Annual Report 2017

Business development

Unit sales

Daimler increased its total unit sales in the year 2017 by 9 % to 3.3 million vehicles, thus surpassing its growth target. The Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans divisions exceeded the forecasts made at the beginning of the year by recording significant growth (8 % and 12 % respectively). Daimler Trucks also posted a significant increase of 13 % in unit sales. At the beginning of the year, the division had anticipated unit sales similar to those of the previous year. Our sales forecast was successively adjusted as a result of more favorable market developments in some markets important for us. As we expected at the beginning of the year, unit sales at Daimler Buses were also significantly higher than in the prior year (+9 %).

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division continued along its growth path in the year under review. Unit sales rose by 8 % to the new record of 2,373,500 vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz brand increased its unit sales by 9 % to 2,238,000 vehicles and was once again the strongest-selling premium brand in the automobile industry. Mercedes-Benz is the number one brand in the premium segment in Germany and numerous other key European markets, as well as in the United States, Canada, South Korea and Japan. In addition, we once again significantly improved our position in China.

Unit sales in Europe increased by 5 % to 911,700 vehicles. Significant growth was achieved in the volume markets of France (+9 %), Italy (+9 %), Spain (+8 %) and the United Kingdom (+4 %), and we also increased our unit sales in Germany by 2 % to 282,600 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz continued its success in China during the year under review. Unit sales in the country rose by 28 % to 595,200 vehicles — much faster growth than the overall market and our most important competitors. We set new records for unit sales also in other Asian markets — for example in Thailand (+31 %) India (+14 %), South Korea (+9 %) and Taiwan (+7 %). Total unit sales in the NAFTA region were at the prior-year level. Here, sales increased significantly in Canada and Mexico but decreased slightly in the United States as in the market overall.

The growth was primarily driven by our new E-Class. After all model variants became available, sales reached the new record level of 398,200 units (+31 %). Our off-road vehicles were also very successful once again. Total unit sales in the SUV segment increased by 16 % to 823,000 vehicles. Demand for our C-Class models also remained very strong, with sales of these vehicles increasing slightly to 492,700 sedans, wagons, coupes and convertibles in 2017. Unit sales of A- and B-Class models did not quite reach the previous year’s high level. Including the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, a total of 420,200 units were delivered. Sales of the S-Class reached a total of 79,400 sedans, coupes and convertibles. The upgraded S-Class generated additional sales momentum in the second half of the year. (See table B.07)

Daimler AR2017 B.07 Unit sales structure of Mercedes Benz Cars

The smart brand sold a total of 135,500 vehicles in 46 markets worldwide in 2017. The smart was particularly popular in China, which is now the smart brand’s third-biggest sales market after Germany and Italy. (Vgl. Mercedes-Benz Cars)

Unit sales by Daimler Trucks in 2017 were significantly higher than in the previous year. In total, we delivered 470,700 heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks as well as buses of the Thomas Built Buses and FUSO brands in the year under review (2016: 415,100). Daimler Trucks continues to be the world’s biggest manufacturer of trucks above 6 tons. (See graphic B.08)

Daimler AR2017 B.08 Unit sale structure of Daimler Trucks

In the EU30 region (European Union, Switzerland and Norway), we sold 82,300 vehicles in the year under review, slightly higher than the 79,800 sold in 2016. Our Mercedes-Benz brand remained the market leader in the medium-duty and heavy-duty segments, with a share of 21.0 % (2016: 20.7 %). Following the slump in Turkey in 2016, we were able to significantly increase our sales in the country to 11,800 units in the year under review (2016: 9,300). Developments were also very positive in Russia, where unit sales more than tripled to 8,000 trucks (2016: 2,300). (See table B.09)

B.09 Market share1

  2017 2016 17/16
in %   Change in % points
       
Mercedes-Benz Cars      
European Union 6.3 6.2 +0.1
thereof Germany 10.5 10.4 +0.1
United States 2.0 2.0 0.0
China 2.6 2.1 +0.5
Japan 1.7 1.7 0.0
       
Daimler Trucks      
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks EU30 21.0 20.7 +0.3
thereof Germany 36.4 37.2 -0.8
Heavy-duty trucks NAFTA region (Class 8) 40.0 40.0 0.0
Medium-duty trucks NAFTA region (Classes 6 and 7) 39.3 37.9 +1.4
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks Brazil 27.6 29.8 -2.2
Trucks Japan 19.6 20.4 -0.8
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks India 9.1 6.8 +2.3
       
Mercedes-Benz Vans      
Mid-size and large vans EU30 16.7 16.8 -0.1
thereof Germany 27.3 27.3 0.0
Small vans EU30 3.1 3.1 0.0
Large vans United States 7.5 7.6 -0.1
       
