Daimler AG is sticking to its sales target of at least 1.3 million Smart-brand vehicles and Mercedes-Benz in 2011 versus the 1.28 million deliveries recorded last year, Dieter Zetsche, the company’s chief executive office said at the Daimler Annual Shareholders Meeting in Berlin.
Despite the earthquake that devastated Japan and disrupted operations of automakers worldwide, the company is not revising its forecast of higher earnings for this year, as it sees sales potential in its revamped SLK roadster and the updated Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.
Zetsche informed investors that as of the moment, there are no signs that the economy worldwide will be disrupted in the long run.
He also stated that the company expects that the automotive markets worldwide will continue to expand, despite the disaster in Japan as well as the political unrest in North Africa. The company emphasized that its 2011 operating profit will greatly exceed the 7.2 billion euros ($10.4 billion) earned in 2010.
The company recorded a net income of 4.5 billion euros last year, which is its highest profit ever since 2002. Daimler shareholders will vote Wednesday on a 1.85-euros-per-share dividend for last year, wherein payout was dropped after the company had a net loss. Mercedes-Benz, which saw a sales growth of 12 percent in the first three months of 2011, has updated the best-selling C Class with cleaner engines and new interiors.
It has also revamped the hard-top SLK roadster. Mercedes-Benz is set to launch a revamped M-Class SUV this year, and a new B-Class compact -- the first of a range of four compact cars. The company is aiming to hit sales of 1.5 million Mercedes-Benz cars by 2015, a 17 percent increase from 2010. The company is building a new plant in Hungary to accommodate its line of compact vehicles.