Overall statement on future development
Following the unexpected and extraordinary impact of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, financial challenges remain high for the Daimler Group in 2021. This applies both to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the duration of which we cannot predict, and to the high advance expenditure still required for the necessary transformation to a CO2-neutral future. Our ambitious CO2 targets set out in “Ambition 2039” continue to necessitate high investments in electric mobility and far-reaching structural adjustments. Only in this way will we be able to play a leading role in the transformation to a CO2-neutral future. In order to successfully master these challenges, we will push forward with our measures to improve cost efficiency and implement our strategic initiatives. Achieving appropriate returns and a sound cash flow have absolute priority along this path.
Against this backdrop and supported by the Group’s brand strengths and innovative capabilities, we look forward with confidence to the year 2021. Compared with the particularly difficult previous year, we should be able to significantly increase our unit sales, revenue and earnings. However, this is based on the assumption that the covid-19 pandemic is gradually contained in our most important markets and that further setbacks for global economic development are avoided.
This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views about future events. The words “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” ”can,” “could,” “plan,” “project,” “should” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, including an adverse development of global economic conditions, in particular a decline of demand in our most important markets; a deterioration of our refinancing possibilities on the credit and financial markets; events of force majeure including natural disasters, pandemics, acts of terrorism, political unrest, armed conflicts, industrial accidents and their effects on our sales, purchasing, production or financial services activities; changes in currency exchange rates, customs and foreign trade provisions; a shift in consumer preferences towards smaller, lower-margin vehicles; a possible lack of acceptance of our products or services which limits our ability to achieve prices and adequately utilize our production capacities; price increases for fuel or raw materials; disruption of production due to shortages of materials, labor strikes or supplier insolvencies; a decline in resale prices of used vehicles; the effective implementation of cost-reduction and efficiency-optimization measures; the business outlook for companies in which we hold a significant equity interest; the successful implementation of strategic cooperations and joint ventures; changes in laws, regulations and government policies, particularly those relating to vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety; the resolution of pending government investigations or of investigations requested by governments and the conclusion of pending or threatened future legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties, some of which are described under the heading “Risk and Opportunity Report” in this Annual Report. If any of these risks and uncertainties materializes or if the assumptions underlying any of our forward-looking statements prove to be incorrect, the actual results may be materially different from those we express or imply by such statements. We do not intend or assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements since they are based solely on the circumstances at the date of publication.
References made in this management report
Insofar as the references made in this Management Report relate to parts of the Annual Report that were not included in the external audit (components outside the company and consolidated financial statements and the combined Management Report), or to the Daimler website or other reports or documents, these were not part of the external audit.