Mercedes-Benz: Steady growth driven by new E-Class, SUVs, and PHVs expected in 2016
China projected to see further sales expansion as largest market
Record unit sales, revenue, and EBIT in 2015
Mercedes-Benz, Daimler’s passenger car division, achieved record high unit sales of two million vehicles in 2015, up 16.2% year-over-year (y/y). This growth was driven by the new C-Class, compact cars, and SUV models. By region, China was the automaker’s biggest sales market for the first time with an increase of 36.8% in unit sales. Driven by this growth, Mercedes-Benz achieved record levels of revenue and EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes).
Double-digit growth expected for 2016 unit sales; revenue and EBIT to surpass 2015 levels
In 2016, Mercedes-Benz plans to launch a number of new models including an all-new E-Class, C-Class Convertible, and smart cabrio. Moreover, capital expenditures and investments in research and development (R&D) activities will be significantly increased to create the right conditions for sustainable growth. Daimler forecasts that Mercedes-Benz will achieve double-digit growth in unit sales in 2016 and see its revenue and EBIT surpass 2015 levels.
Strengthening Chinese business
In China, the biggest market for Mercedes-Benz, the automaker is aiming to increase sales by expanding its model lineup, dealer network, local production, and local R&D activities. In 2015, annual production capacity in the country was raised to 250,000 units with two new plants opening. Among the vehicles sold in China, two-thirds were locally produced. Launches planned for 2016 include the new E-Class, new C-Class Coupe, and facelifted GLS
According to LMC Automotive’s forecast released in the first quarter of 2016, Daimler’s global light vehicle sales are projected to be 2.47 million units in 2016, up 9.6% y/y. Daimler’s sales will continue to grow gradually to 2.67 million units in 2019, an increase of 7.9% compared to 2016.
Midterm target and 2016 outlook for Mercedes-Benz Cars
Mercedes-Benz has made becoming “the No.1 premium car manufacturer in sales by 2020” its midterm target, and overtook Audi to rank second in 2015. While the global passenger car market is expected to grow by between 3 and 4% y/y in 2016, Mercedes-Benz foresees double-digit growth in its unit sales, driven by the new E-Class, SUVs, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs).
As for its operating profit ratio (EBIT from ongoing business/revenue), Mercedes-Benz achieved its target of 10%, and its EBIT from ongoing business in 2015 was EUR 8.34 billion for an increase of 40% y/y. The automaker intends to maintain this profit rate on a sustained basis going forward. Mercedes-Benz believes that its 2016 models are highly competitive, and forecasts that its revenue and EBIT in 2016 will exceed 2015 levels.
Furthermore, capital expenditures will be raised by 39% and investment in R&D activities by 15% for 2016/2017 (average per annum) In order to create a base for further expansion through measures including expansion of production and dealer networks, and development of environment-friendly and autonomous driving technologies.
Mid-term target for Mercedes-Benz
|Unit sales||Mercedes-Benz is aiming to be the No.1 premium car manufacturer in sales by 2020. In 2015, the Mercedes-Benz brand ranked second in unit sales at 1.87 million units. (BMW’s sales were 1.91 million units while Audi sold 1.81 million vehicles.)|
|Profit rate||The targeted profit rate (EBIT from the ongoing business/revenue) is 9% (8.9% for 2015) for the automotive unit (excluding the financial division, but including the commercial vehicle divisions) and 10% for the passenger car division (this was achieved in 2015 and is expected to be maintained.)|
|Four strategic areas||Strengthening the core business: Model lineup renewal (More than 30 new and refreshed models are to be launched between 2012 and 2020.)|
|Global growth: Growth in both traditional and emerging markets|
|Advantage in technical fields: Reduction of CO2 emissions (the 2016 target was set at 125 g/km, but it was achieved in 2015 with average emissions at 123 g/km. The 2020 target is set at 95 g/km.), development of fuel-efficient engines, and launch of PHVs, EVs and FCVs.|
|Digitization: Connectivity utilization (for infotainment, EVs, safety, and autonomous driving)|
