Dr. Dieter Zetsche at the Daimler Annual Shareholders’ Meeting: “Our determination is paying off.”
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- Investment program is bearing fruit
- Implementation of efficiency programs running as planned
- Further development of strategic growth areas
- Voting on highest dividend of
Daimler AGof €2.25 per share
"Our determination is paying off. The company's situation is good, but the future outlook is even better." This is how Dr.
"2013 was a year in which we got off to a difficult start but gradually picked up speed," commented Zetsche on the past financial year before an expected audience of approximately 5,000 shareholders at the Berlin Trade Fair Center. The Group achieved record levels of unit sales, revenue, EBIT and net profit. Worldwide, Daimler sold nearly 2.4 million vehicles and achieved group revenue of €118 billion (2013: €114.3 billion). Group EBIT increased by 23% to €10.8 billion (2013: €8.8 billion); Group EBIT from the ongoing business amounted to €7.9 billion (2013: €8.2 billion). Net profit increased by 28% to €8.7 billion (2013: €6.8 billion); value added rose by 38% to €5.9 billion (2013: €4.3 billion).
Due to the good results and the course of business in 2013, the
Implementation of efficiency programs running as planned
Zetsche sees the successes as confirmation of the company's long-term goals and strategy: "Our strategy is paying off!" He continued: "We will hold fast to our course." Daimler's stated goal is to grow sustainably and profitably.
In addition to its growth targets, Daimler also has ambitious earnings targets. The company aims to achieve an average return on sales of 9% from its automotive business across all market and product cycles in the medium term, and a return on equity of 17% for
Implementation of the efficiency programs 'Fit for Leadership' at Mercedes-Benz Cars and 'Daimler Trucks Number One' is progressing very successfully. The car division aims to improve its cost position by approximately €2 billion by the end of 2014, of which 30% was to be achieved in the past financial year. With an improvement of €800 million, that target was significantly surpassed. The goal for the trucks division is to implement measures that will result in improvements of €1.6 billion by the end of this year. As planned, 30% of that total was already achieved in 2013.
Further development of strategic growth areas
In order to achieve those goals, four strategic growth areas have been defined for the entire Group:
In strengthening the core business, the focus is on the product offensives in the automotive business. Strengthening the core business is not limited to the existing model series. "We are also seeking to gain new customers by entering new segments for
Opening up new markets is the second strategic growth area. Zetsche: "Our job is to develop clean, safe and fascinating products to meet the increasing demand for mobility in the future." That includes the expansion of all activities in
The third growth area is the extension of technological leadership, which involves alternative drive systems as well as safety technologies. "Over the past five years, we have reduced both the fuel consumption and the emissions of our fleet in
Zetsche sees the key to more safety in road traffic in intelligent vehicles. The safest form of driving is gradually becoming reality at Daimler: the autonomous automobile. With both cars and commercial vehicles, the focus is on active safety and thus accident prevention by means of various safety and assistance systems.
"We regard ourselves not only as a vehicle manufacturer but also as a provider of mobility solutions," is how Zetsche explained the fourth strategic growth area. This involves new mobility solutions and digitalization, brought together under the 'Mercedes me' brand, which was presented in March. With 'Mercedes move me', Daimler is further extending its leadership in mobility services. 'Mercedes finance me' provides support with vehicle financing or leasing. Additional service offerings are 'Mercedes assist me', 'Mercedes inspire me' and 'Mercedes connect me'. 'Mercedes me' aims to continue what was started with the new compact cars: expanding the customer base.
2014 – Status quo and expectations
Zetsche summarized the current business development: "We are beginning 2014 at the same pace with which we finished 2013." Although the markets were uneven in the first three months of 2014, Daimler sold more cars, trucks, vans and buses in the first quarter of 2014 than in the prior-year period.
Mercedes-Benz Cars set new records for unit sales in March as well as in the first three months of 2014 (Q1: +14.0%; retail +13.5%), and was thus the world's fastest-growing premium brand in the first quarter. The division assumes that it will significantly increase its unit sales in full-year 2014 and will reach a new record figure. The car division is systematically continuing its product offensive and in the full year once again intends to grow faster than the overall market, which is expected to expand by 4 to 5%. Sales impetus will be provided by the high demand for the new S-Class, the models of the compact class, the new S-Class coupe, the new V-Class, the new C-Class family, the GLA compact SUV, and the new generation of the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake. The smart brand will present the successor model of the smart fortwo and the new four-seater smart forfour in 2014.
Daimler Trucks increased its unit sales by 7% in the first three months of this year and anticipates a significant increase also for the full year. The division presented seven new trucks in the first quarter, with more to come later this year. Full availability of the new model range and high acceptance in the market should further strengthen the very good position of Daimler Trucks.
Unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans in the first three months were 16% higher than in the prior-year period. The van division expects unit sales to rise significantly also in full-year 2014. Growth impetus will come from the Citan, the new Sprinter and the new Vito. Within the framework of the "Vans goes global" strategy, Mercedes-Benz Vans aims to achieve further growth in
First-quarter unit sales by Daimler Buses grew significantly (+11%). The bus division plans to significantly increase its sales figures in full-year 2014 and to defend its market leadership in the core markets of buses above 8 tons gross vehicle weight. The satisfying order intake contributes to this confidence. Overall, the division does not expect the markets to provide much impetus.
The growth of the vehicle divisions is reflected in the development of
Based on assumptions concerning the development of key sales markets and the divisions' planning, Daimler expects to significantly increase the Group's unit sales in 2014. Daimler also assumes that Group revenue will grow significantly in 2014.
Daimler assumes that it will significantly increase its Group EBIT from the ongoing business in 2014. It has set the following EBIT targets for the divisions in the 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
"The good times have only just begun. Our company can accomplish a great deal more in the future," Zetsche is convinced that the long-term goals will be achieved on a sustainable basis.
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