After setting new records in the prior year, Mercedes-Benz Cars performed well overall during the year under review, despite significantly less favorable conditions. Unit sales reached a record level once again, revenue was at the high level of the previous year, and EBIT also reached a high level, despite high advance expenditure for our product offensive and new technologies, as well as extraordinary expenses. During the year under review, we systematically forged ahead with our model offensive. Important new models in 2018 were the new A-Class, the G-Class, the CLS and the upgraded C-Class. We also presented the first production vehicle from our new EQ electric mobility brand. In order to be able to continue meeting demand for our vehicles quickly and flexibly in the future, we are systematically further developing our global production network with more than 30 locations on four continents. The most recent example of that is the pioneering Factory 56 at our site in Sindelfingen.
Ongoing high levels of unit sales, revenue and earnings
The Mercedes-Benz Cars division consists of the Mercedes-Benz brand with the Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me sub-brands, as well as the smart brand and the EQ product and technology brand for electric mobility. The division performed well in a highly competitive environment in the year under review, with unit sales totaling 2,382,800 vehicles (2017: 2,373,500). Mercedes-Benz Cars thus set a new sales record, despite operating under difficult conditions. Revenue of €93.1 billion was close to the previous year’s high level. C.01 This development was in large part due to the continued market success of our attractive sport-utility vehicles, as well as the success of the E-Class. After reaching a new record level in 2017, EBIT decreased to €7.2 billion in the year under review (2017: €8,8 billion). This was the result of various factors, which are described in detail in the Profitability chapter. (See Profitability)
C.01 Mercedes-Benz Cars
| ||2018 ||2017 ||18/17 |
|€ amounts in millions || ||% change |
| || || || |
|Revenue ||93,103 ||94,351 1 ||-1 |
|EBIT ||7,216 ||8,843 1 ||-18 |
|Return on sales (in %) ||7.8 ||9.4 1 ||. |
|Investment in property, plant and equipment ||5,684 ||4,843 ||+17 |
|Research and development expenditure |
|Production ||2,398,270 ||2,411,378 ||-1 |
|Unit sales ||2,382,791 ||2,373,527 ||+0 |
|Employees (December 31) ||145,436 ||142,666 ||+2 |
Mercedes-Benz Cars sold a total of 982,700 vehicles in Europe in 2018 (2017: 1,013,800). Sales increases were recorded in the volume markets Germany (+1 %) and Spain (+3 %), and the high level of the prior year was maintained in France, while unit sales decreased in the United Kingdom (-7 %) and Italy (-5 %). The Mercedes-Benz Cars division remained very successful in China during the year under review, with unit sales rising by 10 % to 677,700 vehicles. We set new records for unit sales also in other Asian markets, for example in India (+1 %), South Korea (+1 %) and Thailand (+5 %). At 392,600 units, total sales in the NAFTA region were lower than the high level of the prior year. Sales decreased in the United States (-3 %) and Canada (-2 %), while sales in Mexico increased by 7 %.
Mercedes-Benz posts record unit sales for the eighth consecutive year
At 2,252,800 vehicles (+1 %), unit sales by the Mercedes-Benz brand were once again slightly higher than the record level of the previous year. C.02 Mercedes-Benz is thus once again the premium brand with the strongest unit sales in the automotive industry. Mercedes-Benz is number one in the premium segment in Germany and several other key European markets, as well as in the United States, South Korea, Canada and Japan. Furthermore, we significantly improved our position in China once again in the year under review. (tbc) Demand for Mercedes-Benz brand cars remained high in 2018. The development of unit sales of certain model series was significantly influenced by lifecycle effects, however. That includes the model changes in the compact class and the model upgrade for the high-volume C-Class. The division also faced higher import duties on vehicles sold in China but manufactured in the United States, as well as suspensions of deliveries that were imposed on some diesel models. Vehicle certification processes also took longer than usual in some cases, and this had an impact on availability.
C.02 Unit sales Mercedes-Benz Cars
| ||2018 ||2017 ||18/17 |
|in thousands || ||% change |
| || || || |
|Mercedes-Benz ||2,253 ||2,238 ||+1 |
|thereof A-/B-Class ||409 ||420 ||-3 |
|C-Class ||478 ||493 ||-3 |
|E-Class ||434 ||398 ||+9 |
|S-Class ||84 ||79 ||+6 |
|SUVs 1 ||829 ||823 ||+1 |
|Sports cars ||19 ||25 ||-22 |
|smart ||130 ||136 ||-4 |
|Mercedes-Benz Cars ||2,383 ||2,374 ||+0 |
|thereof Europe ||983 ||1,014 ||-3 |
|thereof Germany ||324 ||320 ||+1 |
|NAFTA ||393 ||403 ||-3 |
|thereof United States ||327 ||338 ||-3 |
|Asia ||921 ||859 ||+7 |
|thereof China ||678 ||619 ||+10 |
Our E-Class models were particularly successful in 2018: At 433,600 units (+9 %), E-Class sales once again reached a new record level. Our attractive range of sport-utility vehicles also performed well in the market again, with sales in this segment increasing by 1 % to 829,200 units. As was the case in the prior year, this positive development was primarily due to the GLC models, as well as high demand for our SUVs in China. Due to the model change, sales of C-Class vehicles decreased by 3 % to 477,700 sedans, wagons, coupes and convertibles. Sales of A- and B-Class models were also affected by a model change in the year under review, although the success of the new A-Class led to total deliveries – including the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake – of 409,300 units (-3 %). The S-Class was very successful in the market, with sales in this segment increasing by 6 % to 83,800 units in 2018. Our Mercedes-Maybach luxury brand played a major role in this positive development. With sales of 77,700 units (+7 %), the S-Class Sedan continues to be the world’s the bestselling luxury sedan.