Mercedes-Benz’ outlook for 2016 (as of February 2016)
|Unit sales||Mercedes-Benz is expected to achieve double-digit growth for global unit sales in 2016 driven by the new E-Class, SUVs, and PHVs. By region, significant expansion is planned in China although the growth rate in the country will be more moderate than 2015. Slight growth is anticipated for the Western European and U.S. markets.|
|Revenue||Revenue growth is expected for 2016 because of a competitive new product range.|
|EBIT from ongoing business||EBIT from ongoing business is projected to be slightly above the 2015 level.|
Mercedes-Benz’ plan for 2016/2017 capital and R&D expenditures
|Capital expenditures||Mercedes-Benz will increase its capital expenditures for 2016/2017 to an average of EUR 5 billion, up 39% from 2015. Substantial investments will be made in areas including the expansion of production and sales capacities, and converting the value chain as a whole to being digitally connected.|
|R&D expenditures||The automaker will also raise its R&D expenditure for 2016/2017 to an average of EUR 5.4 billion, an increase of 9% from 2015. The focus will be on development of new models, extremely fuel-efficient and environment- friendly drive systems, safety technologies, autonomous driving and digital connectivity for products.|
Model lineup renewal
In 2015, the biggest drivers of higher unit sales were the new C-Class and SUVs. In order to keep this momentum, Mercedes-Benz renewed almost its full range of SUVs and added the GLE Coupe, a coupe-style SUV, in the same year. Other launches included the CLA Shooting Brake, a coupe with an enlarged luggage space and a tailgate, and the new C-Class Coupe. The A- and B-Class compact cars also boosted overall unit sales and the smart brand sales grew by 31%.
Among new model launch plans for 2016, the most important is the new E-Class, which is billed as “the most intelligent premium business saloon (sedan).” The new E-Class has features including semi-autonomous driving capability that uses advanced technologies, various safety systems for accident-free driving, and car-to-X communication. Additionally, the first C-Class convertible model and the new smart fortwo cabrio will be released in 2016.
As for green cars, a total of ten Mercedes-Benz PHV models will be on the market by 2017. While the S- and C-Class, C-Class Estate, GLE, and GLC already have PHV versions, the E-Class will be given a PHV drive system in 2016. New smart models will be offered with electric drive in the latter half of 2016.
New E-Class (Source: Daimler)
Various driver assistance systems on new E-Class (Source: Daimler)
Features of the new E-Class (launched in Europe in February 2016; U.S. launch in summer)
|Exterior||The new E-Class features an exterior design that combines a flowing style like a coupe and powerful boldness. Compared with its predecessor, the overall length has been extended by 43 mm to 4,923 mm, and its wheelbase widened by 65 mm to 2,939 mm.|
|Interior||Two large 12.3-inch screens are available as options for the monitor in the center of the dashboard and instｒument panel in front of the driver. “Touch Control” on the steering wheel allows the driver to control the entire infotainment systems using finger swipes like a smartphone interface.|
|Powertrain||*At market launch in Europe, the model comes with an all-new “OM654” four-cylinder diesel engine (compared with the previous model, it is 17% lighter, friction is reduced by 24%, output is increased by 18 kW, acceleration is improved by 11%, CO2 emissions are 13% lower, and NOx emissions have been reduced 80%) and a four-cylinder petrol engine mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
*After it is introduced to the market, a six-cylinder diesel engine, six-cylinder petrol engine, and PHV powertrain will be added.
|Autonomous driving function||*Drive Pilot: The system is able to follow vehicles in front automatically at speeds of up to 210 km/h.
*Evasive Steering Assist: When the driver performs evasive maneuvers to avoid a pedestrian and other such situations, the system offers support to steering wheel rotation operations by adding precisely calculated steering torque.
*Remote Parking Pilot: The system allows the driver to move the vehicle in and out of garages with a smartphone application from outside the car.
