Mercedes-Benz Cars will continue its “Mercedes-Benz 2020” growth strategy in 2016. Overall, we intend to significantly increase our unit sales and thus reach a new record level. This is based on our very attractive and young model portfolio, which we will expand with some additional new products. The diversity of models is greater than ever before and the attractiveness of the Mercedes-Benz brand has been significantly enhanced. This allows us to continually establish new concepts for individual customer communication, and thus to address new markets and younger target groups. In line with its “Best Customer Experience” sales and marketing strategy, Mercedes-Benz is focusing even more on the wishes and requirements of women. The new, holistic initiative is centered on the “She’s Mercedes” inspiration platform.
Our new models will supply major growth impetus also in the year 2016. In 2015, the “year of the SUVS,” the Mercedes-Benz brand renewed almost its full range of SUVs with four new or upgraded models. In March 2016, the new generation of the luxurious GLS SUV will be in the showrooms as the successor to the GL. We anticipate additional growth impetus from the new E-Class in 2016. Mercedes-Benz is taking a further step along the way to accident-free and autonomous driving with the world’s most intelligent business sedan. And our new dream cars such as the C-Class coupe and the S-Class convertible, as well as the new SL and SLC generations, will also contribute towards the ongoing success of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Furthermore, we will launch some more plug-in hybrid models in 2016, which combine outstanding driving performance with the fuel consumption of a small car. Vehicles with plug-in hybrid technology are an important component of our strategy for emission-free driving. For this reason, we will successively increase the number of models with plug-in hybrid drive systems in the coming months. In 2017, a total of ten Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid models will be on the market.
We expect significant growth in unit sales also from the smart brand in 2016. This will be assisted by the new smart fortwo convertible, which had its world premiere at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Delivery of the first cars of this model will start in March 2016. And in the summer, the new BRABUS models of the fortwo and forfour with a sporty profile and more powerful engines will be in the showrooms.
From a regional perspective, we expect the Asian markets to be particularly strong growth drivers of our growth in unit sales in 2016. In the year 2015, China was for the first time the biggest sales market for Mercedes-Benz. Following strong growth of 41 % in 2015, we intend to expand further in 2016, above all with the models that we produce locally. But our growth rate in China will be more moderate this year. Last year, we expanded the dealer network to approximately 500 dealerships. Our local production capacities were also expanded. In addition to the C- and E-Class, production of two SUV models (the GLA and the GLC) started in 2015. We will achieve further growth with our new models also in North America, and we intend to profit to an above-average degree from the ongoing revival of demand expected for Western Europe.
Daimler Trucks anticipates unit sales in 2016 at the level of the previous year. We expect to sell slightly more vehicles in Western Europe than in 2015. In Turkey, however, a significant decrease in unit sales is likely, mainly due to purchases brought forward to 2015 because of the Euro VI emissions standard that came into effect also in Turkey at the beginning of 2016.
In Brazil, we anticipate a further drop in vehicle deliveries following last year’s market slump. The lack of economic growth and unfavorable financing conditions are likely to impact our business also in 2016. For the sustained strengthening of Daimler Trucks’ competitiveness in Brazil, we will invest approximately €500 million by 2018 in tailored products, innovative technologies and the optimization of our production network.
In the NAFTA region, we expect unit sales below the high level of the previous year in a contracting market. With our modern product range in combination with the strong components of our Detroit brand, we can ideally satisfy our customers’ requirements and safeguard our market leadership. We assume, that we will increase the proportion of our own engines and transmissions installed in the trucks sold.
In Japan and Indonesia, unit sales are likely to be of the same magnitude as in 2015. In India, we should increase our unit sales with our very well-positioned product portfolio. And we will generate additional unit sales in Asia and Africa with the expanded range of FUSO vehicles produced in India.
Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to achieve significant growth in unit sales in 2016. We anticipate significant increases in sales of vans in Europe, our core market. In the context of our strategy for the division, “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global,” we launched the Vito also in North America and Latin America in 2015. This will stimulate additional demand in those markets also in 2016. And we aim to achieve additional growth with the Sprinter, which we will produce also in North America in the future. Furthermore, we will launch the V-Class multipurpose vehicle and the Vito commercial van in China, thus expanding our presence in the market segments we address there.
Daimler Buses assumes that it will be able to defend its market leadership in its core markets for buses above 8 tons with innovative and high-quality new products. For the year 2016, we anticipate total unit sales at the prior-year level. This is based on the assumption of moderate growth in unit sales in Europe. Following the significant decrease in Brazil in 2015, we expect another fall in unit sales in 2016. An ongoing positive development of unit sales is expected in Mexico.
Daimler Financial Services aims to achieve further growth in the coming years. For the year 2016, we anticipate slight growth in new business and further growth in contract volume. This will be driven by the growth offensives of the automotive divisions. In addition, we are utilizing new market potential especially in Asia, and applying new and digital possibilities for customer contacts – in particular by systematically further developing our online sales channels. We see good growth opportunities also in the field of innovative mobility services, where we are active with the brands car2go, moovel, Ridescout and mytaxi, as well as with investments in the companies Blacklane and MeinFernbus FlixBus.
On the basis of our assumptions concerning the development of automotive markets and the divisions’ planning, we expect the Daimler Group to achieve further significant growth in total unit sales in 2016. However, the rate of growth is likely to be rather lower than in 2015, which featured exceptional dynamism.