Saturday 26 May 2018

Mercedes storms China as first quarter sales soar 36.4pc

All new Mercedes E-Classes will have 9-Gtronic as standard.
All new Mercedes E-Classes will have 9-Gtronic as standard.

Daimler's first-quarter operating profit fell 9pc as launch costs for its new E-Class and currency headwinds weighed down results, even as sales in China, the world's largest car market, reached a new record.

At the same time, news that the German carmaker is conducting an internal investigation of its certification process for diesel exhaust emissions in the United States at the request of the Justice Department pushed shares sharply lower in pre-market trade.

Daimler finance chief Bodo Uebber declined to comment further on the investigation on a conference call on Friday.

Daimler's earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) from ongoing business fell to €2.68bn in the first quarter from €2.93bn in the year-earlier period, but they were still above consensus for €2.6bn in a Reuters poll.

Currency headwinds of €222m and a €244m impairment from a decline in the value of Daimler's stake in Chinese partner BAIC Motor hit results, the company said.

Ramp up costs for preparing production plants for the launch of the new E-Class narrowed the return on sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars to 7.1pc from 9.2pc in the year-earlier period.

Mercedes' sales in China, the world's biggest car market, jumped 36.4pc in the first quarter, helping to lift total sales to 483,487 cars.

Shares in Daimler were down 7.4pc in pre-market trade at Lang & Schwarz ahead of the market open at 0700 GMT, while the German blue-chip index was indicated 0.4pc lower.


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