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Foreign Automakers Enjoy Strong April Sales

Honda, Kia, VW buck rising sales trend.

by on May.01, 2015

Carmakers from around the world finished April with strong sales in the United States.

The 2016 Mazda6 helped the Japanese automaker to a 7.5% sales jump last month.

Mazda reported its best sales in 20 years, while Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Maserati all chalked up double-digit gains. However, it wasn’t sunshine and roses for every automaker as Honda, Kia and Volkswagen, reported sales declines and Volvo remained flat.

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“It is often said at Mazda that this business isn’t a sprint, but a marathon, and our sixth-generation vehicles prove that a steady pace will establish growth and build our brand,” said Ron Stettner, vice president of sales, MNAO. “Sixth-generation vehicle sales combine to be up 14% year-over-year and we continue to focus on the quality of our sales.” Overall, Mazda’s April sales were up 7.5%. (more…)

Daimler Earnings Nearly Double on Strong Sales of New Mercedes Models

by on Apr.28, 2015

Driving hard: the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Even as two key U.S. rivals reported weak earnings for the first quarter, Daimler AG delivered an unexpectedly strong performance, its net profit nearly doubling as luxury buyers raced to showrooms to snap up some of its newest Mercedes-Benz models.

The Mercedes brand has been rolling out new products at an unprecedented rate, planning, on average, about one every quarter, something that Max Warburton, an auto analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein dubbed a “powerful product cycle.”

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Virtually every number showed improvement during the quarter. Net earnings rose to 2.050 billion Euros, of $2.232 billion, from 1.09 billion Euros a year ago. Revenue, meanwhile, surged 16% for the quarter, to 34.2 billion Euros.

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Daimler Extends Zetsche’s CEO Deal to 2019

Revival of Mercedes silences critics.

by on Apr.02, 2015

Dieter Zetsche will remain in place as Daimler AG CEO through 2019 after a three-year contract extension.

The Daimler AG Board of Supervisors plans to extend the contract of the company’s chief executive officer, Dieter Zetsche, through 2019.

Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the board of supervisors, told shareholders that Zetsche’s contract would be extended for another three years. Zetsche’s current contract expires at the end of 2016. The announcement drew few comments, pro or con, from the more than 5,000 shareholders, who gathered in Berlin for the company’s annual meeting.

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Zetsche, who has never been wildly popular with Daimer’s often-critical shareholders, has served as Daimler CEO since 2006 when he took over the company from Juergen Schrempp, the architect of the ill-fated merger with Chrysler, which Zetsche dissolved in 2007. (more…)

Porsche Sales Push German Makers to Record Highs

German luxury makers enjoying impressive sales results in 2014.

by on Dec.11, 2014

The new GT3 is the most powerful naturally-aspirated 911 Porsche has ever produced.

Porsche AG confirmed that 2014 has been a banner year for the makers of high-priced German automobiles: sales for Porsche as well as luxury German makers are at or near all-time highs.

With 2014 nearly complete, Porsche is moving along in high gear as it cruises to record worldwide sales again this year. During November alone, Porsche delivered 17,700 vehicles – an increase of 25% over the same month last year, according to the German automaker.

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“This strong November is evidence that our strategy is working extremely well,” said Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board – Sales and Marketing, Porsche AG. “It also confirms our commitment to taking advantage of every opportunity presented in the global markets,” he said. (more…)

Daimler Reports Mercedes Expected to Hit Sales Record

Company turns profits despite sluggish global economy.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Dieter Zetsche said Daimler's Q3 profits were due in large measure to strong sales by Mercedes-Benz.

Daimler AG used a surge in sales of new Mercedes-Benz models to boost its revenue by 10% in the third quarter despite the soft global economy, which the company expects to slow further by the end of the year.

Daimler Group AG net earnings also increased significantly to 2.82 billion euros compared with 1.89 billion euros in the third quarter of last year and Mercedes-Benz cars is on its way to record sales this year.

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The group’s third-quarter revenue of 33.1 billion euros was 10% above the prior-year level; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue increased by 11%. (more…)

Blistering August Sales Swell Luxury Vehicle Numbers

Frenzied month may mean slower September

by on Sep.03, 2014

Lexus captured the August luxury car sales crown. It's the second month in a row the Japanese brand has done so.

