Mercedes-Benz Cars continued to grow profitably in 2015 in a very dynamic manner. Unit sales, revenue and earnings increased once again, and we also reached our target for return on sales in the ongoing business. Numerous new models enabled us to significantly increase our market share in nearly all regions. China is now our biggest market, and unit sales in China rose by 37 % in the year under review. The very good business year we enjoyed in 2015 was rounded out by numerous awards for our vehicles and an extremely successful motorsport season. We further expanded our global production network in the year under review, thereby creating the conditions necessary for future growth.
Records for unit sales, revenue and earnings
The Mercedes-Benz Cars division, comprising the Mercedes-Benz brand with the Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me sub-brands as well as the smart brand, once again accelerated its pace of profitable growth in the year under review. We increased our unit sales for the sixth year in succession and our sales of 2,001,400 vehicles (+16 %) put us above the two-million mark for the first time in our history. (See table C.01) We were able to gain market share in nearly all regions. Revenue increased by 14 % to €83.8 billion. We also significantly improved our profitability compared with the previous year, with EBIT rising by 35 % to €7.9 billion. In addition, we reached our target for return on sales in the ongoing business. Our very positive overall business development throughout the year was largely due to our new products, in particular the new C-Class and our attractive SUVs.
C.01 Mercedes-Benz Cars
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||9.5||8.0||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||3,629||3,621||+0|
|Research and development expenditure||4,711||4,025||+17|
|Employees (December 31)||136,941||135,553||+1|
Mercedes-Benz once again posts record unit sales
Unit sales of the Mercedes-Benz brand rose to the new record level of 1,880,100 vehicles in 2015. (See table C.02) Despite difficult conditions in several markets, the pace of growth increased significantly once again compared with the previous year, as sales grew by 15 % (2014: 11 %). We are the number one manufacturer in the premium segment in Germany as well as in Canada and Japan. We also significantly improved our position in China in the year under review.
C.02 Unit sales Mercedes-Benz Cars
|in thousands||% change|
|thereof1: A-/B-Class (excluding GLA)||425||387||+10|
|SUVs (including GLA)||543||426||+27|
|thereof Western Europe||773||669||+16|
|thereof United States||359||344||+4|
1 Including model variants.
Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 678,200 vehicles in Western Europe in 2015, an increase of 11 % from the previous year. Growth was particularly strong in Spain (+24 %), the United Kingdom (+17 %) and Italy (+16 %). Sales in Germany increased by 4 % to 259,200 units. Sales development was also positive in the NAFTA region, where we set new records in the United States (+5 %), Canada (+23 %) and Mexico (+10 %). Despite difficult market conditions, sales rose by 41 % in China, where we significantly outperformed the market as a whole. We recorded substantial increases in unit sales also in Japan (+13 %), South Korea (+30 %), India (+31 %), Brazil (+67 %) and Turkey (+35 %).
The main contributions to the growth in unit sales came from the C-Class and our new SUVs. Our A-Class and B-Class models also remained very popular, with sales of these cars increasing by 10 %. Including the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, a total of 425,000 units were delivered to customers. Our C-Class models were particularly successful, with sales of these vehicles increasing by 38 % to 470,400 sedans, wagons and coupes in the reporting year. The E-Class performed very well in the last year before its model changeover, achieving unit sales of 306,000 vehicles (-7 %). The S-Class was once again the best-selling luxury sedan in the world by far. In total we sold 106,200 sedans and coupes of the S-Class (2014: 115,500). Global sales in the SUV segment increased by 27 % to 543,000 units. This positive development was mainly due to the new GLC and GLE models and the success enjoyed by the GLA in the Chinese market.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLC | World Premiere
Model offensive accelerated
During the year under review, Mercedes-Benz Cars once again expanded its range of models within the framework of its “Mercedes-Benz 2020” growth strategy. The most wide-ranging product portfolio in our history enabled us to attract new customer groups and improve our market position vis-à-vis our main competitors. The model offensive focused on SUVs in 2015. We renewed our range of vehicles in this growth segment almost completely, and we also added the GLE coupe to the portfolio. (See Mercedes-Benz SUV offensive) Other all-new additions are the CLA Shooting Brake, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, another exclusive Mercedes-Maybach model and the S-Class convertible, which will be launched in the spring of 2016.
