Daimler AG expects first-quarter vehicle sales to increase significantly after its January-February 2011 sales rose 16.6% compared to the same period a year ago. Joachim Schmidt, the sales chief of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars group, said that it had a strong start for the new year and that sales “continued to develop positively” in February.
Daimler is on track to achieve its full-year target of posting record vehicle sales this year, surpassing the 2007 level of 1.293 million cars.
In February, unit sales rose by 10.0%, with a 10.3% increase in sales of Mercedes-Benz branded cars. Sales of Smart brand cars rose by 6.6%.
Daimler posted a 2010 fourth-quarter profit margin of 8.3%, from reporting 9.5% in the third quarter, as the company raised the Mercedes-Benz unit's development spending by 15% to 3.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion.)
In February, Daimler CEODieter Zetsche said that its growth in 2011 will be constrained by factory limits instead of demand.
Delivery times for build-to-order cars in Germany have increased to almost 13 weeks on average compared with the usual eight-week waiting period. Last February, Daimler revealed plans to expand its global work force by 10,000 people this year. About 4,000 of these new positions will be in Germany. [via reuters]