Business development

Unit sales. As was previously forecast in the Annual Report 2013, Daimler recorded a substantial overall increase in unit sales in 2014. Sales of more than 2.5 million vehicles were 8% higher than in the prior year. This growth was largely driven by Mercedes-Benz Cars (+10%) and Mercedes-Benz Vans (+9%). These divisions thus enabled the Group to fulfill the forecasts it made at the beginning of the year. The 2% increase in unit sales at Daimler Trucks was lower than we originally expected, mainly due to the weak state of the markets in Western Europe and Latin America. At the beginning of the year, we expected to see a significant increase in bus sales. However, unit sales for full-year 2014 were slightly below the prior-year level. This development was primarily caused by the weakness of Latin American markets, which we did not foresee at the beginning of 2014.

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division once again posted a new record with unit sales of 1,722,600 vehicles in the year under review (2013: 1,565,600). Our very positive overall business development throughout the year was largely due to the launch of several new and attractive products. The Mercedes-Benz brand increased its unit sales by 11% to the record level of 1,630,100 vehicles in 2014. We significantly improved our position in China in particular, as well as gaining market share in various regions.

In Europe, Mercedes-Benz performed very well overall in a volatile market environment. Particularly strong growth was recorded in Spain (+35%), the UK (+13%) and in France (+9%). Sales in Western Europe were up 6% from the prior year, although sales in Germany did fall slightly by 2%. With unit sales of 334,000 (+8%), Mercedes-Benz sold more vehicles in the United States than ever before. Growth accelerated in China, where sales rose by 25% to 275,000 units. We also recorded significant sales increases in Japan (+15%), India (+14%) and Brazil (+6%).

Our sales growth was driven primarily by the S-Class, our compact models and the new C-Class models. A total of 471,700 customers (+23%) opted to buy a vehicle from the A-Class, B-Class, CLA-Class or new GLA-Class series during the year under review. E-Class vehicles also remained very popular; sales of 329,000 units of that model almost equaled the prior-year figure. Mercedes-Benz also further strengthened its leading position in the global market for luxury vehicles. A total of 125,100 cars were sold in the S-Class segment (+75%) during the year under review-more than ever before in the long history of that model series. Business with our SUVs also developed very positively, with sales of these models increasing to the record level of 341,500 vehicles (+6%). The C-Class models also performed extremely well in a year marked by a model changeover. Unit sales totaled 362,700 automobiles (+2%) although the new C-Class was not available in all core markets until October 2014. (See graphic B.07)

Daimler AR2014 B.07 Unit sales Mercedes Benz Cars

With sales of 92,500 units (-6%), developments at smart during the model changeover year remained relatively stable. (See Mercedes-Benz Cars)

Daimler Trucks was able to slightly increase its unit sales in a market environment that differed greatly from region to region in 2014. Deliveries of heavy, medium and light-duty trucks, as well as buses of the Thomas Built Buses and FUSO brands, totaled 495,700 units in the year under review (2013: 484,200). We thus achieved the highest level of sales since 2006 and we remain the biggest global manufacturer of trucks above 6 metric tons gross vehicle weight (see graphic B.08). The high degree of market acceptance of our trucks is due in large part to their extremely competitive total cost of ownership, which is the most important factor in our customers’ purchasing decisions. That is why fuel efficiency is a top priority in all regions. The Euro VI Actros in Europe, the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution in North America and the FUSO Super Great V in Japan are all at the forefront in terms of fuel economy.

