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Daimler Marks 125th Anniversary with Record Revenues and Profits

But challenges face the maker in 2012.

by on Feb.10, 2012

Daimler CEO Zetsche had good news to mark the close of the company's 125th anniversary.

Daimler AG, parent to Mercedes-Benz and Smart, is wrapping up its 125th anniversary with a series of all-times records, the maker has announced, including all-time earnings and revenues.

The German maker posted a net profit of 6 bllion euros, or roughly $8.2 billion, on record sales of 106.5 billion Euros, or $145 billon, last year.  Adding to the birthday news, Mercedes-Benz Cars achieved new peaks for unit sales, revenue and earnings before interest and taxes.

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Daimler’s truck operations, meanwhile, showed significant improvement in unit sales, revenue and earnings, despite global economic weakness.

After the 9% increase in sales in 2011, however, Daimler is only predicting modest growth, this year. Nevertheless, in regional terms, Mercedes-Benz Cars sees further growth opportunities in 2012 in North America, as well as in China, India and Russia. “Prospects in Western Europe are rather limited, however,” the company said.


Can Smart Reinvent Itself?

U.S. distributor may teach the Germans what’s needed to save smart brand.

by on Jan.14, 2011

With the brand's sales off another 60%, last year, Smart USA boss Jill Lajdziak can only hope and wait for the distributor's planned 4-seat model.

It was the hit of 2008, its U.S. launch inadvertently timed to take advantage of the record run-up in fuel prices.  But since then, things haven’t gone nearly so well for the little Smart USA brand, which reported a nearly 60% drop in sales, last year alone, even as most makers reported double-digit gains.

In a bid to stave off disaster, the U.S. distributor, which is operated by Detroit entrepreneur Roger Penske, plans to introduce an all-new model later this year that will be built for it by Nissan, rather than Daimler, the German parent of the Smart brand.

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Might even more products be added to the U.S. line-up that aren’t available to Smart buyers in other parts of the world? That’s not out of the question, according to various company officials who are betting that Smart can rebound from its disastrous tumble.

“We’ve got a business to run,” and that means that Smart USA may have to make some critical moves that aren’t necessarily what the folks at Daimler AG headquarters, in Stuttgart would like,” acknowledges Jill Lajdziak, the U.S. distributor’s boss.