Business development

Unit sales

Daimler significantly increased its total unit sales in the year 2015, as had been forecast in Annual Report 2014. Sales of approximately 2.9 million vehicles surpassed the prior-year figure by 12 %. This growth was mainly driven by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division (+16 %) and to a lesser extent by the Mercedes-Benz Vans division (+9 %). The forecasts made at the beginning of the year were therefore confirmed. At Daimler Trucks, growth of just over 1 % was lower than we had originally anticipated, primarily due to the weak condition of markets in Latin America and Indonesia. Unit sales of buses, which we had expected to increase slightly at the beginning of the year, were significantly below the prior-year level. This was mainly the result of the very weak markets for bus chassis in Latin America.

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division once again accelerated along its growth path in 2015, with 16 % growth in unit sales to the new record of 2,001,400 vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz brand increased its unit sales by 15 % to a record of 1,880,100 vehicles. We are the number one in the premium segment in Germany as well as in Canada and Japan. We also significantly improved our position in China.

In Western Europe, Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 678,200 vehicles, surpassing the prior-year number by 11 %. Growth was particularly strong in Spain (+24 %), the United Kingdom (+17 %) and Italy (+16 %). But also in Germany, we increased our unit sales by 4 % to 259,200 vehicles. Unit sales in NAFTA continued to develop positively, with new records set in the United States (+5 %) as well as in Canada (+23 %) and Mexico (+10 %). In China, we achieved growth of 41 % – considerably stronger than the overall market and our main competitors. We posted significant growth also in Japan (+13 %), South Korea (+30 %), India (+31 %), Brazil (+67 %) and Turkey (+35 %).

The increase in unit sales was primarily driven by the C-Class and the new SUVs. But with growth of 10 %, there was a continuation of strong demand also for our A- and B-Class models: Including the CLA and the CLA Shooting Brake, a total of 425,000 of those models were delivered. Our C-Class models were especially successful, with 38 % growth to sales of 470,400 sedans, wagons and coupes. The E-Class performed very well in its last year before the model change with sales of 306,000 units (- 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). In the SUV segment, worldwide unit sales increased by 27 % to 543,000 vehicles, primarily driven by the new GLC and GLE models and the success of the GLA in China. (See graphic B.07)

B.07 Unit sales Mercedes Benz Cars

With the new and very successful fortwo and forfour models, the smart brand increased its unit sales by 31 % to 121,300 vehicles. (See Mercedes-Benz Cars)

Daimler Trucks increased its unit sales by 1 % in 2015 in a regionally very disparate market environment. We sold a total of 502,500 heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks as well as buses of the Thomas Built Buses and FUSO brands in the year under review (2014: 495,700), so we continue to be the biggest global manufacturer of trucks above 6 metric tons gross vehicle weight. (See graphic B.08) Our strategy based on the three pillars of technology leadership, global market presence and intelligent platforms proved its worth once again in 2015. We have taken a leading role for autonomously driving trucks. In the new markets, we are increasing our customer focus and thus further strengthening our position.

B.08 Unit sales Daimler Trucks

In Western Europe, we increased our unit sales by 13 % to 64,800 vehicles and defended our market leadership in the medium- and heavy-duty segment with a market share of 22.5 % (2014: 24.4 %). As a result of purchases being brought forward before the stricter Euro VI standard came into effect in 2016, the high level of unit sales achieved in Turkey in 2014 was surpassed with sales of 24,900 trucks in 2015 (2014: 22,200). Nonetheless, sales became significantly less dynamic in the second half of the year. In Russia, the continuation of the difficult economic situation led to a significant drop in demand. (See table  B.09)

B.09 Market share1

  2015 2014 15/14
In %     Change in % points
       
Mercedes-Benz Cars      
Western Europe 6.0 5.5 +0.5
thereof Germany 10.1 9.7 +0.4
United States 2.0 2.1 -0.1
China 1.9 1.5 +0.4
Japan 1.6 1.3 +0.3
       
