As the latest models of the E-class and S-class sedans are expected to attract more consumers, Daimler AG set a target to raise deliveries twice as quickly as this year's global auto-market growth rate. Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, aims to close the gap between itself and BMW, the luxury-car market leader.
Daimler also is trying to stifle an attempt by Audi to be the world's biggest high-end automaker by 2015. At the annual shareholders meeting in Berlin, CEO Dieter Zetsche said that its global sales target for the year is "ambitious but realistic." The increase in sales included a forecasted 50% rise in sales of the E class, including sedan, station wagon, coupe, and convertible versions.
Last February, Daimler had said that carmakers' deliveries will go up 3% to 4% this year. Zetsche didn't indicate what Daimler's car-sales target was for 2010.
Daimler is targeting earnings before interest and taxes of at least 2.3 billion euros ($3.1 billion) this year after an Ebit loss of 1.51 billion euros in 2009. The manufacturer stuck to a forecast that revenue in 2010 will surpass last year's 78.9 billion euros but be "significantly" lower than the 98.5 billion euros of 2008.
Zetsche claimed that the global economy is "too fragile" to permit Daimler to commit to a timeframe for increasing the automaking division's Ebit as a proportion of sales to 9%. BMW had reaffirmed a target last month of getting an Ebit margin in carmaking of at least 8% by 2012.
On April 6, it was announced that sales at the Mercedes-Benz Cars division, which includes the Smart minicar and Maybach luxury nameplates, increased by 11% to 271,200 vehicles in the first quarter.
Daimler said that Mercedes-Benz brand sales surged by nearly 27% in the period. This increase includes the deliveries made to dealers. The sales increase was partly attributed to a boost of more than two-thirds for the top-of-the-line S-Class.