Business development

Unit sales. As previously announced, Daimler further increased its unit sales in 2012. Sales of 2.2 million vehicles were 4% higher than in 2011. Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks were responsible for the growth, while the Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses divisions did not match their unit sales of the prior year.

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division continued along its growth path in 2012 with a new unit-sales record of 1,451,600 vehicles (2011: 1,381,400). The Mercedes-Benz brand also increased its unit sales with growth of 5% to the new record of 1,345,800 vehicles. This allowed us to improve our position in numerous markets. The S-Class sedans, the M-Class, the CLK and the C-Class coupe are global leaders in their respective market segments. As a result of our new and attractive SUV models, our unit sales in the SUV segment grew by 16% to 295,400 vehicles. In the S-Class segment we achieved the previous year’s level with sales of 80,700 units, and in the C-Class segment we increased our unit sales by 3% to 425,000 units. For lifecycle reasons, unit sales in the E-Class segment decreased to 313,600 vehicles (-8%). Despite the model change of the A-Class in September 2012, we increased our unit sales in the compact-car segment by 20% to 231,100 vehicles. This was primarily due to strong sales of the B-Class. The market launch of the new A-Class was extremely successful. In fact, more than 70,000 orders had already been received by the time the model went on sale in September 2012. (See graphic 3.06)

Daimler AR2012 Unit sales Mercedes Benz Cars

Despite a partially difficult market environment, we were able to increase our unit sales in many markets. In Germany, Mercedes-Benz defended its position as the most successful premium brand with shipments of 261,100 vehicles (2011: 262,300). In Western Europe (excluding Germany), we were able to improve our position in nearly all markets. Total unit sales of 300,100 vehicles exceeded the prior-year level by nearly 5% despite weak markets in the countries of Southern Europe. In the United States, we set a new record with unit sales of 289,300 vehicles (+17%). And in China, retail sales rose by 1% to the new record of 196,200 vehicles. In order to optimize the inventories of our Chinese sale partners, we reduced unit sales, i.e. shipments to our dealer network, by 9%. Unit sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were particularly dynamic in Japan (+37%), Russia (+27%), Mexico (+27%), Switzerland (+23%) and the United Kingdom (+20%).

We sold a total of 105,700 smart fortwo cars in 2012, an increase of 6% compared with the prior year. The smart fortwo was particularly successful in the United States, Canada, Japan and China. (See Mercedes-Benz Cars)

Daimler Trucks was able to increase its unit sales by 9% in 2012, although the market environment worsened significantly in the second half of the year. In total, we shipped 462,000 heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks as well as buses of the Thomas Built Buses and Fuso brands, thus continuing as the biggest producer of trucks above 6 metric tons gross vehicle weight with a global reach. (See graphic 3.07) This growth was primarily driven by the NAFTA region and Asian markets, while unit sales decreased slightly in Western Europe and significantly in Latin America. Due to the sovereign-debt crisis and the resulting unwillingness to buy, our unit sales in Western Europe decreased by 6% to 58,000 vehicles. But we performed well compared with our competitors: We once again improved our market share in the medium and heavy segments in the region of Western Europe as well as in Germany, our domestic market, thus reinforcing our market leadership. In Latin America, the introduction of stricter emission limits in Brazil, our main market, and the weak state of the overall economy led to a sharp decrease in unit sales to 46,200 vehicles (2011: 61,900).

Daimler AR2012 Unit sales Daimler Trucks

In the NAFTA region, we achieved growth in unit sales of 18% to 135,000 vehicles despite a considerably weaker second half of the year. There was a positive impact from the high need to replace older vehicles, but many truck customers postponed their purchase decisions in the second half of the year due to the worsened economic outlook. In total we increased our market share in the NAFTA region for medium and heavy trucks of Classes 6 to 8 to 34%, thus strengthening our leading competitive position. (See table 3.08)


Market share1
  2012 2011 12/11
In %   Change in %-points
Mercedes-Benz Cars      
Western Europe 5.3 5,0 +0.3
thereof Germany 10.1 9.9 +0.2
United States 2.0 1.9 +0.1
China 1.4 1.4 +0.0
Japan 0.9 0.9 +0.0
Daimler Trucks      
Medium and heavy trucks Western Europe 22.9 22.3 +0.6
thereof Germany 39.2 37.5 +1.7
Heavy trucks NAFTA region (Class 8) 32.9 30.9 +2.0
Medium trucks NAFTA region (Classes 6 and 7) 36.9 34.1 +2.8
Medium and heavy trucks Brazil 25.5 25.2 +0.3
Trucks Japan 20.4 20.8 -0.4
Mercedes-Benz Vans      
Medium and large vans Western Europe 18.1 18.0 +0.1
thereof Germany 26.7 28.1 -1.4
Daimler Buses      
Buses over 8 metric tons Western Europe 28.3 27.0 +1,3
thereof Germany 48.9 50.0 -1,1
Buses over 8 metric tons Latin America 42.7 43.0 -0,3
1 Based on estimates in certain markets

In Asia, Daimler Trucks sold 163,700 vehicles, which is 21% more than in 2011. Demand for trucks in Japan continued to be boosted by reconstruction activities after the natural disaster in the prior year. We not only increased our unit sales by 30% in Japan, we also improved our market share for heavy trucks. The development of unit sales was also very positive in Indonesia (+10%). In India, we shipped the first trucks of the new BharatBenz brand in September; 1.100 vehicles had already been sold by the end of the year. (See Daimler Trucks)

