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Lexus Tops Mercedes, BMW in July Luxury Battle

Japanese luxury brand looking to regain top spot in segment.

by on Aug.03, 2015

The 2015 Lexus NX 200h is helping the brand return to the top of the luxury sales charts.

Lexus beat out its archrivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in sales during July, setting the stage for all out battle royale for leadership in luxury vehicle sales during the next five months.

The German brands have held the lead in luxury car sales since 2011 but Lexus, which has long been focused on the U.S. market, is making a determined challenge this year.

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Lexus reported July sales of 29,816 units, up 9.1% from July 2014 on a volume basis and DSR basis, according to Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager. (more…)

Luxury Brands Cruise to Strong Sales in June

SUVs, crossovers push makers to big results.

by on Jul.01, 2015

BMW's SAVs posted a 75.3% increase in June offsetting a 12.9% drop in car sales.

Improvements in consumer sentiment, low interest rates and the steady growth in the sales of truck and utility vehicles, including those sold by luxury brands, helped set the torrid pace for sales in June, which boosted the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales or SAAR past 17 million units.

Luxury brands performed well last month, led by BMW reporting a 6.5% increase, including a 75.3% increase in sales in utility vehicles that helped offset a 12.9% drop in sales of BMW’s vaunted passenger cars.

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The same pattern prevailed at Mercedes-Benz, which posted record sales in the first half of the year after a 5.8% increase in June with strong sales of the C- and E-Class models. As a whole, first-half sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars totaled 101,212, increasing 3.5% from the same period in 2014. (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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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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Audi Takes Global Luxury Sales Lead

But BMW isn’t ready to concede defeat.

by on Mar.11, 2014

The redesigned Audi TT makes its Geneva debut.

Two months does not a year make, but in a significant breakthrough Audi AG is claiming to hold the lead in the hotly contested global luxury car maket.

The largest of the luxury brands of Volkswagen AG, Audi has been gaining ground on traditional rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz in recent years, and is hoping to solidify its first-place position with a flood of new products planned for the coming year, an assortment of which were previewed at the Geneva Motor Show last week.

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For the first two months of 2014, Audi delivered 242,000 vehicles, giving it a modest 383-unit lead over BMW.  It fell 429 cars short of its Bavarian rival during the same period last year.

And Audi intends to widen the lead, Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler said Tuesday at the brand’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, promising that, “We will increase deliveries in all regions of the world, including Europe.”

But Audi’s rivals aren’t ready to concede defeat.

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Mercedes Cedes Luxury Sales Lead to BMW

German maker sees victory in defeat.

by on Dec.14, 2012

Mercedes-Bez US CEO Steve Cannon.

With barely two weeks left in the year, Mercedes-Benz is ceding victory to rival BMW in the luxury car sales sweepstakes.

But there’s victory in that loss, contends Mercedes’ top American executive as he notes the maker still had its best year ever in the U.S. market and is looking to do even better when an assortment of critical new products reach showrooms in 2013.

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“I don’t think we’ll win the race this year,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S., adding that he felt “no pressure” from his bosses in Stuttgart to engage in the sort of last-minute deal-making that has marked the race for luxury sales supremacy in recent years.

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Daimler Earnings Improve

Teutonic maker hopes to challenge luxury rival BMW.

by on Apr.27, 2012

Mercedes' CSC concept debuted in Beijing this week.

Preliminary signs suggest Daimler AG is gaining traction from the ongoing product blitz launched by its flagship Mercedes-Benz brand, the German manufacturer reporting a 20% increase in net income for the first quarter, earning jumping to more than or 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion), or 1.25 euros per share as sale increased 9%.

But the maker repeated a cautionary note sounded by Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s Chairman of the Board of Management who has referred to 2012 as a transition year for the maker which is struggling to regain its lead as the world’s largest luxury automaker.

The Last Word!

“We have started the year with a strong first quarter. Despite higher investment in future growth and a challenging market environment, we succeeded in surpassing the very good prior-year results in terms of unit sales, revenue, EBIT and net profit,” noted Zetsche.

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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.

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Daimler Targeting Profitable Growth

Results “more positive than expected,” claims CEO Zetsche.

by on Apr.13, 2011

Big goals from Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

As he did during the company’s last shareholders meeting, Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche emphasized the German giant was well on its way to profitable growth now and in the future.

“Our company is operating successfully,” he told more than 5,000 investors gathered in Berlin. Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were up 12% during the first quarter, noted Zetsche, while sales of Daimler Trucks increased by 27%.

“We announced that we would emerge from the crisis with a lot of torque. We have kept our word: Actual developments were even more positive than expected,” Zetsche said.

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Meanwhile, the product offensive started by Mercedes-Benz Cars in 2010 is beginning to peak. The launch of the new-generation C-Class and the new SLK in early 2011 will be followed in autumn by a new M-Class crossover and a completely new version of the small B-Class people-mover, the first of four new models in the compact segment.

“We want to make our (125th) anniversary year a record year as well,” Zetsche said.

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Daimler Boosts ’10 Profit Forecast to $7.6 Billion

Maker credits sales jump, projects more revenue growth.

by on Jul.27, 2010

Growing demand for Mercedes-Benz products has parent Daimler AG swimming in cash.

A 27% increase in sales during the second quarter has prompted Daimler AG to raise its estimate on full year profits to more than  $7.6 billion.

“Our strategy is paying off.  We have a very dynamic development of unit sales and revenue in all divisions. After what was already a very good first quarter, we achieved excellent results in the second quarter,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

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Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks, in particular, posted significant improvements in their operating profit, added Zetsche, who should feel some personal relief at the latest developments.  Only a year ago, despite the Daimler board’s decision to extend his contract, there were sharp questions being raised about the chairman’s personal long-term prospects.

“We anticipate significant revenue growth in 2010 and we are targeting earnings before interest and taxes from the ongoing business of Euro 6 billion.”

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