Daimler, makers of the mid-range and luxury Mercedes-Benz line of automobiles has declared a record volume of sales for 2011 disproving market expectations of a drop in sales due to reduced liquidity of households owing to the global financial crisis.
Achieving year end sales of 1,260,912 Mercedes Benz units, chief executive of Daimler Dieter Zetsche confirmed this amounts to an 8% increase over 2010 figures, and demonstrates continued interest in the marque.
Factoring in an additional 100,000 vehicles from the company’s popular Smart car range, and loss-making Maybach premium vehicles brought total car sales for the group to 1.36 million cars.
Sales in the EU predictably fell, though by 1% only indicating the Eurozone troubles haven’t affected luxury vehicle sales to a great extent.
North American sales saw strong continuing growth of 13% and 245,231 units across all models, however Far Eastern markets saw rapid spectacular increases of 31%, and total sales of 193,339 in China.
Daimler announced in November that the ultra-luxurious Maybach marque will be discontinued and staff transferred to other production lines due to poor sales.\
A-Class production is expected to ramp up through 2012 as the line is revamped to target younger buyers. As well, the new CLS Shooting Brake and SL coupe vehicles will be launched globally.
Launch of the B-Class and M-Class models in November was well received by customers contributing to best volume increase per month, beating the previous record from two years previous. 113,859 units sold in November, an increase of 8.3%.
In 2012 Daimler is projecting production targets of 1.52 million vehicles including Smart cars, a nearly 20% increase on 2011 production totals.
Production of S-Class and M-Class vehicles will also be started in the group’s Indian facilities to take advantage of local taxation laws, with the A-Class scheduled for Indian production in 2013. India and neighboring countries are seen as major growth markets for Daimler, with expectations the market could grow to compare with Chinese and American sales.
Revenues in 2011 pleased market analysts, topping 105 billion euros with expected profits of between 8.8 and 8.9 billion euros to be declared. Bodo Uebber, Daimler’s Chief Financial Officer also stated that shareholders could expect a healthy year end dividend. The company is known for spending 40% of profits on shareholder dividends.