Luxury car sales remained brisk during August as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus as well as Audi all posted healthy sales increases last month in what has become an increasingly contest sales.

As it did in July, Lexus bested its German rivals for luxury sales leadership by selling 32,809 cars and utility vehicles. Lexus sales increased 10.1%.

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“It was a great market from top to bottom in August,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Lexus had its second straight record-setting month as both passenger cars and luxury utility vehicles posted solid gains.” (more…)

Surge in Sales Propels Daimler Profits

Revenues up 6% as demand grows for new S-Class, other models.

by on Jul.23, 2014

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche during a recent product unveiling. Mercedes plans to launch 30 new models by the end of the decade.

Promising to regain its once-formidable lead as the world’s top luxury car manufacturer, Daimler AG has unleashed an unprecedented product assault that has begun gaining traction with consumers – driving a surge in second-quarter sales and earnings for the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands.

With revenues up 6%, to $42.4 billion, Daimler posted a net profit of nearly $3 billion for the April to June period. But perhaps more telling was the fact that earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, shot to 7.9% of revenue during the latest quarter, up from 6.4% a year earlier.

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“We are growing profitably, our strategy is bearing fruit,” said Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche in statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We are very satisfied with the second quarter and continue to work effectively on structural improvements.”

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Mercedes Beats Sales Record for Third Year Running

German maker investing in plants to beat mark again in 2014.

by on Dec.30, 2013

Mercedes-Benz rode strong 2014 S-Class sales to a third consecutive record year.

Mercedes-Benz expects to set new production and sales records for 2013. The world’s oldest carmaker produced 1.49 million vehicles, which would be the third year in a row setting a new mark.

The Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy is already showing tangible results as sales around the world topped 1.4 million units.

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“In 2013, we have taken a decisive step forward in our strategy for growth. Our model initiative is well under way. At the same time, we are also optimizing our internal sales structures,” said Ola Källenius, member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for Marketing and Sales, who added Mercedes was also was well positioned for another record year in 2014. (more…)

Daimler’s Dieter on the Bubble?

Zetsche looks to be the next casualty of the Great Recession.

by on Sep.18, 2009

Cost cutting and efficiency programs in all divisions are the order of the day.

Cost cutting and efficiency programs in all divisions haven't stopped the multi-billion dollar losses.

The global automotive Great Recession could easily claim another high profile executive as the speculation intensifies in the German press that Daimler AG’s chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, is about to get the boot.

Daimler has it is share of challenges in recent months and looks to face more of the same in 2010 as Mercedes-Benz because of its expensive lineup gained little from CARs, aka cash for clunkers programs in the US, and similar programs across Europe.

Meanwhile, Daimler has spent billion on developing new diesel technology just as the world was shifting towards regulatory schemes and taxpayer subsidies favor hybrids and electric vehicles. The premium incurred by advanced diesel engines, as well as pricing issues in some markets make it all the  more difficult to sell them to consumers.

In addition, one of Daimler’s principle partners in China, Beijing Auto, seems eager to build its very own automotive empire. Cooperation with BMW, which could benefit both companies, is going nowhere fast, largely because the Quandt family is loathe to give any quarter to its old rival.

In fact, the diffused ownership structure is one of Daimler’s principal vulnerabilities in today’s tumultuous automotive world.  The company is at the mercy of fickle shareholders.

While German shareholder meetings tend to be long and tedious, they also have a dramatic element to them and at the Daimler shareholder’s meeting last spring in Berlin, it was evident that there were plenty of dissatisfied shareholders around critical of Zetsche’s conduct of the company’s affairs.

Zetsche probably made the right earlier this year when he arranged to sell a large block of stock to a group of Middle Eastern investors. However, the move riled Daimler’s smaller shareholders who viewed it, correctly, as a dilution of their own holdings.

Daimler’s small shareholders — and some fund managers as well — also view Zetsche as a protégé of the detested Juergen Schrempp, who they believe is enjoying a lavish retirement at their expense.

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