Daimler Trucks      
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks Western Europe 22.5 24.4 -1.9
thereof Germany 36.9 39.8 -2.9
Heavy-duty trucks NAFTA region (Class 8) 39.3 35.9 +3.4
Medium-duty trucks NAFTA region (Classes 6 and 7) 39.7 40.3 -0.6
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks Brazil 26.7 25.8 +0.9
Trucks Japan 20.8 20.1 +0.7
Trucks Indonesia 48.0 47.4 +0.6
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks India 7.3 6.2 +1.1
       
Mercedes-Benz Vans      
Mid-size and large vans Western Europe 18.4 18.2 +0.2
thereof Germany 27.1 26.5 +0.6
Small vans Western Europe 3.1 3.2 -0.1
Large vans USA 8.7 8.9 -0.2
       
Daimler Buses      
Buses over 8 metric tons Western Europe 30.9 34.4 -3.5
thereof Germany 49.3 57.1 -7.8
Buses over 8 metric tons Brazil 52.5 49.7 +2.8

1 Based on estimates in certain markets.

In Latin America, Daimler Trucks’ unit sales decreased by 35 % to 30,500 vehicles, primarily due to the economic crisis in our main market there, Brazil. Nonetheless, we succeeded in increasing our market share in the medium- and heavy-duty segment in Brazil to 26.7 % (2014: 25.8 %).

In the NAFTA region, we were once again the market leader for Class 6-8 medium- and heavy-duty trucks by a clear margin, and actually extended our lead to gain a share of 39.4 % (2014: 37.2 %). Unit sales rose by 19 % to the record number of 191,900 vehicles. This performance was facilitated by our outstanding product portfolio and the favorable market development.

The Asian sales markets developed disparately in 2015. We increased our unit sales and gained market share in both Japan and India. The product portfolio of BharatBenz was expanded once again last year with the BharatBenz 3143, which is designed for use in mining and on construction sites. Our unit sales in Indonesia decreased significantly, but we increased our market share to 48.0 % (2014: 47.4 %). In total, we sold 147,700 trucks in Asia (2014: 167,200).

Through Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), a joint venture with our Chinese partner Foton, we are represented in the Chinese truck market with locally produced vehicles of the Auman brand. Unit sales of Auman trucks decreased by 30 % to 69,200 vehicles in the reporting period for market-related reasons. These vehicles are not included in the Daimler Group’s unit sales. (See Daimler Trucks)

Mercedes-Benz Vans once again achieved record unit sales in the year 2015, surpassing the prior-year figure by 9 % with sales of 321,000 vehicles. Our Sprinter, Vito and Citan vans are targeted mainly at commercial customers, while the V-Class is designed primarily for private use. Unit sales in Western Europe, our most important market, rose by 10 % to 208,500 vans; market leadership for mid-size and large vans was clearly defended with a share of 18.4 % (2014: 18.2 %). Nearly all volume markets contributed to this success, and in Germany we achieved a new record of 88,400 vehicles (2014: 79,900). Despite a difficult market environment due to the economic situation, unit sales in Eastern Europe increased by 5 % to 32,200 vehicles. Our vans continued their success in the United States, where we set a new record with sales of 32,400 units (2014: 25,800). Our share of the market for large vans was 8.7 % (2014: 8.9 %). In Latin America, we sold 15,800 vans, almost equaling the number sold in the previous year despite the difficult economic situation there. In China, sales decreased significantly to 7,200 units (2014: 12,800), mainly because of the upcoming model change for the mid-size vans. Overall, we sold the record number of 194,200 Sprinter vans worldwide in 2015 (+4 %). The Vito achieved growth of 23 % to 74,400 vehicles and the V-Class multipurpose vehicle was also very successful with sales of 30,700 vehicles (+20 %). Sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan totaled 21,700 units (2014: 22,100). (See Mercedes-Benz Vans)

