Outlook. Current summary at a glance

On the basis of the anticipated market developments and the planning of the divisions, Daimler assumes that Group EBIT, unit sales and revenue in 2019 will be slightly above the level of 2018.

Group EBIT 2019 slightly above prior-year level

It will also include significant positive effects on assets and earnings at the Daimler Financial Services division from the merger of its mobility services with those of the BMW Group. The expected growth in unit sales and revenue at all divisions will have a positive impact on the development of earnings.

Group EBIT will be negatively affected by the continuation of very high expenditure: for the model offensives, for innovative technologies especially for reducing fuel consumption and for electrification, for the digitization of products and processes, and for the expansion and modernization of the worldwide production capacities. Additional factors are a significant increase in material costs due to rising raw-material prices and negative exchange-rate effects at the Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans divisions. Furthermore, a mid-three-digit million amount is planned at Group level in the year 2019 for the implementation of the new corporate structure (»Project Future«). At Daimler Financial Services, earnings are to be burdened by the normalization of credit-risk costs and by further investments in the expansion of digitization and of mobility services.

2019 will be a year of great change for Daimler: We are implementing our new corporate structure. We are speeding up into the era of electric mobility. We are entering new dimensions in the fields of connectivity, autonomous driving and mobility services.

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars

Last update: February 15, 2019

Detailed outlook in our interactive Annual Report 2018

Divisions

From now on, Daimler is using return on sales (RoS) instead of EBIT to forecast profitability for the automotive divisions and return on equity (RoE) for Daimler Financial Services. This creates an even stronger link between the outlook for the current financial year and the strategic target margins. The divisions have the following expectations for their returns in 2019:

  • Mercedes-Benz Cars: return on sales of 6% to 8%
  • Daimler Trucks: return on sales of 7% to 9%
  • Mercedes-Benz Vans: return on sales of 5% to 7%
  • Daimler Buses: return on sales of 5% to 7%
  • Daimler Financial Services: return on equity of 17% to 19%

With an attractive and innovative model portfolio, Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to continue along its growth path in 2019. Overall, unit sales should increase slightly, reaching yet another record level. In 2019, Mercedes-Benz intends to launch more than a dozen new and upgraded models on the market. The new compact cars in particular should have a positive impact on unit sales. Mercedes-Benz is well positioned also in the growing SUV segment with the new GLE and GLS and the popular GLC, now upgraded. Mercedes-AMG should be a guarantee for success in the high-performance segment in 2019.

Under the product and technology brand EQ, which stands for “Electric Intelligence,” Daimler will offer not only vehicles but also services in connection with electric mobility. By the year 2022, the goal is to electrify the entire portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Daimler aims to offer its customers various electrified alternatives in each segment – from the smart to the compact cars to the large SUVs. In 2019, the first all-electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz is to be launched: the EQC (electricity consumption combined: 22.2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km; preliminary figures). By the year 2022, the portfolio is to include more than 130 electrified variants. This will include all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and models with 48-volt technology. By the year 2025, depending on the development of the public infrastructure and on customer preferences, 15 to 25% of the cars sold are to be purely electric. To achieve that, Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten all-electric cars on the market. As the pioneer of electric mobility, the smart brand aims to be the first automobile brand to systematically change over from combustion engines to electric drive. Following the changeover in the United States and Canada, the smart brand will be based solely on electric drive in Europe by the year 2020. The rest of the world is to follow soon after.

Positive contributions should come from the NAFTA region, Brazil, the EU30 region and India. In Japan and Indonesia, the division expects to roughly match its unit sales of 2018. Following last year’s considerable economic uncertainty in Turkey, the division assumes that its unit sales there will decrease slightly.

Strong growth is expected in the United States and slight growth in the EU30 region. Unit sales in 2019 should be boosted above all by the new Sprinter, which was launched in mid-2018.

...with slight growth in the EU30 region and a significant increase in India. In Latin America (excluding Mexico), unit sales are expected to be at the prior-year level.

New market potential is to be utilized through more flexible leasing and rental products. Additionally, the online sales channels are to be expanded.

