Outlook
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Status: February 6, 2014 - Annual Press Conference 2014
The more favorable economic outlook should result in further growth in global demand for cars in 2014: From today’s perspective, demand is expected to rise by a rate of 4 to 5%.
The Chinese market should once again make the biggest contribution to global market growth. The US market is also likely to grow. After significant contraction of the overall Western European car market lasting several years, Daimler expects a hesitant market recovery in 2014. Demand for cars in Japan is expected to fall, however. After a weak market development in the prior year, a once again weaker demand situation is anticipated in the major emerging markets (except China). The Russian market should be slightly larger than in the previous year and a moderate recovery of the car market in India is expected.
After the world market for medium- and heavy-duty trucks expanded perceptibly in 2013 despite difficult market conditions, further moderate growth in global demand is expected this year. But market developments will continue to differ significantly from one region to another.
In the NAFTA region, Daimler anticipates significant market growth of up to 10% due to the increasingly dynamic economy. The development of the European market was primarily affected by the introduction of the Euro VI emission standards in recent months. Developments during the rest of 2014 will depend in particular on the extent to which the economic revival in Europe can offset the negative impact of the purchases brought forward. From today’s perspective, Daimler expects the market volume for the full year to be slightly below the level of 2013.
Ongoing economic stimuli and an expansive monetary policy should continue to have a positive effect on the Japanese truck market in 2014; slight growth is anticipated for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks overall. The Brazilian market for medium- and heavy-duty trucks is likely to be just below the prior-year level, primarily due to the below-average development of investment activity and somewhat less favorable, subsidized financing conditions. In Russia, demand for trucks is likely to recover slightly. The Indian market should stabilize after the significant losses of the previous years. China, the world’s biggest market for trucks, should post moderate growth.
Mercedes-Benz Cars will consistently follow its path of growth in the context of the »Mercedes-Benz 2020« offensive in 2014. A rejuvenated model portfolio and important new product launches should help the division to significantly increase its unit sales and thus reach a new record. The new S-Class is likely to make a large contribution to the growth in unit sales. As of the third quarter, the new S-Class coupe will also be available and will set new standards in the luxury segment. The all-new C-Class sedan will be delivered to its first customers in Europe as early as March 2014, and the GLA sports utility vehicle will be launched in the high-volume compact-car segment also in March 2014 as the fourth model of the new compact cars. In addition, the brand is likely to profit also in 2014 from the great market success of its other models in the SUV segment. For the second half of 2014, Mercedes-Benz anticipates further sales impetus above all from the market launch of the new C-Class wagon and the new generation of the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake.
Within the framework of the »Mercedes-Benz 2020« long-term growth strategy, the division will consistently expand its product portfolio in all segments also in the coming years. The number of models offered by Mercedes-Benz in the compact-car segment will be increased to five. In parallel, Mercedes-Benz will continue the model offensive also at the top end of the portfolio, for example with additional models of the new S-Class and with an additional SUV variant.
From a regional perspective, Mercedes-Benz Cars expects the markets in North America and Asia to make major contributions to its growth in unit sales. In Asia, the Chinese market is especially important. The division has significantly enhanced the effectiveness of its sales organization there. Furthermore, the range of models offered there will be expanded, partially also with locally produced vehicles such as the compact SUV - the GLA, and the dealer network will be further expanded also outside the mega-cities.
The smart brand will present the successor to its smart two-seater as well as the new smart four-seater in 2014. Due to the model change and the associated production adjustments, Daimler assumes that the brand’s unit sales will be significantly lower in 2014 than in the previous year. The new models should then facilitate strong sales growth in the following years.
Daimler Trucks anticipates a significant increase in total unit sales in 2014. In Western Europe, purchases brought forward to the second half of 2013 due to the upcoming introduction of Euro VI emission standards could at first lead to lower demand in 2014. However, in view of the anticipated upward development of the general economic situation, this weakness should soon be offset. Daimler Trucks intend to further strengthen its very good position with the full availability of the new model range and the high acceptance of its products in the market.
In Brazil, after the market slump in 2012 and a recovery phase in 2013, Daimler now anticipates a slightly decrease of demand. Extensive measures taken to optimize production, products and sales should further strengthen Daimler’s market position. These measures include the investment of approximately one billion Brazilian Real (approximately €300 million) in the next two years. Those funds will flow primarily into the development of new products and innovative technologies and into process optimization and modernization at the plants in São Bernardo do Campo and Juiz de Fora.
Unit sales in the NAFTA region should develop positively and be significantly higher than in 2013. Following last year’s gain in market share, the division’s products will optimally satisfy customers’ needs also in 2014, and will thus continue to secure its strong market position.
In Asia, the availability of additional BharatBenz models in the Indian market should make a major contribution to growth in unit sales. In addition, Daimler Trucks is generating synergy potential and further growth possibilities in the context of its new Asia Business Model. In Japan, the division will participate in the expected slight market growth.
Mercedes-Benz Vans anticipates a significant increase in unit sales in 2014. With the Citan, the division is now a full-range supplier and can thus utilize additional growth potential. With regard to medium-sized and large vans, unit sales in Europe are expected to rise significantly, whereby the new Sprinter, the new Vito and the new V-Class will stimulate additional demand. Mercedes-Benz Vans anticipates a further significant increase in unit sales also for the Citan. In the context of the »Vans goes global« business strategy, the division intends to continue its expansion also in North and South America and in China.