|Connectivity||*Car-to-X communication: Car-to-car communication utilizing smartphones. For example, the exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road can provide the driver with information to see around corners or beyond obstacles well in advance.|
|Production||The E-Class is manufactured at the Sindelfingen plant in Germany.|
Mercedes-Benz’s new model plan for 2016-2020 (excluding the new E-Class)
|GLS||Feb. 2016 (USA),
Spring 2016 (Europe)
|This is the flagship S-Class SUV. The conventional GL was facelifted and renamed the GLS to confirm its position as the “S-Class among SUVs.” Its interior was completely renewed. The European version is powered by a 3-liter V6 diesel, 3-liter V6 turbo petrol or 4.7-liter V8 turbo gasoline engine, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The GLS is produced at the Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant in the U.S.|
|S-Class Convertible||Mar. 2016 (Europe),
Spring 2016 (USA)
|An S-Class convertible model is being offered for the first time in 44 years. The powertrain is the same as the coupe model. The S550 Cabriolet comes with a 4.7-liter V8 twin-turbo engine mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission.|
|C-Class convertible||Summer 2016 (Europe),
Fall 2016 (USA)
|This is the first C-Class convertible model. It is a four-seater with a soft top. The European version comes with a 2.2-liter I4 diesel; or 1.6-liter I4, 2-liter I4, and 3-liter V6 gasoline engines. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard for all engine variants.|
|GLC Coupe||Fall 2016 (Europe),
early 2017 (USA)
|This model is 8 cm shorter and 4 cm lower than the GLC SUV, which shares the same platform. The GLC Coupe employs the AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension. It will have a choice of four diesel and four gasoline engines, as well as a PHV powertrain.|
|Pickup truck||2020 (Europe, Latin America, Australia, South Africa)||This is the first 1-ton pickup truck for the Mercedes-Benz brand. It will be jointly developed with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The double-cab pickup will share some of its architecture with the new Nissan NP300. The trucks for Latin American markets will be produced at Renault’s plant in Cordoba, Argentina, while those for other markets will be built at Nissan’s Barcelona plant in Spain.|
smart brand's new model plan for 2016
|New smart fortwo cabrio||Mar. 2016 (Europe),
Summer 2016 (USA)
|This is a convertible version of the new smart fortwo with a soft top. The model comes with a 1-liter I3 naturally aspirated or 0.9-liter I3 turbo engine mated with a five-speed manual or six-speed dual clutch transmission.|
|New smart EV||Latter half of 2016 (Europe)||EV models will be offered for the new smart fortwo/forfour model. Both models and the Renault Twingo share the platform co-developed by Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The new smart EVs will use a version of the Renault-developed electric motor that powers the Renault ZOE, and a battery developed by a subsidiary of Daimler.|
C-Class Convertible (Source: Daimler)
New smart fortwo cabrio
(North American International Auto Show 2016)
China: annual production capacity increased to 250,000 units
Unit sales in China grew by 36.8% y/y to 400,000 units in 2015, positioning the country as Mercedes-Benz’s biggest market. The automaker intends to achieve further growth in China by expanding its dealer network, product range, local production, and local R&D activities. In 2016, unit sales in China are expected to significantly increase again while the growth rate will be more moderate than the previous year.
Mercedes-Benz's strategy in China
|Dealer network expansion||The number of the dealerships in China totaled 447 at the end of 2015 and is expected to increase to 502 by the end of 2016.|
|Extension of product portfolio||New and refreshed models launched in 2015: Mercedes-Maybach, GLA, C-Class W205, GLE Sport, GLE and GLC|
|Models to be launched in 2016: new E-Class, facelifted GLS and new C-Class Coupe|
|Expansion of local R&D||In April 2015, production of the GLA compact SUV started at Mercedes Benz’s new NGCC (New Generation Compact Car) plant. Its local content ratio reached 50-60%. The total investment amounted to EUR 720 million. In the future, the plant will build models underpinned by the MFA platform, including the CLA, A-Class, and B-Class,|
|Production of the GLC compact SUV began in October 2015 at the new MRA II plant, which was built in Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area. Locally procured parts exceeded 50%.|
|Mercedes-Benz brand’s annual production capacity in China expanded to 250,000 units at the end of 2015 (100,000 units at the end of 2014). Two-thirds of 2015 sales in China were locally produced vehicles. (In 2013, a half of sales were locally built.) With the completion of the new NGCC plant, a production network was established to manufacture front- and rear-wheel drive passenger cars, as well as engines in China.|
|Expansion of local R&D||The number of the staff at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, which was open in November 2014, increased to more than 500 people at the end of 2015, up 40% from the initial stage. Daimler's total investment amounted to RMB 865 million. The staff consists of engineers and designers, of which 85% are Chinese and 15% are from various countries. They are developing the products especially for China including long-wheel models and adapting ergonomic design, storage and air-conditioning systems to the market condition.|
Enhancement of production network: Germany, USA and other markets
Daimler invested in multiple plants in Germany in accordance with its labor contract to increase the production capacity of plants and renovate facilities. The automaker expanded its plant in the U.S. in response to higher demand for its SUV models. A joint venture plant will be built with the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Mexico, and a new plant had already come online in Brazil. The company added production of new models in India and Hungary, and contract production will be increased in Finland.