Mercedes-AMG GT | Trailer
The new SUVs: at home on any terrain
The new generation of the GLE is a completely reworked version of the Mercedes-Benz bestseller in the SUV segment (the former M-Class). The highlights of the new GLE include a considerably more appealing front and rear as well as extensive measures that enable new benchmarks for emissions and drive systems. The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe combines two very different vehicle segments in one model, whereby its sporty coupe character is rather more dominant than the distinctive features of a robust SUV. The model stands out both through its impressive handling and its attractive exterior design. The GLE models were launched in the spring of 2015 and have been very well received by our customers.
The GLC compact SUV, which had its world premiere in June 2015, combines the utmost driving comfort with great sportiness. Mercedes-Benz implemented an extensive package of measures to significantly increase the GLC’s energy efficiency and performance. The fuel consumption of the GLC is as much as 19 % lower than of the GLK predecessor model, thanks in large part to updated or completely new drive systems, outstanding aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight engineering. In terms of appearance, the vehicle body follows the clear design idiom that was very successfully presented in the Concept GLC Coupe show car in the spring of 2015. This design approach will be used as a standard for future SUV families.
During the year under review, we also upgraded the GL, which is our most spacious SUV. The new GLS, which will arrive in showrooms in March 2016, underscores our position as the manufacturer of the “S-Class among SUVs.” The fully fledged seven-seater combines luxury with impressive comfort, agile handling and best-in-class safety.
CLA Shooting Brake: Space for something new
The CLA Shooting Brake became the fifth member of our successful family of compact models in March 2015. The CLA Shooting Brake stands for a completely new vehicle concept that combines a progressive, sporty design with versatile spaciousness. The high quality of the interior is underscored by the use of the same design idiom that makes the exterior so special, as well as by carefully selected high-end materials.
Sporty and luxury: The new CLA Shooting Brake - Mercedes-Benz original
A new coupe for the C-Class family
Athletic and sporty: The clear and sensual design of the new C-Class coupe makes a big impression on the road, while a dynamically configured chassis forms the basis for agile handling and driving pleasure. Among other things, this was made possible by a weight-reducing lightweight design, excellent aerodynamics and high-performance yet efficient engines. New assistance systems offer the highest degree of safety, and the new C-Class coupe also sets new standards in its segment with its high-end appeal and spacious interior. The model has been delivered to customers since December 2015.
The new C-Class Coupé – Trailer
The world’s most comfortable convertible
The new convertible is the sixth variant of the current S-Class family and the first open-top luxury four-seater from Mercedes-Benz since 1971. The elegant and sporty model celebrated its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. With this vehicle, Mercedes-Benz can now boast of making the world’s most comfortable convertible. A unique level of climate comfort is provided by the refined automatic draft shield system AIRCAP, the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, heated armrests and a fully automatic intelligent climate control system.
Mercedes-Maybach expands its range of models
Following the successful launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 (Mercedes-Maybach S 600: fuel consumption in l/100 km urban 16.9/extra-urban 8.7/combined 11.7; CO2 emissions in g/km combined 274) in November 2014, the second model from the new Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand celebrated its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015. Mercedes-Maybach stands for prestigious exclusivity and is aimed at particularly status-conscious customers. With its combination of the very highest exclusivity, unparalleled comfort and state-of-the-art technology, the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman (Mercedes-Maybach Pullman: fuel consumption in l/100 km urban 18.0/extra-urban 9.2/combined 2.9; CO2 emissions in g/km combined 299) now assumes the role of a clear top-of-the-line model. With a length of 6.50 meters, the vehicle offers enough space for a large and luxurious club lounge in the rear that features numerous amenities as standard equipment. The chauffeured limousine thus meets the modern demand for the highest degree of exclusivity and luxury. The four rear seats in the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman (Mercedes-Maybach Pullman: fuel consumption in l/100 km urban 18.0/extra-urban 9.2/combined 2.9; CO2 emissions in g/km combined 299) are arranged opposite one another. These adjustable executive seats offer outstanding comfort.
