After the financial and economic crisis in 2008/2009, which led to massive market declines, in 2010 Daimler managed a shining comeback with double-digit growth rates in all business divisions.
The products are in strong demand and the order books are well filled. Many Daimler plants are working at their capacity limit. At Mercedes-Benz Cars, the company posted the second-highest unit sales in the company's history to date. In China, Daimler grew by a full 137 percent compared to the preceding year.
In addition, the company continued to drive forward with strategic partnerships : In 2010, Daimler and Renault-Nissan agreed a far-reaching strategic cooperation. The main projects of the cooperation are a new architecture for smart, new three-and four-cylinder engines and small vans.
In addition, BYD and Daimler AG agreed the formation of the 50:50 Joint Venture »Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd.« for the development of electric vehicles for the Chinese market.
Daimler Trucks was also in a strong upward trend in 2010. The new Mercedes-Benz Atego and the Atego BlueTec Hybrid were jointly selected as »Truck of the Year 2011«. FUSO had updated its model series almost completely and sales of the heavy-duty truck Coronado started at Freightliner.
Daimler also increased its shareholding in the Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz thus reinforcing the strategic partnership. Daimler now constructively holds a 15% participating interest.
Mercedes-Benz Vans presents the revised variant of the successful van for commercial uses with the new Vito generation. The debut of the new Viano generation is accompanied by the first-time presentation of the van version as high-quality large passenger car.
The group continues to drive the internationalization in the Vans business division as well: In the growth market of China the first Mercedes-Benz Viano produced by Fujian Daimler Automotive rolled off the line in the new plant in Fuzhou. Fujian Daimler Automotive is a joint venture of Fujian Motors Group, China Motor Corp. and Daimler, which was founded in 2007.
At the end of 2010, Daimler and the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of producing the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in Russia. Engines, transmission, axles and other components are also to be produced locally.
Daimler could look back on an excellent year in 2010 – and the targets for 2011 were appropriately ambitious. This applied all the more because the car celebrated a special anniversary in 2011: 125! Years Inventor of the Automobile.
The Anniversary Year 2011 - 125! years of automobiles and excellent business results
At Daimler, the year 2011 represented both. The anniversary year 2011 started out with the 125th birthday of the automobile on January 29, 2011. 125 years previously, on January 29, 1886, Carl Benz changed the world. He registered for a patent for his "motor car powered by a gas engine" at the Royal Patent Office in Berlin under the number 37435 and thus laid the foundation for the 125-year success story of automotive inventions. The anniversary year itself was yet another successful year for the company.
At Mercedes-Benz Cars the company posted a threefold record in 2011: With respect to unit sales, revenue and EBIT, the company had never performed better. Daimler was able to achieve this mainly thanks to the strength of its Mercedes-Benz brand and its innovative products: Whether the M- or B-Class, the C-Coupé or the SLS AMG Roadster – the new models were received very well.
Long-term growth strategy - "Mercedes-Benz 2020"
At the same time, the company decided on a long-term growth strategy: "Mercedes-Benz 2020" which is built around the expansion of the leadership claim: With the strongest brands and the best products Daimler is striving to become the Number One in unit sales in the premium segment as well from 2020 at the latest.
The year 2011 was also a very good year for Daimler Trucks : The company was able to grow its worldwide unit sales and revenues by 20 percent respectively. EBIT soared by more than 40 percent. In June 2011, Daimler presented the most important heavy-duty truck of the decade with the new Mercedes-Benz Actros, which was quickly crowned "Truck of the Year". In North America, Daimler expanded its market leadership in the segment of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. FUSO also managed to grow in Asia – despite the natural disaster in Japan.
Mercedes-Benz Vans posted a sales increase of around 18 percent – primarily thanks to the successful new generations of the Vito and Viano. Both models can now also be ordered in China. In addition, Daimler has also started production of the Sprinter there.
Another topic that has continued to increase in importance not only at Daimler: Integrity. Integrity is more than the formal compliance with laws and regulations. It is an ethical attitude, a kind of "inner compass", which guides the company and its employees in the right direction even in complex business situations. The creation of a new Board of Management division for "Integrity and Legal Affairs" was already decided in the preceding year. In 2011, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt as member of the Board of Management. Dr. Hohmann-Dennhardt takes over the newly created division. Her area of responsibility includes the Legal Department, the Compliance organization and Corporate Data Protection.