Daimler AR2014 B.08 Unit sales Daimler Trucks

In Western Europe, we increased our market share slightly to 24.4% (2013: 24.1%) in a difficult market environment. However, at 57,400 units, sales were 13% lower than in the previous year. This was due not only to advance purchases made in 2013 prior to the introduction of the Euro VI emission standard, but also to the generally sluggish economy in the region during the year under review. (See table B.09)

B.09

Market share1
  2014 2013 14/13
In %     Change in % points
       
Mercedes-Benz Cars      
Western Europe 5.5 5.6 -0.1
thereof Germany 9.7 10.3 -0.6
United States 2.1 2.1 0.0
China 1.5 1.3  +0.2
Japan 1.3 1.2  +0.1
       
Daimler Trucks      
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks Western Europe 24.4 24.1  +0.3
thereof Germany 39.8 39.7  +0.1
Heavy-duty trucks NAFTA region (Class 8) 35.9 36.0 -0.1
Medium-duty trucks NAFTA region (Classes 6 and 7) 40.3 43.1 -2.8
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks Brazil 25.8 24.7  +1.1
Trucks Japan 20.1 20.2 -0.1
Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks India 5.0 3.0  +2.0
       
Mercedes-Benz Vans      
Medium-sized and large vans Western Europe 18.2 17.8  +0.4
thereof Germany 26.5 26.2  +0.3
Small vans Western Europe 3.2 3.2 0.0
Large vans USA 8.9 8.4  +0.5
       
Daimler Buses      
Buses over 8 metric tons Western Europe 34.4 30.9 +3.5
thereof Germany 57.1 51.2  +5,9
Buses over 8 metric tons Brazil 49.7 44.1  +5.6
1 Based on estimates in certain markets.

At 33,900 units, sales in Eastern Europe were 5% lower than in the prior year. Here, the increase in unit sales in Turkey to the record level of 22,200 vehicles could not offset declines in our other markets, especially Russia. Sales in Latin America fell significantly due to a lack of dynamic growth. Our main market in the region — Brazil — was strongly impacted by this, and unit sales in the country therefore declined by 17% to 32,200 vehicles. Nonetheless, we were able to increase our market share in the medium-duty and heavy-duty segment to 25.8% (2013: 24.7%).

Our market share of 37.2% in the NAFTA region (2013: 38.2%) once again made us the undisputed market leader in the segment for Class 6–8 medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. Sales in the region rose by 19% to the record level of 161,500 units. The Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, which was added to the product portfolio in March 2013, played a major role in our sales success in North America.

Overall business development In Asia was positive, but the situation varied from region to region. Whereas unit sales increased in Japan and India, they declined in Indonesia. Nevertheless, we were able to improve our market position in both Japan and Indonesia, and we also gained market share in India with our BharatBenz trucks in what was generally a weak market. All in all, our sales in Asia increased by 3% to 167,200 units.

Through Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), a joint venture with our Chinese partner Foton, we are represented in the Chinese truck market with locally produced vehicles. In the year under review, BFDA sold 99,200 Auman brand trucks (2013: 103,300), which are not included in the Daimler Group’s unit sales. (See Daimler Trucks)

Mercedes-Benz Vans sold 294,600 vehicles worldwide in 2014. This figure marks a new sales record and an increase of 9% from the prior year. Our Sprinter, Vito and Citan vans are targeted mainly at commercial customers, while the Viano and new V-Class models are designed primarily for private use. Unit sales in Western Europe, our most important market, rose by 12% to 190,000 vans. This positive development was largely due to a strong comeback in southern European markets, although we also set a new record in Germany with sales of 79,900 units (2013: 71,500). Despite a difficult market environment in Eastern Europe, Mercedes-Benz Vans once again increased its sales in the region, this time by 14% to 30,800 units. This figure includes 6,700 Sprinter Classic models that were built and sold in Russia. The success story of our Sprinter continues in the United States as well. With unit sales of 25,800 (2013: 22,800), we increased our market share to the record level of 8.9%. At 12,800 units, sales in China were slightly above the prior-year level. Sales in Latin America declined by 18% to 16,100 units due to the difficult economic situation in the region. We sold a total of 186,300 Sprinters worldwide during the year under review, setting a new record (+12%). Despite model changeovers, we were still able to significantly surpass the prior-year figure in the segment for mid-size vans (including the new V-Class) with sales of 86,000 units (2013: 80,900). Sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan totaled 22,100 units (+10%). (See Mercedes-Benz Vans)

