Business model

Daimler can look back on a tradition covering more than 130 years – a tradition that goes back to Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, the inventors of the automobile, and features pioneering achievements in automotive engineering. Today, the Daimler Group is a globally leading vehicle manufacturer with an unparalleled range of premium automobiles, trucks, vans and buses. Its product portfolio is rounded out by a range of customized financial services and mobility services. Daimler’s goal is to continue playing a leading role in the development of products and services for the future of mobility. The automotive industry is in the process of a fundamental transformation, and we intend to play a major role in promoting and shaping that change. With our strong core business we are creating the financial foundation for our investments in the future-oriented fields of Connected (connectivity), Autonomous (automated and autonomous driving), Shared & Services (flexible use) and Electric (electric drive systems) – “CASE” for short. Innovations from the future-oriented CASE fields enable us to safeguard the attractiveness and profitability of our core business.

Daimler AG is the parent company of the Daimler Group and its headquarters are in Stuttgart. The main business of Daimler AG is the development, production and distribution of cars, trucks and vans in Germany and the management of the Daimler Group. The management reports for Daimler AG and for the Daimler Group are combined in this management report.

Daimler AR2018 B.01 Consolidated revenue by division

With its strong brands, Daimler is active in nearly all the countries of the world. The company has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. The global networking of its research and development activities as well as its production and sales locations gives Daimler considerable advantages in the international competitive field and also offers additional growth opportunities.

In 2018, Daimler increased its revenue by 2 % to €167.4 billion. The Group’s five divisions contributed to this total as follows: Mercedes-Benz Cars 53 %, Daimler Trucks 22 %, Mercedes-Benz Vans 8 %, Daimler Buses 3 % and Daimler Financial Services 14 %. At the end of 2018, Daimler employed a total workforce of more than 298,000 people worldwide.

Daimler: Corporate Movie 2018

The products supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division comprise a broad spectrum of premium vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz brand, the Mercedes-AMG high-performance brand and the Mercedes-Maybach luxury brand. These vehicles range from compact models to a highly varied portfolio of off-road vehicles, roadsters, coupes and convertibles, and to the S-Class luxury sedans. The product range is rounded out by the Mercedes me brand and the high-quality small cars of the smart brand. In 2016, we introduced the new brand EQ (“Electric Intelligence”), which consolidates all of our activities related to electric mobility. The most important markets for Mercedes-Benz Cars in 2018 were China with 28 % of unit sales, the United States (14 %), Germany (14 %), the other European markets (28 %), Japan (3 %) and South Korea (3 %). The Mercedes-Benz Cars division is continuously refining its flexible production network consisting of more than 30 locations on four continents. In particular, we are preparing our worldwide production network to meet the requirements of electric mobility. We will manufacture our electric vehicles of the EQ product and technology brand within the framework of normal series production operations, on the same lines used to produce vehicles with conventional or hybrid drive systems. In the future, our sites for the production of electric vehicles will be our plants in Bremen, Sindelfingen and Rastatt, Germany; Hambach, France; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States and Beijing, China. In parallel, we will expand our global battery network to nine plants at seven sites on three continents.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of trucks above 6 metric tons gross vehicle weight, Daimler Trucks develops and produces vehicles in a global network under the brands Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Western Star, FUSO and BharatBenz. The division’s 26 production facilities are located in the NAFTA region (14), Europe (7), Asia (3) and South America (2). In China, Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), a joint venture with our Chinese partner Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd., has been producing trucks under the Auman brand name since 2012. Daimler Trucks’ product range includes light, medium and heavy-duty trucks for long-distance, distribution and construction-site haulage, as well as special vehicles that are used mainly in municipal applications. Due to close links in terms of production technology, the division’s product range also includes buses of the Thomas Built Buses and FUSO brands. Daimler Trucks sells and is testing locally emission-free electric drive systems across the entire product portfolio. Daimler Trucks’ most important sales markets in 2018 were the NAFTA region with 37 % of unit sales, Asia with 32 % and the EU 30 region (European Union, Switzerland and Norway) with 17 %.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is a global supplier of a complete range of vans and related services. The division’s products range from the Citan small van with a gross vehicle weight of 1.8 metric tons to the Sprinter large van with a gross vehicle weight of up to 5 metric tons. The portfolio of Mercedes-Benz vans in the commercial segment comprises the Sprinter large van, the Vito mid-size van (marketed as the “Metris” in the United States) and the Citan urban delivery van. In the segment for private customers, Mercedes-Benz Vans offers the V-Class full-size MPV and the Marco Polo travel vans and recreational vehicles. With the launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in 2017, we now also have a model series in the segment for mid-size pickups. The eVito, eSprinter and Concept Sprinter F-CELL demonstrate how systematically we are progressing with the development of alternative drive systems. The Mercedes-Benz Vans division has manufacturing facilities in Germany, Spain, the United States, Argentina, China and Russia. The division is active in the Chinese market through the Fujian Benz Automotive Ltd. joint venture. The production of the Citan and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is part of the strategic alliance with Renault-Nissan. The most important markets for vans at present are in the EU 30 region, which accounts for 66 % of unit sales, the NAFTA region (12 % of unit sales in the year under review) and Asia (9 %).

The Daimler Buses division with its Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands is the industry leader for buses above 8 metric tons in its most important traditional core markets: the EU 30 region, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The division’s product range comprises city and inter-city buses, touring coaches and bus chassis. The largest of the division’s 14 production plants are located in Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and, since 2015, in India as well. In 2018, Daimler Buses generated 70 % of its revenue in the EU 30 region and 14 % in Latin America (excluding Mexico). Whereas we mainly sell fully equipped buses in Europe, our business in Latin America, Mexico, Africa and Asia focuses on the production and distribution of bus chassis.

Daimler AR2018 B.02 Daimler Group structure

The Daimler Financial Services division supports the sales of the Daimler Group’s automotive brands in approximately 40 countries. Its product portfolio primarily consists of tailored financing and leasing packages for customers and dealers. It also includes the brokering of insurance and credit cards, the provision of fleet management services and investment products, as well as various mobility services such as car2go - a leading provider of flexible car-sharing services, the moovel mobility platform and the ride-hailing group with the mytaxi, Beat, Clever Taxi and Chauffeur Privé brands. The total number of users of our mobility services increased to 31.0 million in 2018. During the year under review, Daimler Financial Services financed or leased approximately 50 % of the vehicles sold by Daimler. The division’s contract volume of €154.1 billion covers more than 5.2 million vehicles.

Daimler is also active in the global automotive industry and related sectors through a broad network of subsidiaries, holdings and partnerships. The statement of investments of Daimler AG in accordance with Section 313 of the German Commercial Code (HGB) can be found in Note 40 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Portfolio changes and strategic cooperations
Combined Management Report