Production network enhancements in Germany and the USA
|Germany||Daimler will invest EUR 1 billion in the Rastatt plant by 2020 to renovate its facilities for producing next-generation compact cars. The plant will respond to increased sales of the compact cars in accordance with the labor contract. 250 new jobs will be created. The plant is currently building the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, and GLA.|
|Daimler will renovate the facilities at the Bremen plant to boost its production capacity and maintain its productivity with an investment of EUR 750 million. In addition to the next-generation C-Class, two other models will be built at the plant. This will create 500 new jobs.|
|Daimler will invest EUR 500 million in its Berlin component plant to renew the facilities, reduce CO2 emissions, and secure long term employment. The plan is for the plant to manufacture components like high-precision transmission parts, camshaft adjusters, and fuel systems.|
|Daimler invested EUR 1 billion in the Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim plant in 2015 and will make further investments of billions of euros over the next few years. The plant is now producing highly efficient engines and hybrid powertrains. It is scheduled to add production of three new engines and an automatic transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles to deal with the company’s plan to launch 10 PHV models by 2017.|
|USA||In September 2015, Daimler disclosed a plan to invest USD 1.3 billion in its Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama. The plant expansion will include a new body shop, major enhancements to the SUV assembly shop, and upgraded logistics and IT systems. This will create 300 new jobs. The plant built 300,000 units in 2015 (233,000 units in 2014).|
Production network enhancements in Mexico, Brazil, India, Hungary, and Finland
|Mexico||In September 2015, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance broke ground on a fifty-fifty joint-venture manufacturing complex called COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes), in Aguascalientes, central Mexico. The total investment by both partners totaled USD 1 billion. The plant is scheduled to begin manufacturing next-generation premium compact cars for the Infiniti brand in 2017, and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in 2018. COMPAS is located near the Nissan Aguascalientes plant and will have an annual production capacity of more than 230,000 units by 2020.|
|Brazil||Daimler started operations at its new passenger car plant in Iracemapolis, Sao Paulo, in March 2016. The first vehicle to roll off the production line was a C-Class sedan. The GLA compact SUV will also be built starting in summer 2016. BRL 600 million was invested in the plant, which has an initial annual production capacity of 20,000 units, and created 600 jobs.|
|India||In June 2015, Daimler started CKD production of GLA compact SUV diesel engine models at its Chakan plant in Maharashtra. In September, the company began building GLA gasoline engine models GLA as well as the CLA midsize sedan. With an annual production capacity of 20,000 units, the plant is one of the largest factories producing premium cars in India.|
|Hungary||Daimler invested EUR 250 million in the Kecskemet plant to expand facilities and build auto bodies for next-generation compact cars. The plant is currently manufacturing the B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake. Production at the plant totaled 150,000 units in 2014. (Media report in March 2016)|
|Finland||In November 2015, Daimler announced plans to consign part of the production of the GLC compact SUV to Valmet Automotive. The Finnish contract manufacturer will build the GLC at its plant in Uusikaupunki starting from the first quarter of 2017. Daimler has been producing the GLC at its Bremen plant in Germany since July 2015. As the utilization rate at the Bremen plant is close to the limit, additional volume of the model will be produced by the contract manufacturer. The Uusikaupunki plant has been building the A-Class for Daimler since 2013.|
Mercedes-Benz’s unit sales and business performances
Mercedes-Benz Cars’ global unit sales increased by 16.2% y/y to 2 million units in 2015, marking another record high. By region, sales in China grew to 400,000 units, up 36.8% y/y. China was the biggest market for the Mercedes-Benz brand for the first time. In the meantime, unit sales in Europe climbed to 773,000 units, up 15.7%. While sales in Germany increased by 8.5%, sales in Europe excluding Germany grew by 20.6%. Sales in the U.S. increased by 4.3% to 359,000 units.
