(Jan 9): Growth in Mercedes-Benz car deliveries tumbled to the lowest in a decade last year in a swift reversal from double-digit gains after sales in Europe and North America declined.
Daimler AG’s luxury brand delivered 2.31 million cars worldwide in 2018, a rise of just 0.9 percent almost entirely driven by China. The small uptick probably was still enough to leave second-biggest premium carmaker BMW AG trailing for another year, after Mercedes gained the upper hand in 2016.
Automakers had a tough second half last year. U.S.-China trade tension escalated, prompting Daimler to warn of lower profits, while stricter emission rules in the European Union created production bottlenecks. Chief Executive Officer-designate Ola Kallenius, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday, has little time to lose to make his mark. Daimler’s shares have slumped some 33 percent from a year ago, adding fuel to investors urging deeper changes than a planned separation of the business into three independent entities. Economic jitters are undermining consumer confidence. Car registrations in the U.K., Europe’s second-biggest market, slumped 6.8 percent, the steepest drop since the financial crisis. Rising interest rates in the U.S. and higher vehicles prices are turning off buyers. Mercedes will start selling the revamped CLA in May. The four-door coupe is a key model to lure younger customers from other brands. Launched in the U.S. six years ago, more than two-thirds of buyers at its peak came from competitors.
Global Auto Sales to be Down in 2019, Morgan Stanley Says Daimler Sees Fourth-Quarter Rebound After Two Outlook Cuts Daimler Drops to Five-Year Low After Second 2018 Profit Warning. - Bloomberg