Daimler Buses      
Buses over 8 tons EU30 28.4 29.6 -1.2
thereof Germany 51.6 50.1 +1.5
Buses over 8 tons Brazil 52.5 58.4 -5.9

1 Based on estimates in certain markets.

Our unit sales in Latin America increased to 30,500 from the low level of 27,500 vehicles sold in 2016. With sales of 5,600 units (2016: 3,900), the market in Argentina made a major contribution to this positive development. Sales in our main Latin American market, Brazil, rose significantly to 13,400 units (2016: 12,100). With our Mercedes-Benz trucks, we achieved a market share of 27.6 % in the medium- and heavy-duty segments (2016: 29.8 %).

In the NAFTA region, we were able to record a significant increase in sales to 165,000 units in the year under review (2016: 145,700). We further increased our market share in Classes 6–8 with a market share of 39.8 % (2016: 39.3 %). In Class 8 for heavy-duty trucks, we once again achieved a market share of 40.0 % (2016: 40.0 %). We also remained the undisputed market leader in Classes 6–8. At the beginning of 2017, we started production of the new Freightliner Cascadia, which offers a number of new features for fuel efficiency, connectivity and safety.

We increased our sales in Asia by 18 % to 148,600 trucks. At 44,800 units, sales in Japan were slightly lower than in the previous year (46,400). Our FUSO brand achieved an overall market share of 19.6 % (2016: 20.4 %) in Japan. The new Super Great heavy-duty truck underscores our determination to further strengthen our position in the Japanese truck market. Our sales of 42,700 units in Indonesia were substantially higher than in the prior year (28,000). Although the volume of the truck market in India was below the prior-year level, we were able to increase our sales in the fifth year since the establishment of the BharatBenz brand to 16,700 trucks (2016: 13,100) and our market share increased to 9.1 % (2016: 6.8 %). At 23,600 units (2016: 17,600), our sales in the Middle East were also substantially higher than the low prior-year level.

In China, the world’s biggest truck market, Daimler AG holds a 50 % interest in Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd. (BFDA), a joint venture with Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks of the Auman brand have been produced there since 2012. In line with the significant recovery of the Chinese truck market, Auman posted a substantial sales increase to 112,400 units (2016: 77,800). (See Daimler Trucks)

Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved record sales once again in 2017. Unit sales of 401,000 vehicles surpassed the prior-year figure by 12 %. Whereas we mainly focus on commercial customers with the Sprinter, Vito and Citan models, the V-Class is primarily designed for private use. With the X-Class, our new mid-size pickup, we are addressing various customers for both private and commercial applications. In the EU30 region, which is our core region, we increased our unit sales by 9 % to 273,300 vehicles, and we continue to be the market leader for mid-size and large vans with a share of 16.7 % (2016: 16.8 %). Double-digit growth was achieved in several European markets, and the division also set a new record in Germany with sales of 105,800 units (2016: 96,100). Sales in the NAFTA region increased to 44,800 units (2016: 43,400) and the division’s market share for large vans in the United States reached 7.5 % (2016: 7.6 %). Business development was very favorable in Latin America, where sales rose by 31 % to 16,400 units. Unit sales in China also increased significantly, by 75 % to 23,800 vans. This development was largely due to the success of the Vito and the V-Class, both of which were launched in China in 2016. In total, we sold 200,500 Sprinter vans worldwide (2016: 193,400) in the reporting period, which was the last full year of the current model’s lifecycle. Vito sales rose significantly, by 21 % to 111,800 units, while sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan reached 26,100 units (2016: 24,900). The V-Class full-size MPV was very successful; sales of 59,300 units surpassed the previous year’s figure by 22 %. The X-Class also got off to a good start at the end of the year with sales of 3,300 units. (See Mercedes-Benz Vans)

Daimler Buses sold 28,700 buses and bus chassis worldwide in 2017 (2016: 26,200). The significant increase is due in particular to the gradual recovery of the economy in Brazil. The division maintained its clear market leadership in its most important traditional markets (EU30, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico). Continued high demand for complete buses meant that the division achieved sales in the EU30 region of 8,700 units sold in the year under review (2016: 8,800). At 28.4 % (2016: 29.6 %), market share was once again at a very high level. Sales of 3,100 Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses in Germany were at the prior year level (2016: 3,100), while the ongoing difficult situation in Turkey resulted in a significant decrease in unit sales, to 400 vehicles (2016: 600). The market situation in Latin America (excluding Mexico) improved considerably; bus market volume in Brazil grew by 10 % after having bottomed out in 2016. Sales of Mercedes-Benz bus chassis in Brazil rose by a double-digit rate (+46 %) to 7,200 units. We were also able to maintain our leading market position in Brazil with a market share of 52.5 % (2016: 58.4 %). In Mexico, sales of 3,400 units (2016: 3,800) were significantly lower than in the previous year. (See Daimler Buses)