In 2012, Mercedes-Benz Vans sold 252,400 vans of the Sprinter, Vito, Viano, Vario models - and since autumn also of the new Citan city van (2011: 264,200). Against the backdrop of the European sovereign-debt crisis and a challenging market environment, unit sales decreased by 8% to 164,900 vehicles in Western Europe, our most important sales market. Demand in the Western European volume markets in particular did not match the high level of 2011. Unit sales in Germany decreased by 8% to 71,100 vehicles after record unit sales in the previous year. The positive development of business continued in Eastern Europe, where we increased our unit sales by 6% to 24,000 vehicles. As in the prior year, the Sprinter continued its success in the United States, with growth of 19% to 21,500 vehicles and the best-ever market share of 8.3%. Due to the newgeneration Sprinter, unit sales also developed positively in Latin America, where sales of 14,000 vans were 2% above the prior-year level. In China, however, the negative development of the market for premium vans continued and unit sales reached only 8,800 vehicles (2011: 13,500). In total, we sold 159,000 units of the Sprinter (2011: 163,300), 83,700 of the Vito and Viano (2011: 98,000), and 2,700 of the Vario (2011: 2,900). 7,100 units of the new Citan city van were sold. Despite the difficult environment, Mercedes-Benz Vans was able to defend its market share of 18.1% in the segment of medium and large vans in Western Europe. (See Mercedes-Benz Vans)

With unit sales of 32,100 complete buses and bus chassis (2011: 39,700), Daimler Buses did not reach the prior-year level, but defended its position as market leader in its core markets in the segment for buses above 8 metric tons. The main reason for the decrease in unit sales was the negative development of sales of bus chassis in Latin America. Especially in Brazil, the region’s most important bus market, our unit sales fell as expected due to the introduction of the stricter Euro V emission standards. In Western Europe, the sovereign-debt crisis had a dampening effect on customer demand; nonetheless, unit sales of 5,900 vehicles were at the prior-year level. Daimler Buses thus succeeded in further strengthening its leading position in Western Europe with a market share of 28.3% (2011: 27.0%). 3.08 In Latin America, sales of bus chassis under the Mercedes-Benz brand decreased by 29% to 17,800 units. With a market share of 42.7% (2011: 43.0%), the division clearly defended its leading market position in Latin America. In a stable Mexican market, we sold 3,500 units. Unit sales in the NAFTA region fell due to the discontinuation of sales of Orion city buses. (See Daimler Buses)

The business of Daimler Financial Services continued to develop positively in the year under review. New business and contract volume both reached new record levels. Worldwide contract volume increased by 12% to €80.0 billion. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, there was an increase of 13%. New business increased compared with the prior year by 14% to €38.1 billion. Nearly all regions contributed to this expansion, with particularly high growth rates in Asia. Last August, we became the first premium automaker to offer leasing products in China. In India, we successfully started the financing business for BharatBenz, Daimler’s new locally produced truck brand. In November 2012, we launched vehicle financing also in Malaysia. In the insurance business, we brokered more policies in 2012 than ever before: The number of policies concluded increased by 13% to approximately 1,100,000. In the area of mobility services, our innovative car2go car-sharing concept is meanwhile represented in 18 cities in Europe and North America; last year, it more than quadrupled its customer base to approximately 270,000 customers. (See Daimler Financial Services)

Order situation. The Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses divisions produce vehicles predominantly to order in accordance with customers’ specifications. While doing so, we flexibly adjust the production numbers to changing levels of demand. Mainly as a result of strong demand in the United States and in various emerging markets, the volume of orders received by Mercedes-Benz Cars in 2012 exceeded the high prior-year level, despite the negative impact of the European debt crisis. On the product side, this was primarily due to the models of the new compact class and the ongoing strong success of our SUVs. As a result of growing demand, we increased our production volumes, but the order backlog at the end of the year was still slightly higher than a year earlier. Orders received by Daimler Trucks decreased in the second half of the year due to the weakening of the world economy. The total number of orders received in 2012 was therefore lower than in the prior year, although we adjusted production volumes to the reduced demand in the second half of the year.

Revenue. The Daimler Group increased its total revenue in the year 2012 by 7% to €114.3 billion; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, there was an increase of 4%. This means that the positive business development of 2011 continued, as we had expected at the beginning of 2012, although growth impetus became weaker towards the end of the year. Revenue grew by 7% to €61.7 billion at Mercedes-Benz Cars and by 9% to €31.4 billion at Daimler Trucks. Mercedes-Benz Vans’ revenue of €9.1 billion was slightly lower than the prior-year level, while Daimler Buses’ revenue decreased by 11% to €3.9 billion. At the Daimler Financial Services division, revenue rose by 12% to €13.6 billion. (See table 3.10)


Revenue by division
  2012 2011 12/11
In millions of euros     % change
Daimler Group 114,297 106,540 +7
Mercedes-Benz Cars 61,660 57,410 +7
Daimler Trucks 31,389 28,751 +9
Mercedes-Benz Vans 9,070 9,179 -1
Daimler Buses 3,929 4,418 -11
Daimler Financial Services 13,550 12,080 +12

In regional terms, Daimler achieved revenue growth in the NAFTA region (+23% to 31.9 billion). (See graphic 3.09) But we also increased our revenue in Asia (+11% to €25.1 billion) and Eastern Europe (+8% to €6.9 billion). The business volume of €39.4 billion in Western Europe was at the prior-year level; this development was reflected in both Germany and the other markets of Western Europe in aggregate. In general, the regional distribution of Daimler’s revenue has altered significantly in recent years in favor of new markets. We now generate 36% of our business in markets outside the United States, Western Europe and Japan. That proportion was just 28% in 2008.

Daimler AR2012 Consolidated revenue by region