Company

On the basis of the divisions’ planning, Daimler assumes that it will be possible to increase its unit sales and revenue slightly in 2019. Currency exchange rates are expected to affect the development of revenue adversely in 2019. Mercedes-Benz Cars anticipates slight revenue growth. The high share of compact models in overall unit sales and the advancing lifecycle of some models could have a dampening impact. Due to positive sales expectations, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses anticipate significant growth in revenue. Daimler Financial Services expects slight revenue growth.

In regional terms, the Group anticipates further growth in all major regions. In China, the right conditions for further growth have been created with new sales outlets, additional production capacities and a broad product range. However, increasing unit sales in China will have a disproportionately low impact on revenue growth, as the share of local production will continue to rise.

The rather moderate development of earnings in the automotive business will be reflected in the free cash flow of the industrial business in 2019. Ongoing high advance expenditure for new products and technologies will also have a dampening impact. An additional factor will be the costs of »Project Future« for the implementation of the new Group structure. Under these conditions, Daimler however assumes that the free cash flow of the industrial business will be slightly above the prior-year level.

In 2019 and 2020, Daimler will invest almost €15 billion in property, plant and equipment and more than €18 billion in research and development projects. Across all industrial divisions, Daimler is developing new, low-emission combustion engines, electric mobility and vehicle connectivity, and is working on innovative safety technologies for automated and autonomous driving. Most of the investments at Mercedes-Benz Cars are in the renewal of the product portfolio. The most important individual projects are the successor models for the C-Class, the S-Class, and the new compact cars, as well as expanding the model range of the EQ product and technology brand. At Daimler Trucks, additionally tailored products and technologies for important growth markets will play a major role.

Due to the expected growth and further efficiency improvements, Daimler anticipates a slightly increasing workforce. Additional jobs will be created in particular through the expansion of the international production network, in the area of research and development and in future technologies, especially electric mobility and digitization. These figures for the Daimler Group do not include companies which are jointly operated with Chinese partners. Those companies are likely to recruit additional employees.

With our guidance for Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans we are below our long-term target margins. We cannot and will not be satisfied with this. That's why we have started to develop comprehensive countermeasures. Our goal is to return to our target margin corridor of 8 to 10 percent by 2021. At trucks and buses, we will systematically continue and combine the measures we have already initiated. That will enable us to achieve our margin target of 8 percent in the long term and to utilize further margin potential. For all the divisions, it applies: a profitable business is a prerequisite for continuing to invest in new technologies and products in the future.

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars

Important Notes

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 deterioration of our refinancing possibilities on the credit and financial markets;
  • events of force majeure including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, political unrest, armed conflicts, industrial accidents and their effects on our sales, purchasing, production or financial services activities;
  • changes in currency exchange rates and tariff regulations;
  • a shift in consumer preferences towards smaller, lower-margin vehicles;
  • 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 for 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 for 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 or of investigations requested by governments and the conclusion of pending or threatened future legal proceedings;
  • and other risks and uncertainties, some of which we describe under the heading “Risk and Opportunity Report” in the current Annual Report.

If any of these risks and uncertainties materializes 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 date of publication.

With the guidance for the 2019 financial year, for forecasting the profitability of the divisions, Daimler will change over to using return on sales instead of EBIT for the automotive divisions and return on equity for Daimler Financial Services. This will create a link between our expectations for the current financial year and our strategic targets.

In the future, divisional return on sales and return on equity will be forecast on the basis of bandwidths.

For the Daimler Group’s EBIT, we will retain the current method of a comparative forecast; however, we will adjust the forecast sensitivities:

  • The forecast “at the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of -5% to +5%.
  • The forecast “slightly above/below the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of > +/-5%.
  • The forecast “significantly above/below the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of > +/-15%.

In addition, for both the Group and the divisions, we are adjusting the forecast sensitivities for the less volatile reporting parameters unit sales and revenue as follows:

  • The forecast “at the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of -2% to +2%.
  • The forecast “slightly above/below the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of > +/-2%.
  • The forecast “significantly above/below the prior-year level” represents a change compared with the prior-year figure of > +/-7.5%.

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