Overall statement on future development
At the end of the 2017 financial year, we continue to be on a path of stable and profitable growth. We will consistently implement our strategy also in the coming years, thus creating the basis for further growth.
- We are very well positioned in our markets with innovative products and services. We are increasingly succeeding in addressing new target groups, utilizing additional market potential and strengthening our market position worldwide. With the efficiency programs that have been implemented in all divisions in recent years, we have improved our cost structures on a sustained basis and thus laid the foundations for a high level of profitability. We are currently taking further measures in all divisions for the long-term and structural optimization of the business system. In this way, we are strengthening our core business (CORE) and creating the financial basis to invest in the future of the company.
- We will therefore significantly increase our advance expenditure for new products and technologies once again in 2018. Especially in the strategic, future-oriented areas of connectivity, autonomous driving, flexible use and services, and electric drive, as well as by intelligently linking up those areas (CASE), we will therefore play a leading role also in the future.
- Together with the workforce, we are developing a new leadership culture under the heading of “Leadership 2020” that will allow us to successfully shape our future. In this way, we are meeting the challenges of the digital world and creating the basis for cultural changes at the Group (CULTURE).
- To enable us to react flexibly to the high dynamism of the environment, markets, new competitors and technologies, we need an organization that facilitates rapid and agile action. In the context of “Project Future,” we aim to further focus Daimler’s divisional structure, thus strengthening the future viability of the various businesses (COMPANY).
With the four strategic areas for action - CORE, CASE, CULTURE and COMPANY - we are setting the course for a successful future, and we reached some important milestones in 2017. Against this backdrop, we look to the year 2018 with confidence. We expect both unit sales and revenue to be higher than in the previous year, and should continue to achieve a high level of earnings despite the high volume of expenditure to safeguard our future.
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, 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; 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 we describe 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.