Mercedes-AMG: the sports-car and performance brand
The AMG brand claim of “Driving Performance” reflects the two core competencies of Mercedes-AMG: the ability to provide an unparalleled driving experience and the ability to serve as a driving force in the high-performance segment. The AMG sports-car brand enhances the fascination of Mercedes-Benz. The brand’s dynamic vehicles especially attract young and sporty customers to the brand with the three-pointed star. AMG models such as the new C 63 Coupe (Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe: fuel consumption in l/100 km urban 11.9-11.4/extra-urban 7.1-6.9/combined 8.9-8.6; CO2 emissions in g/km combined 209-200) differ extensively from their production-model cousins in terms of both engineering and appearance, thus strengthening the authenticity of the AMG brand. Mercedes-AMG is positioning itself even more aggressively as a dynamic sports car and high-performance brand with the GT, a sports car that was developed by Mercedes-AMG completely on its own and clearly demonstrates the innovation and development expertise in Affalterbach. The numerous awards the AMG GT has received since its premiere in 2014 underscore the success of this sports car, which will be used as the basis for an entire model family. True to its philosophy of performance with responsibility, Mercedes-AMG is striving to become even more efficient through new engine technologies and a comprehensive lightweight design approach. AMG models already have some of the lowest emissions in their respective segments.
The smart convertible – the most exclusive way to drive a smart
The new smart fortwo and forfour models, deliveries of which started in Europe in late 2014, were also launched in China, the United States and Japan in the reporting year. Total sales of smart-brand vehicles increased by 31 % to 121,300 units in 2015.
smart fortwo convertible
A third model – the smart convertible – was then launched at the end of 2015. The open-top two-seater celebrated its world premiere in September 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and deliveries began in the first quarter of 2016. The only genuine convertible in its segment, it can transform itself from a closed two-seater into a car with a large foldable roof or a completely open-top convertible with just the push of a button and when traveling at any velocity – even at top speed. The flexibility offered by this “tritop” roof is exceptional in this vehicle segment. We also significantly improved safety features once again and have made the convertible more robust than the coupe in critical areas. Among other things, torsional stiffness has been improved by around 15 % compared with the previous model. As is the case with the smart fortwo, advanced assistance systems previously reserved for more upper-range vehicles have been installed to help prevent accidents. The new smart convertible also makes a big impression with its compact dimensions and unparalleled small turning circle.
Expansion of the global production network
In order to meet the production targets of our 2020 growth strategy, we are continually refining our flexible and highly efficient production network. We have agreed with employee representatives on transformation plans that are currently being implemented at nearly all Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plants in Germany. These plans will ensure the international competitiveness of these facilities and also safeguard jobs at the various locations. The billions of euros we are investing here underscore the importance of our plants in Germany as centers of expertise for global production. We are also expanding our international production capacities. For example, we will start building the C-Class and the GLA compact SUV at a new car plant in Iracemápolis, Brazil, in 2016. In addition, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have laid the cornerstone for a joint production facility in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where Mercedes-Benz compact models will go into production in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz aims for top quality at all production locations and also seeks to ensure it can respond quickly to market fluctuations and changed customer requirements. Within the framework of Industry 4.0, we are working intensely on the creation of “smart factories” that stand out through their resource efficiency, as well as their ability to make rapid adjustments and integrate customers and partners into value creation processes. Connected production systems, a completely digital process chain, the intelligent use of production data and new models for human-machine cooperation will make manufacturing even more flexible and efficient in the future. At the same time, we are optimizing our employees’ workstations on the basis of ergonomic criteria and creating the conditions necessary for successful intergeneration cooperation in our production organization.
Industry 4.0: Digitalisation at Mercedes-Benz
15 new models for the Chinese market
In 2015, we renewed and expanded our range of products for customers in China by offering 15 new or updated model series. Important new products here are the GLA and GLE SUVs, the Mercedes-Maybach and the new smart models. We also added more than 50 new sales outlets to our sales network in China, which now comprises approximately 500 dealerships nationwide. With the start of compact-vehicle production in the form of the GLA, the plant in Beijing has become the only Mercedes-Benz facility in the world to manufacture both front and rear-drive car models, as well as engines, at one site. In October 2015, we began producing an additional volume series – the GLC SUV – for the local market in China. Our new research and development center in China ensures we will be able to address customer requirements in the country in an even more targeted manner in the future. During the year under review, we significantly improved our market position in China, especially in comparison with our main competitors. All in all, we were able to increase sales of Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles by 41 % to 387,400 units, although the overall car market grew at a much slower pace. Additional sales momentum was generated in China by our new SUVs, as well as by the new C-Class, which along with a long-wheelbase variant is now also available in a sporty version with the short wheelbase. A total of 250,200 of the vehicles we sold in China during the reporting year were manufactured locally at facilities operated by our BBAC joint venture (2014: 145,500).