Business at Daimler Financial Services continued to develop very positively in the year under review. As we had forecast in the 2016 Annual Report, worldwide contract volume continued to grow, reaching the new record level of 139.9 billion (+6 %) in 2017. Adjusted for currency-translation effects, contract volume increased by 12 %. New business increased by 14 % to €70.7 billion, growing at a much faster rate than we had anticipated at the beginning of the year. Significant growth was recorded in Europe (+15 %), while new business in the Americas region was of the prior-year magnitude (+1 %). The growth of new business in the Africa and Asia-Pacific region (excluding China) was once again very dynamic at a rate of 16 %. In China, new business actually increased by 56 %. In the insurance business, we brokered approximately 2.1 million policies, representing an increase of 20 % compared with the prior year. In financial year 2017, Daimler Financial Services was active in fleet management with the two brands Daimler Fleet Management and Athlon. In Europe, Daimler Financial Services had a total of 383,300 contracts with fleet customers on its books at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 6 % compared with a year earlier. Contract volume amounted to €6.4 billion. The total number of registered users of our mobility services rose to 17.8 million in the year under review. car2go increased its number of registered users to 3.0 million at the end of the year and thus strengthened its position as the world’s leader for flexible car sharing. The app-based taxi-ordering service mytaxi is Europe’s biggest taxi network and also continued its growth in 2017; the number of registered users rose by 85 % to 11.1 million at the end of the year. We further developed the moovel app, with which customers in Germany can find the best way of traveling from A to B using various modes of transport and can also directly book and pay for services from providers such as car2go, mytaxi and Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). With moovel transit, moovel North America is the leading provider of mobile ticket solutions for the apps of public transport companies in the United States. The number of registered moovel users in Germany and the United States had risen to 3.7 million by the end of 2017 (2016: 2.2 million). (See Daimler Financial Services)

Order situation

The Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses divisions produce vehicles predominantly to order in accordance with customers’ specifications. While doing so, we flexibly adjust the production capacities for the individual models to changing levels of demand. Due in particular to strong demand in China and the European markets, the number of orders placed with Mercedes-Benz Cars during the year under review was once again above the high level of orders recorded in the previous year. This was driven on the product side primarily by the new E-Class, all variants of which are now available, as well as by the continued strong success of our off-road vehicles. Due to the positive development of demand, we once again increased our production volumes. Nonetheless, the order backlog at the end of 2017 was higher than a year before. At Daimler Trucks, both orders received and the order backlog at year-end were significantly higher than a year earlier. This was primarily due to the revival of demand in North America and Asia. We increased production volumes mainly in the second half of the year in response to the higher demand.

Daimler AR2017 B.10 Consolidated revenue by region

Revenue

In the year 2017, Daimler increased its total revenue by 7 % to €164.3 billion; adjusted for currency-translation effects, revenue grew by 8 %. This means we surpassed our expectations from the beginning of the year. The divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars (+6 %) and Daimler Financial Services (+15 %) increased their business volumes by significant margins. The Daimler Trucks division also recorded a significant increase in revenue of 8 %, primarily due to positive sales development in North America. Exchange-rate effects had a negative impact on revenue. We had originally expected a business volume similar to that of the previous year. Revenue at Mercedes-Benz Vans (+3 %) and Daimler Buses (+4 %) rose slightly. At Mercedes-Benz Vans, we had only expected revenue to stabilize and unit sales to increase slightly at the beginning of the year, because contract manufacturing of vans for Volkswagen had been discontinued at the end of 2016.

In regional terms, Daimler achieved revenue growth in Europe (+8 % to €68.4 billion), in the NAFTA region (+4 % to €46.9 billion) and in Asia (+9 % to €38.8 billion).

B.11 Revenue by division and region

  2017 2016 17/16
In millions of euros     % change
       
Daimler Group 164,330 153,261 +7
       
Divisions      
Mercedes-Benz Cars 94,695 89,284 +6
Daimler Trucks 35,707 33,187 +8
Mercedes-Benz Vans 13,164 12,835 +3
Daimler Buses 4,351 4,176 +4
Daimler Financial Services 23,775 20,660 +15
       
Regions      
Europe 68,437 63,417 +8
thereof Germany 23,939 23,509 +2
NAFTA region 46,916 44,960 +4
thereof United States 40,459 39,169 +3
Asia 38,766 35,562 +9
thereof China 18,280 15,984 +14
Other markets 10,211 9,322 +10
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