Automobiles: Mercedes-Benz back on track with S Class
Daimler's plan to restore its Mercedes-Benz brand to the top of the luxury-car market has gained traction as surging deliveries of the flagship S-Class sedan propelled a jump in profitability.
Earnings before interest and taxes at Mercedes-Benz Cars, which also includes the Smart urban-vehicle marque, between April and June widened to 7.9pc of revenue, from 6.4pc a year earlier, Daimler said.
Mercedes is attracting customers with a new S-Class version that reached showrooms a year ago and additional variants that will culminate in 2015 with the $1m Pullman limousine featuring three rows of seats.
Daimler chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, pictured below, laid out a strategy for Mercedes to retake the worldwide lead in premium-vehicle sales by the end of the decade after the brand fell to third place in 2011, ranking behind German manufacturers BMW and Audi. Mr Zetsche's plan also includes making Mercedes the most profitable luxury car producer, with a margin target of 10pc.
"Daimler is delivering," said Frank Biller, an analyst at LBBW in Germany. "The new models currently allow Mercedes to close the gap on the competition. We see Audi, BMW and Mercedes approximately at eye-level" over the long term.