In 2015, Mercedes-Benz Cars achieved record figures for both revenue and EBIT. Its revenue amounted to EUR 83.8 billion, up 13.9% y/y, while its EBIT reached EUR 7.9 billion, up 35.4% y/y. Positive factors for EBIT include growth in unit sales, efficiency measures, and favorable exchange rates. Although there were negative effects from expenses for capacity expansion, technology development, autonomous driving and digitization, positive factors outweighed the negatives.
Mercedes-Benz Cars unit sales by region (wholesale)
|Western Europe total||623,489||635,798||625,168||631,423||640,162||668,578||773,485|
|thereof: Western Europe excl. Germany||325,733||342,903||334,510||341,500||360,268||396,119||477,792|
Source: Daimler Annual Report
Daimler Group consolidated business results
|(in millions of EUR)|
|Production (1,000 units)||1,456||1,941||2,137||2,195||2,384||2,582||2,924|
|Passenger car unit||1,094||1,277||1,381||1,452||1,566||1,723||2,001|
|Commercial vehicle unit||457||619||730||746||788||823||852|
|Revenue||Passenger car unit||41,318||53,426||57,410||61,660||64,307||73,584||83,809|
|Commercial vehicle unit||28,813||36,394||42,348||44,388||44,947||46,575||53,164|
|EBIT||Passenger car unit||(500)||4,656||5,192||4,391||4,006||5,853||7,926|
|Commercial vehicle unit||(792)||1,998||2,873||2,023||2,392||2,757||3,670|
|Source: Daimler Annual Report|
Passenger car units are the totals for the Mercedes-Benz Cars division. Commercial vehicle units include the totals for Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, and Daimler Buses. Production is the total units for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Unit sales indicate wholesale volume. Retail sales for January-February 2016 were 303,905 units (262,828 units for the same period in 2015).
The total figures for revenue and EBIT include the Financial Services division.
The figures in brackets represent negative values.
|5.||Consolidated EBIT and net profit in 2014 include gains of EUR 1.06 billion from sales of Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding shares and gains of EUR 718 million from revaluation of Tesla shares. Consolidated EBIT and net profit in 2015 contain expenditure of EUR 340 million for Takata airbag recalls.|
Production Forecast by LMC Automotive: Daimler's production to reach 2.75 million units in 2019
|(LMC Automotive, February 2016)|
According to LMC Automotive’s forecast released in February 2016, Daimler’s global production is expected to be 2.59 million units in 2016, up 7.5% (y/y). An expanded range, including more Compact vehicles (the CLA, A-Class and GLA), has led to increased production in most regions. However, new or expanded production facilities in China and North America will undermine capacity growth prospects in Europe
In the medium term, further launches and model renewals will boost competitiveness. China will continue to be a growth pole, and with the addition of GLA and A-Class production at the Beijin plant, output is expected to reach 400,000 units by 2019. LMC Automotive projects that Daimler’s global production will continue to grow and reach 2.75 million units in 2019, a 6.5 % increase over 2016.
The growth of European production volume in 2015 was weak due to the particularly important E-Class being in the midst of an update period, and also a result of production for the relatively fresh C-Class being shifted to local production in every region. In the medium term European production for export is expected to decline because of localized production of core models in key overseas markets.
In North America, Daimler will build a new facility at the North Charleston production complex in the US to produce the Sprinter commercial van. The new facility is expected to begin production in Q2 2017 with an annual capacity of 40,000 units. The automaker will also add capacity to its COMPAS joint venture with Renault-Nissan in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The plant is scheduled to start manufacturing the A-Class in September 2018, and will also produce the GLA and GLB.
Daimler Group production forecasts by country and make
|Source: LMC Automotive "Global Automotive Production Forecast (February 2016)"|
|(Note) 1.||Data indicate figures of only small-size vehicles, including passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of under 6 tons.|
|2.||All rights reserved. Reproduction of any data will require permission of LMC Automotive.|
|For more detailed information or inquiries about forecast data, please contact LMC Automotive.|
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