Daimler Buses sold 28,100 buses and bus chassis worldwide in 2015. Compared with the previous year, this was a significant decrease of 15 %, but the division maintained its absolute market leadership in our core markets in the segment for buses with a gross vehicle weight above 8 tons. One positive aspect was the ongoing strong demand for our complete buses in Western Europe, where unit sales increased by 3 % to 7,800 vehicles and market share once again reached a very high level of 30.9 %, following the record level of 34.4 % in 2014. In Germany, sales of 2,800 units were 3 % lower than in the previous year, which was positively affected by unusually high demand for city buses in the first half of 2014. In Latin America, we posted a significant decrease in sales to 11,900 units (2014: 17,600). This development was mainly due to the significant market slump caused by the ongoing difficult economic situation, which particularly affected Brazil, our most important market. Nonetheless, we were able to strengthen significantly our leading market position in Brazil with a market share of 52.5 % (2014: 49.7 %). In Mexico, the number of 4,000 units sold was 9 % higher than in 2014. (See Daimler Buses)

Business at Daimler Financial Services developed very positively in the year under review. As we had forecast in Annual Report 2014, worldwide contract volume grew substantially, reaching the new record level of €116.7 billion (+18 %). Adjusted for exchange rate effects, the increase amounted to 14 %. As expected, new business also increased significantly, by 21 % to €57.9 billion. Significant growth was achieved in Europe (+14 %) as well as in the Americas region (+21 %) and in the Africa & Asia-Pacific region (+39 %). We achieved significant growth also in the insurance business in 2015, brokering a total of 1.8 million insurance policies, which is 25 % more than in 2014. Daimler Financial Services supported numerous companies with the financing and management of their vehicles and fleets last year. At the end of 2015, the division had a total of 310,000 contracts with fleet customers in Europe (+1.5 %). We further developed our business with innovative mobility services in the year under review. Our car-sharing service, car2go, had more than 1.2 million users at 31 locations in Europe and North America by the end of the year. This makes car2go the market leader in the area of flexible short-term car rentals. We also further developed the moovel app, with which customers in Germany can find the best way of traveling from A to B using all modes of transport, and can directly book and pay providers such as car2go, Flinkster, mytaxi and Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). At the beginning of the third quarter, RideScout, another Daimler-owned mobility platform in North America, acquired the US startup GlobeSherpa, an upcoming US provider in the field of mobile ticketing. (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. In doing so, we flexibly adjust production numbers to changing levels of demand. Overall, the order situation of the Daimler Group continued to develop very positively in 2015. Due to strong demand in the United States and China in particular, the number of orders placed with Mercedes-Benz Cars was once again above the high level of orders recorded in the previous year. This was driven on the product side primarily by the models of the C-Class and the very successful new SUVs. Due to the positive development of demand, we significantly increased our production volumes. Nonetheless, the order backlog at the end of 2015 was higher than a year before. At Daimler Trucks, both orders received and order backlog at year-end were lower than the high levels of the prior-year, which was positively affected above all by the exceptionally high volume of orders received in the NAFTA region in the fourth quarter. Another factor is that orders in 2015 were negatively impacted by falling demand in Indonesia and Latin America.

B.10 Consolidated revenue by region

Revenue

The Daimler Group increased its total revenue in the year 2015 by 15 % to €149.5 billion; adjusted for exchange rate effects, the increase amounted to 9 %. This means that, as we had expected at the beginning of 2015, our dynamic growth accelerated further thanks to the success of our new vehicle models. The divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars (+14 %), Daimler Trucks (+16 %) Mercedes- Benz Vans (+15 %) and Daimler Financial Services (+19 %) all increased their business volumes significantly. The factors behind this strong growth were the market success of our products, as well as exchange-rate effects especially at Daimler Trucks and Daimler Financial Services. At Daimler Buses, revenue was 2 % lower than in the previous year. This was due to the negative impact of the market situation in Latin America, which was even more unfavorable than expected at the beginning of the year.

In regional terms, Daimler achieved revenue growth in Western Europe (+13 % to €49.6 billion), the NAFTA region (+25 % to €47.7 billion) and Asia (+15 % to €33.7 billion).

B.11 Revenue by division

  2015 2014 15/14
In millions of euros     % change
       
Daimler Group 149,467 129,872 +15
Mercedes-Benz Cars 83,809 73,584 +14
Daimler Trucks 37,578 32,389 +16
Mercedes-Benz Vans 11,473 9,968 +15
Daimler Buses 4,113 4,218 -2
Daimler Financial Services 18,962 15,991 +19
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