Tuesday, January 08, 2019
The Chinese business and the high demand for SUVs give Mercedes a slight increase in sales in 2018. That's enough for Stuttgart to remain number one among the premium brands. However, sales are less and less than key figures for success.
Thanks to brilliant business in China, Mercedes 2018 has sold more cars again. 2.31 million star-topped cars were delivered worldwide, 0.9 percent more than in 2017, the luxury-class manufacturer said. In view of these sales figures, the Stuttgart celebrated not only the eighth record year in a row, but continue to see the front in the luxury class: "In 2018, we consolidated our position as number 1 among the premium car brands for the third time in a row," said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.
However, BMW has not yet presented any sales figures for its blue-and-white core brand; Experts consider it unlikely that Bayern could have overtaken the Swabians in 2018. BMW managed in the fight for the coveted premium crown simply with another key figure: the Group sales. Of the three brands BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce, a total of 2.49 million vehicles were sold last year (plus one percent), as CEO Harald Krüger announced on Twitter. Thus the BMW Group is the 15th year of the world's largest premium carmaker.
The Mercedes Benz and Smart brands, which belong to Daimler's passenger car division, jointly sold nearly 2.44 million vehicles in 2018 (plus 0.6 percent). Analyst Frank Schwope of the NordLB spoke of irrelevant marketing games: "We are talking about premium brands and not premium companies." The car expert continued: "Mercedes is ahead of BMW, of course."
Strong growth in the Far East
For some time now, carmakers have been stressing that, given the industry's shift towards networked driving, pure sales figures are no longer the most important measure. Instead, returns and growing revenues with new, digital mobility services played an increasingly important role. However, the manufacturers are desperately looking for striking ideas on how they can earn money with service and data.
The upper-class companies want to finance the billionaire change towards electric, networked and autonomous driving with the sale of large, high-yield cars. Above all, the SUV trend plays them in the hands. At Mercedes-Benz, more than a third of all sales in the off-road segment were reported in 2018.
According to the statement, sales of the brand with the star in China rose by around eleven percent last year. In the US, the Swabians sold about six percent less cars; For a long time, Mercedes was struggling with the after-effects of a fire at a supplier in the world's second largest car market after China.
Load due to new exhaust test cycle
China's import tariffs on cars from the USA, model changes and home-made problems surrounding the switch to the stricter WLTP exhaust test cycle also caused signs of slowing down throughout the year. In Europe, Mercedes sales shrank by more than two percent.
Audi also posted declines following the introduction of WLTP. BMW had early switched to the stricter standard, but also let in tough competition also springs. Auto expert Schwope assumes that Mercedes currently has a very large lead over BMW in sales. "In the long term it will certainly remain a duel, Audi is knocked off for the next few years."
In the past, Mercedes held the leading position in the premium segment for a long time as a matter of course - and lost it to BMW in 2005. In 2011 Audi also passed the Swabians. With the help of many new models and a newly established sales force in China, in 2016 Mercedes again took the lead of the three permanent rivals.