Daimler races to new annual sales record in 2015 | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.02.2016
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Daimler races to new annual sales record in 2015

The German carmaker's growth saw "exceptional dynamism" last year driven by the biggest sales ever and record revenues. Shareholders will rejoice as Daimler pays its highest-ever dividend and promises more growth.

Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche described 2015 as "a good year," which is certainly an understatement in view of fresh corporate records set by the German top-of-the-range auto maker last year.

Unit sales jumped 12 percent to 2.9 million vehicles - more than ever before in the company's history. Group revenue came in at 149.5 billion euros ($165.7 billion) - up 15 percent and also setting a new record. As a result, the board proposed to pay a dividend of 3.25 euros per share - the biggest return for investors in Daimler ever.

Net profit for 2015 jumped by 23 percent to 8.9 billion euros, but fell slightly short of a new record.

Due to strong demand for Daimler's premium vehicles, the carmaker's workforce expanded 1 percent over the year to a total of 284,015 by the end of 2015. Each of them would receive a one-off payment of 5,650 euros, the carmaker said.

Luxury brands shine

Daimler's passenger car division, including luxury brands Mercedes-AMG, Maybach as well as the Mercedes me e-car and the Smart city car, accelerated sales for the sixth consecutive year, passing the 2-million-mark for the first time. The most important drivers were the new C-Class of Mercedes and the brand's SUV segment.

Daimler's trucks division grew less significantly, and was up by only 1 percent to 502,500 vehicles. The bus segment even experienced a decline in sales, from 33,200 in 2014 to 28,100 last year, because of lower demand in Brazil.

Robust outlook

Looking ahead, the German auto giant expressed confidence for higher sales and profitability in 2016. Amid a projected rise in global car demand of around 4 percent, Daimler expects to grow mainly in China. Traditional markets such as the United States and Western Europe, it said, would probably develop "significantly lower."

"The group assumes that it will profit to an above-average extent from the anticipated slight growth in global demand for automobiles, thus strengthening its position in major markets and further increasing its unit sales," Daimler said.

However, the rate of growth was likely to be rather lower than in 2015, the carmaker added, as last year had featured "exceptional dynamism."

uhe/hg (dpa, AFP, Daimler)

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