surge in Daimler Earnings

CLA, other line-up additions draw in new buyers for Mercedes brand.

by on Apr.30, 2014

Mad Men star Jon Hamm helped unveil the new S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe at the NY Auto Show.

With new models like the Mercedes-Benz CLA drawing in a new generation of buyers, the brand’s German parent Daimler AG reported its net profit nearly doubled during the first quarter.

The German maker had struggled to overcome a series of problems in recent years, notably including a slide in demand in China, but Mercedes’ rebound in that booming market further lifted the maker’s earnings to 1.086 billion Euros for the January to March quarter, or $1.498 billion, up from 564 million Euros a year earlier.

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“Our strategy is paying off,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, “our investments are bearing fruit.”

In a statement accompanying its earnings, the maker predicted both revenues and earnings would “significantly increase” for all of 2014 as it gained ground in China while also boosting sales in more established markets like the U.S. and Europe.


After Missteps, Daimler Hopes to Rebound in China

The faster it runs, the behinder it gets.

by on Apr.25, 2014

Officials from Daimler and BYD reveal the new Denza battery-car they jointly developed.

No issue has bedeviled Daimler AG more than China, where the company’s underwhelming performance lags archrivals BMW and Audi, which have used their successes with Chinese consumers to vault ahead of Mercedes-Benz in global sales.

Mercedes is hoping that this year’s Beijing Auto Show will serve as a tipping point, however, as it sets out to recapture some of the lost ground. Indeed, the China Daily suggested that Mercedes-Benz outspent its rivals at the crowded show this year in an effort to capture the attention of both the press and Chinese consumers.

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Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler’s board of management, made the long journey to China after skipping the New York Auto Show, and Daimler hosted separate press conferences for its Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter brands, as well as a joint preview of a new electric vehicle it will build with Denza, one of its Chinese partners.


Daimler Redoubling Efforts to Make up Lost Ground in China

German maker spending $2.7 billion to catch rivals.

by on Aug.29, 2013

Daimler's China chief, Hubertus Troska, recently laid out the company's plans to grow sales in China.

Daimler AG, in a bold effort to catch its German rivals Audi and BMW, plans to sink $2.7 billion in China, starting with a new plant.

The plant is scheduled for completion as early as 2014 and will help Daimler double China production to more than 200,000 units a year, according to Hubertus Troska, who was appointed last fall to reorganize the company’s China operations. Since then, he merged the company’s two distribution arms in China and set up a support unit to coordinate marketing, sales and training initiatives in the country.

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China is set to become Daimler’s largest market as soon as 2015, Troska said. (more…)

Mercedes Increasingly Desperate to Reverse Losses in China

Share slips as Audi, BMW come on strong.

by on Apr.10, 2013

The Mercedes CLA Concept debuting in Beijing last year. The production version could be critical for the maker's revival in the Chinese market.

Mercedes-Benz continues to lose ground in China’s booming premium car market to arch-rivals BMW and Audi — but Daimler AG’s top executive, Dieter Zetsche, told the company’s shareholders meeting the automaker is confident it can make up the ground it has lost in recent months.

Mercedes’ slide has been both acute and unexpected and the maker has struggled even after slashing prices on key models such as the flagship S-Class sedan. That’s particularly worrisome since many analysts expect China will soon become the world’s largest market for luxury vehicles, surging past the U.S.

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Zetsche admitted to shareholders that Daimler management is keenly aware it has failed to keep pace with the growth in China. “Our sales had increased rapidly for five years in a row. During that period we posted the strongest average growth of all the premium brands there. Last year, our business expanded only slightly and we lost market share. We have to change this situation and we will.”


Daimler Ups Ante on China

Maker takes major stake in Chinese partner.

by on Feb.04, 2013

The Mercedes-Benz CSC concept at last year's Beijing Motor Show.

After suffering a series of setbacks in the world’s largest automotive market last year, Daimler AG isn’t planning to let that happen again. It has already shaken up its management team and now the parent of Mercedes-Benz is taking a major stake in its Chinese partner.

Daimler will invest $875 million for a 12% share of BAIC Motor, a subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Industries Corp. BAIC produces Mercedes vehicles for the Chinese market. The investment appears to be a first step towards a planned initial public offering by BAIC Motor, according to Chinese auto industry observers.

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“Our investment is a strong sign of the increased level of trust and cooperation between our two companies and clearly emphasizes the long-term commitment to a joint successful future,” said Dieter Zetsche, who serves as both CEO of Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz brand.


Chinese Reportedly Eyeing Stake in Daimler AG

German maker "always welcome" to new investors.

by on Jan.07, 2013

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche may soon have the Chinese holding a major stake in the German company.

China’s sovereign wealth fund is reportedly looking to acquire a significant stake in Daimler AG, the German parent of automotive brands Mercedes-Benz and Smart.

A report in the well-placed Communist Party newspaper the Peoples Daily is citing anonymous sources indicating that the China Investment Corp. is negotiating the purchase of as much as 10% of the German manufacturer.

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The news sent Daimler shares soaring in European trading – even though a company official declined to comment on “media speculation.” But that spokesperson also noted that maker “always welcome(s)” discussions with “any new investors.”


Daimler, BYD Launch New Denza Battery Car Brand

First new product will debut at Beijing Motor Show.

by on Apr.02, 2012

Daimler and BYD launch the new Denza battery-car brand, debuting at the Beijing Motor Show.

Hoping to take advantage of China’s potentially huge battery-car market, Daimler will launch the new Denza brand with its Chinese partner, BYD.

A concept car hinting at what’s to come from the 50/50 joint venture will make its appearance, later this month at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show.  Production is set to begin in 2013, the partners revealed, adding that the new Denza brand’s slogan will be “EV the Future.”

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“We have the ideal partner in Daimler. BYD provides experience in battery technology and e-drive systems, as well as bringing EVs into operation on the streets of China,” said BYD’s president, Wang Chuanfu. “In connection with Daimler’s design of premium autos, know-how in electric vehicle architecture and safety, and more than 125 years of experience in automotive excellence, DENZA is on the right track to become the leader in the New Energy Vehicle market in China.”


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.”


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.