Daimler's third-quarter operating profit jumped by almost a third as strong demand in Europe and China coupled with new product launches spurred luxury-car sales to a record. Hayley Platt reports.
Mercedes-Benz has lagged its German rivals BMW and Audi in recent years in both deliveries and profitability. But it seems Daimler's flagship division is moving up a gear. Record sales of luxury Mercedes-Benz cars has led to record profits for Daimler - they jumped by almost a third in the third quarter. It was largely due to demand for the revamped A-Class compact and a growing line-up of sport-utility vehicles. BGC's Mike Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKET STRATEGIST, BCG PARTNERS, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "I don't think it's recession proof but I think Daimler's in a reasonably defensible position, interesting to note that their operating profit was up by over 30 percent today and deliveries into China soared but even Daimler's saying that they're expecting very little growth from China going forward, certainly on a 12 month basis. But by the same token they're not expecting it to fall sharply when other countries with exposure to China have already seen activity slow substantially." Daimler said it's sticking to its guidance of growth. But lowered its sales target on its trucks division. It now only expects a slight increase in deliveries of trucks rather than a significant gain. China is still one of Daimler's most important markets - quarterly sales of its Mercedes cars there surged 43 percent. The group aims to grow its network of dealers in the world's biggest auto market this year by another 50 stores to around 500.