Daimler Buses is pursuing the goal in 2014 of significantly increasing its unit sales and maintaining its leading position in its core markets for buses above 8 tons with innovative and high-quality new products. Not least due to the soccer World Cup in 2014 and new products for the high-volume school-bus segment, the bus division expects unit sales to increase in Brazil. In Europe, Daimler Buses anticipates a stable development of unit sales. The »GLOBE 2013« growth and efficiency offensive was launched in 2012 to utilize further growth potential and to strengthen competitiveness; it is expected to have a positive impact also in 2014.
With its »DFS 2020« strategy, Daimler Financial Services aims to achieve further profitable growth in the coming years. For the year 2014, significant growth is anticipated in new business and contract volume. Important growth drivers are the offensives of the automotive divisions, the addressing of younger customers as a new target group, the expansion of business especially in Asia, the further development of online sales channels and the development of innovative mobility offers. In addition to car2go, the range of mobility services will be systematically expanded. Two examples of this are the »moovel« mobility platform and the »Park2gether« online service for finding parking spaces.
“On the basis of what we initiated in 2013, we can look to 2014 and the following years with confidence,” stated Dieter Zetsche. “Our plan is working out step by step. The first results of our growth and efficiency strategy are making us hungry for more: That’s why we are continuing our work in a disciplined manner.”
Based on the assumptions concerning the development of automotive markets and the divisions’ planning, Daimler assumes it will be able to achieve further significant growth in total unit sales in 2014. Daimler therefore also assumes that Group revenue will grow significantly in 2014. Although there is still great uncertainty regarding the future development of the markets, demand is generally expected to rise. Another positive factor is that Daimler should profit from the numerous new models that it launched in all automotive divisions in 2013. The new models of the year 2014 will additionally stimulate demand. Furthermore, the Group is increasingly developing the growth markets of Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America for its products – partially also through local production. The expected revenue growth is likely to be driven by all divisions, whereby Daimler Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Cars will probably deliver the biggest contributions in absolute terms. Daimler anticipates above-average growth rates in the emerging markets and North America.
On the basis of the anticipated market development and the planning of the divisions, Daimler assumes that Group EBIT from the ongoing business will increase significantly in 2014.
For the individual divisions, Daimler aims to achieve the following EBIT targets in full-year 2014: 
  • Mercedes-Benz Cars: significantly above the prior-year level, 
  • Daimler Trucks: significantly above the prior-year level, 
  • Mercedes-Benz Vans: at the prior-year level, 
  • Daimler Buses: slightly above the prior-year level and 
  • Daimler Financial Services: at the prior-year level.
In the medium term, Daimler aims to achieve an annual average return on sales of 9% in the automotive business across market and product cycles. This is based on the target returns for the divisions: 10% for Mercedes-Benz Cars, 8% for Daimler Trucks, 9% for Mercedes-Benz Vans and 6% for Daimler Buses.
In 2014, Daimler will once again invest a large amount in research and development activities, which should be about the level of last year. In addition, the company will once again increase its already high investment in property, plant and equipment significantly in 2014. “Our product offensives are firing, our efficiency programs are taking effect, and our investments are paying off”, stated Dieter Zetsche.
In light of the anticipated business development, production volumes will grow again in 2014. At the same time, efficiency and thus also productivity will be significantly increased as a result of the programs being carried out in all the divisions. Against this backdrop, Daimler assumes that its growth targets can be achieved with a largely stable workforce. In the context of expanding the production network, new jobs will tend to be created primarily in North America and Asia. Workforce growth is likely to take place also at the joint ventures in China and Russia, whose employees are not included in the Daimler Group.
Forward-looking statements:
This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views about future events. The words “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” ”can,” “could,” “plan,” “project,” “should” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, including an adverse development of global economic conditions, in particular a decline of demand in our most important markets; a worsening of the sovereign-debt crisis in the Eurozone; an exacerbation of the budgetary situation in the United States; a deterioration of our refinancing possibilities on the credit and financial markets; events of force majeure including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, political unrest, industrial accidents and their effects on our sales, purchasing, production or financial services activities; changes in currency exchange rates; a shift in consumer preference towards smaller, lower-margin vehicles; or a possible lack of acceptance of our products or services which limits our ability to achieve prices and adequately utilize our production capacities; price increases in fuel or raw materials; disruption of production due to shortages of materials, labor strikes or supplier insolvencies; a decline in resale prices of used vehicles; the effective implementation of cost-reduction and efficiency-optimization measures; the business outlook of companies in which we hold a significant equity interest; the successful implementation of strategic cooperations and joint ventures; changes in laws, regulations and government policies, particularly those relating to vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety; the resolution of pending government investigations and the conclusion of pending or threatened future legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties, some of which we describe under the heading “Risk Report” in Daimler’s most recent Annual Report. If any of these risks and uncertainties materialize or if the assumptions underlying any of our forward-looking statements prove to be incorrect, the actual results may be materially different from those we express or imply by such statements. We do not intend or assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements since they are based solely on the circumstances at the publication date.
 
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