Mercedes-Benz wins numerous awards
The Mercedes-Benz brand once again made a big impression on award juries and readers of various automotive magazines in 2015. The outstanding design of Mercedes-Benz vehicles led to many awards, including three first-place finishes for the CLA Shooting Brake, the GLE coupe and the Mercedes-AMG GT in the Auto Bild Design Award competition – and an impressive sixth consecutive overall victory in this contest. The fact that the most beautiful automobiles are built by Mercedes-Benz is also underscored by awards for the GLE coupe and the Mercedes-AMG GT, as well as the Autonis readers’ design brand of the year award from the magazine auto motor sport. The SUV models from Mercedes-Benz also performed well in award competitions in 2015. The brand’s SUVs were nominated ten times in six categories and came out on top six times. In addition, more than 110,000 readers of auto motor sport chose the S-Class and the C-Class as the best cars of the year in their respective categories. Mercedes-Benz was very successful in the World Car Awards as well. The C-Class took home the coveted title “2015 World Car of the Year” and the S-Class coupe and Mercedes-AMG GT won in their respective categories. Our vehicles also proved their worth once again when it comes to value stability: The S-Class, C-Class, CLA , GLA and smart fortwo cabrio electric drive (smart fortwo cabrio electric drive: electricity consumption in kWh/100 km 15.1; CO2 emissions in g/km 0.0) were named the best vehicles in their respective classes in terms of value stability by Focus Online and the Bähr & Fess Forecast market research institute.
Best Customer Experience
Within the framework of the “Best Customer Experience” marketing and sales strategy, Mercedes-Benz is aligning its sales and marketing organization with changing customer requirements. The goal is to address new target groups while maintaining the brand loyalty of established customers. To this end, Mercedes-Benz is utilizing new sales channels and digital portals as innovative interfaces with the brand. The multichannel approach links different sales formats with digital elements, thereby supplementing the services offered at traditional Mercedes-Benz showrooms. The centerpiece of Best Customer Experience is Mercedes Me. (See www.mercedes me). This platform is also the name of a new chain of stores Mercedes-Benz has opened in inner-city locations. A total of five Mercedes me Stores have opened around the world since 2014. New temporary formats such as special events and pop-up stores have also been created, and more than 1,800 sales employees have received training in the new retail formats. The year 2015 also marked the launch of the ”She’s Mercedes” initiative, which is designed to help Mercedes-Benz address women in a targeted manner and significantly increase its proportion of female customers over the medium term. Along with the provision of a new community and inspiration platform, the initiative also includes networking dinners, training programs for sales personnel and measures to increase the proportion of women in the sales workforce. (See Mercedes me)
Most successful motorsport year in the Company’s history
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS captured both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship in the Formula 1 racing series for the second consecutive year. The key to the team’s success was once again the hybrid drive of the F1 W06 Hybrid championship car – the most efficient and successful drive system in the competition. World champion Lewis Hamilton and second-place finisher Nico Rosberg dominated nearly every Formula 1 race in 2015. Mercedes-Benz was also very successful in the popular German DTM touring car series, in which our driver Pascal Wehrlein became the youngest champion of all time at the tender age of 20. Taking our victories in the Formula 3 European Championship and the ADAC GT Masters into account as well, we succeeded in winning the drivers’ championship in every racing series we took part in last year, something that has never been done before throughout the long history of motorsports at Mercedes-Benz. Our efforts here paid off for Daimler in the form of significant image enhancement and the extensive publicity provided by the races. We can also gain valuable experience with the hybrid technologies and lightweight designs that we use in our motorsports activities, and this experience flows into our series development and production operations.
Further reduction of CO2 emissions
Our new engines and extremely fuel-efficient model variants enabled us to substantially reduce the average CO2 emissions of the cars we sold in the European Union in 2015 – from 129 grams per kilometer to 123 g/km. This means we have achieved our 2016 target of 125 g/km ahead of schedule. That achievement was made possible in large part by our new compact-class models, the new and significantly more economical C-Class models and our efficient hybrid drive systems. (See Environmental protection)