Daimler Buses sold 33,200 buses and chassis of the Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands worldwide in 2014, not quite equaling the prior-year level (2013: 33,700). However, we significantly extended our market leadership in our core markets in the segment for buses above 8 metric tons. Our business with complete buses in Western Europe developed well. Due to the very positive response to the new city-bus generation Citaro and the new Setra TopClass 500 and ComfortClass 500, our unit sales increased by 13% to 7,600 buses (2013: 6,700), while our market share in Western Europe reached an all-time high of 34.4% (2013: 30.9%). In Germany, our unit sales also increased by a double-digit rate of 17% and our market share of 57.1% was significantly higher than in 2013. At 17,600 units, sales in Latin America were down significantly from the prior year (19,100). This negative development was largely due to the generally weak economy. Nevertheless, we were able to strongly expand our already leading market share in the region to 48.6% (2013: 41.6%). At 3,600 units, sales in Mexico were significantly higher than in the prior year. (See Daimler Buses)

Business at Daimler Financial Services developed very positively in the year under review, with the division once again setting new records. As we had forecast in the Annual Report 2013, worldwide contract volume grew substantially, reaching the new record level of €99.0 billion (+18%). Adjusted for exchange rate effects, the increase amounted to 12%. As expected, new business also increased significantly, by 18% to €47.9 billion. Growth here was driven by all regions. During the year under review, Daimler Financial Services once again supported a large number of companies with the financing and management of their vehicles and fleets. A total of 305,000 contracts with fleet clients were on the books at the end of 2014, an increase of 1% from the prior year. We significantly expanded our business in the field of insurance as well.
At 1.4 million, the number of automotive policies we brokered was higher than ever before (+10%). We continued to enhance our business with innovative mobility services during the year under review. The mobility subsidiary moovel had passed the mark of one million customers by the end of the year. With the flexible car-sharing model car2go, moovel was operating in 29 locations in Europe and North America by the end of 2014. car2go is thus the clear market leader for flexible short-term car rentals. (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 production numbers to changing levels of demand. Overall, the order situation of the Daimler Group developed very positively in 2014. Due to strong demand in the United States and China in particular, the number of orders placed with Mercedes-Benz Cars was once again higher than the high level of orders recorded in the prior year. This was driven on the product side primarily by the models from the new compact class, the continued strong success of our SUVs, the new S-Class and, in the second half of the year, the new C-Class as well. Due to the stable demand, we also increased our production volumes substantially. Nevertheless, the order backlog at the end of 2014 was higher than a year before. Order levels at Daimler Trucks were generally stable despite the difficult situation in various markets. This stability was largely a result of high demand in the NAFTA region, as well our attractive product range. The total number of orders received by Daimler Trucks in 2014 and the order backlog at year-end were both significantly higher than in the previous year.

Revenue. The Daimler Group increased its total revenue in the year 2014 by 10% to €129.9 billion; adjusted for exchange rate effects, the increase amounted to 12%. This means that, as we had expected at the beginning of 2014, our dynamic growth accelerated further thanks to the success of our new vehicle models. As we had forecast in the Annual Report 2013, the divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars (+14%), Mercedes-Benz Vans (+6%) and Daimler Financial Services (+10%) increased their business volumes by significant margins. Daimer Trucks and Daimler Buses also achieved slight revenue growth. However, the revenue of €32.4 billion (2013: €31.5 billion) recorded by Daimler Trucks was not quite at the level we had aimed for, due in particular to the weak Japanese yen. The bus and trucks divisions were also negatively affected by the difficult situation of the markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In regional terms, Daimler achieved revenue growth in Western Europe (+6% to €43.7 billion), in the NAFTA region (+15% to €38.0 billion) and in Asia (+20% to €29.4 billion).

Daimler AR2014 B.10 Consolidated revenue by region

B.11

Revenue by division
  2014 2013 14/13
In millions of euros     % change
       
Daimler Group 129,872 117,982  +10
Mercedes-Benz Cars 73,584 64,307  +14
Daimler Trucks 32,389 31,473  +3
Mercedes-Benz Vans 9,968 9,369  +6
Daimler Buses 4,218 4,105  +3
Daimler Financial Services 15,991 14,522  +10