Daimler logged a 45-percent increase in earnings before interest and taxes in the fourth quarter of 2013 to EUR2.53 billion ($3.42 billion), thanks to strong demand for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA and revamped S-class flagship sedan. The carmaker posted a 7.6-percent rise in revenues to EUR32.1 billion in the period.
Daimler expects to log a "significant" hike in 2014 operating profit from continuing operations as boosted by strong demand for the new GLA compact SUV and redesigned C-class sedan, which will be rolled out in Europe this spring.
The carmaker saw its vehicle sales grow faster than Audi in the final months of 2013 and in the whole year against BMW. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche is aiming to have Mercedes retake the crown as the best-selling luxury car brand by 2020.
"Daimler is improving in the areas where they previously lagged behind, and their strategy seems to work," Daniel Schwarz, an analyst with Commerzbank, told Automotive News.
"It's not all down to the new models, Daimler is also making progress at reducing costs." Daimler is currently in the midst of a two-year bid to cut spending by EUR2 billion at its carmaking division. Daimler’s “Fit for Leadership” program, set to conclude at the end of 2014, entails cutting material costs, tightening production efficiency and using funds more flexibly.
According to Zetsche, the program was ahead of schedule and may surpass the original target. Mercedes will launch next month a new version of the C-class sedan as well as the GLA, a new compact SUV. Mercedes will also launch an electric version of the B-class compact in the US, and introduce a coupe variant of the S class.