A- and B-Class set new standards
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which has been available for delivery to customers since May 2018, is as young and dynamic as ever, but also more grown-up and comfortable than ever before. The vehicle completely redefines modern luxury in the compact class and revolutionizes interior design. The new A-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz model to be equipped with the all-new multimedia system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), which marks the dawn of a new era in Mercedes me connectivity, featuring natural speech recognition (“Hey Mercedes”) and artificial intelligence, both of which enable the system to adapt itself to the habits and preferences of the vehicle’s owner.
MrJWW presents the A-Class 2018 (Part 2): MBUX & Connectivity
The new A-Class also offers a number of features and driving assistance systems that were previously only available in luxury-class vehicles. For example, the car can, for the first time, drive in partially automated mode in certain situations.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018: Seamless Connectivity
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class was presented in Paris in October 2018. The model has a more dynamic appearance than its predecessor and displays greater agility on the road, while offering more comfort. Its avant-garde interior, which includes a distinctively designed instrument panel, makes for a unique feeling of space. The MBUX multimedia system in the B-Class is also a trailblazing feature – and thanks to state-of-the-art driving assistance systems, the B-Class boasts one of the highest levels of active safety in its segment.
Thanks in part to an additional underfloor SCR catalytic converter, A- and B-Class models equipped with the OM 654 q two-liter diesel engine are already certified in accordance with the Euro 6d standard, which will not become mandatory until 2020.
Relaunch of a bestseller: model update for the C-Class
The bestselling Mercedes-Benz model series, the C-Class, was optimized extensively for its fifth year of production. The exterior and interior were given a stylish makeover, and the onboard network is completely new, as are several other features and systems. The customer notices this directly with the User Experience feature, which includes as an option a fully digital instrument display and multimedia systems that offer customized information and music. The assistance systems in the C-Class are also now on par with those featured in the S-Class. The new C-Class series was launched with a new generation of four-cylinder gasoline engines. Some of the models come with an additional 48-volt system that includes a belt-driven starter motor/generator (EQ Boost). This system enables the implementation of additional functions that help to further reduce fuel consumption while also enhancing agility and comfort.
The new CLS: the third generation of the original
In 2003, the Mercedes-Benz CLS created a new vehicle category that for the first time combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan. With the third generation of the CLS, which has been available for delivery to customers since March 2018, Mercedes-Benz is now building more strongly than ever on the trendsetting model’s charisma and unique character. Like its predecessors, the third-generation CLS stands for self-assured sportiness in a highly emotive vehicle that offers impressive long-distance comfort and thrills customers with its technology.
The G-Class: an icon reinvents itself
The G-Class, the luxury off-road vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, has long been considered a design icon. Its external appearance has not changed significantly since 1979. Then as now, iconic elements have very specific functions – and also lend a unique appearance to the new G-Class, which has been available for delivery to customers since mid-2018. The new G-Class raises the bar in all relevant areas, including on- and off-road performance, comfort and telematics. The main goal of the development engineers was to redefine handling attributes in both on- and off-road driving. This goal was achieved, as the new G-Class displays even better performance off-road, while on-road it is significantly more agile, dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor.
Mercedes-Benz GLE: an SUV trendsetter reconceived
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE, which was presented in September 2018, features numerous innovations. The E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension system on a 48-volt basis, for example, is a world first, and the model’s driving assistance systems take another step forward with Active Stop-and-Go Assist. The interior offers even more space and comfort, and a third seat row is available as an option. The infotainment system has larger screens, a full-color head-up display with a resolution of 720 × 240 pixels and the MBUX Interior Assistant, which can recognize individual hand and arm movements and support personal operating intentions. The exterior design not only exudes presence and power, but also sets a new benchmark for aerodynamics in the SUV segment. The models equipped with the six-cylinder diesel engine are also already certified in accordance with the Euro 6d standard, which will not become mandatory until 2020. This was made possible by, among other things, the use of an additional underfloor SCR catalytic converter.
The Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles
Mercedes-Benz first presented its new product and technology brand for electric mobility at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. A milestone is set to be achieved in mid-2019, when the EQC (electricity consumption combined: 22.2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km, provisional figures)1 will become the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle to be launched under the EQ brand name. With its seamless and clear design and color highlights typical of the brand, the EQC is a trailblazer when it comes to an avant-garde electric appearance, even as it embodies the design idiom of progressive luxury. In terms of quality, safety and comfort, the EQC is the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles and a car that makes a convincing impression in terms of the sum of its attributes. The model also boasts highly dynamic performance, thanks to two electric motors at the front and the rear axle with a combined output of 300 kW. The sophisticated operation strategy utilized for the ECQ enables an electric range of up to 450 km according to the NEDC (provisional figure). With Mercedes me, the EQ brand offers comprehensive services that make electric mobility comfortable and practical for everyone. To sum up, the EQC symbolizes the start of a new mobility era at Daimler. Series production of the EQC will begin in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. Preparations are already in full swing. The new EQC will be integrated into the current production operations as an all-electric vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz EQC world premiere in Stockholm | Highlights
The model is part of a comprehensive electric offensive, as Daimler plans to offer more than ten all-electric models in the car segment. In addition, the EQ brand offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations. (See EQ)
E-Mobility: Mercedes-Benz is Electrifying the Future
Market launch of the world’s first electric vehicle with a fuel cell and plug-in hybrid technology
The Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle offensive also includes the GLC F-CELL (hydrogen consumption combined: 0.34 kg/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km, electricity consumption combined: 13.7 kWh/100 km)2. This SUV can run on electricity as well as hydrogen because it is equipped with a lithium-ion battery with plug-in hybrid technology in addition to its fuel cell. Intelligent interplay between the battery and the fuel cell, as well as short refueling times, make the GLC F-CELL a dynamic and practical vehicle for long-distance travel. The first GLC F-CELL vehicles were delivered to selected customers in November 2018.
GLC F-CELL goes into preproduction: Electric vehicle with fuel cell and battery
Mercedes-Maybach: perfection blended with exclusivity
Mercedes-Maybach stands for the highest levels of exclusivity and individuality. The luxury brand, which was launched in November 2014, combines the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of a Maybach. The Mercedes-Maybach brand’s first convertible was launched in the spring of 2017 in a limited edition of 300 units. A preview of the form the luxury brand might take in the future is offered by the concept cars Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 and Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet – a sensational coupe and a luxurious convertible.
Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet: Revelation of Luxury | Trailer
Mercedes-AMG: the sports-car and performance brand
The brand claim of “Driving Performance” reflects the two core competencies of Mercedes-AMG: the ability to provide an unparalleled driving experience and the ability to serve as a driving force in the high-performance segment. The Mercedes-AMG sports-car brand now enhances the fascination of Mercedes-Benz with 70 models. The brand’s dynamic vehicles especially attract young and sporty customers to the brand with the three-pointed star. Mercedes-AMG models differ extensively from their series-produced cousins in terms of both engineering and appearance, thus strengthening the authenticity and distinctive identity of the Mercedes-AMG brand. The new AMG GT four-door coupe is the third vehicle developed by Mercedes-AMG on its own. The model combines the impressive racetrack dynamics of the two-door AMG GT sports car with maximum suitability for everyday use – and enough space to accommodate up to five people.
20 years of smart – electric, urban, unconventional
The smart brand celebrated its 20th birthday in 2018. “Reduce to the max” was the motto of the smart brand when it began its mission of radically changing the nature of urban mobility back in 1998. Today, the brand is well on its way to making the founders’ original vision a reality with all-electric drive systems. This fact is also demonstrated by Daimler’s announcement at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018 that all smart electric drive models will be sold under the EQ product and technology brand name in the future. The “smart forease” concept car was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 2018. This extroverted design without a roof and the systematic focus on electric mobility clearly show that the electric future of the smart brand will be extremely attractive.
The range of services offered for the smart brand is being continuously expanded through the launch of “ready to” digital services. One example here is “smart ready to drop.” This service, which is linked to various cooperation partners in the logistics industry, enables parcels to be delivered to the trunk of a customer’s car and also allows for the pick-up of returns using the same system. “smart ready to share” enables private car sharing in closed groups – e.g. within a family, between friends or at small companies – in an extremely user-friendly manner with the help of an app that eliminates the need to hand over keys to the next user. A new service here is “smart ready to pack,” which employs a sophisticated algorithm to tell shoppers while they’re still making their purchases whether and how everything will fit into the smart’s trunk. The new smart EQ control app has been available since August 2018. It contains a large amount of information on the car, such as the current charge level, and can control vehicle functions such as the auxiliary climate control system.
The smart brand sold a total of 130,000 vehicles in 40 markets worldwide in 2018.
Global production network – digital, flexible, green
Within the framework of its growth and modernization strategy, the Mercedes-Benz Cars division is continuously developing its flexible and efficient production network of more than 30 locations on four continents – all in line with the philosophy of “digital,” “flexible” and “green.” “Factory 56” at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen is an impressive example of this. A key feature of Factory 56 involves all-round connectivity along the entire value chain – from development and design to suppliers, production and customers. The assembly hall stands out through a particularly flexible production system that utilizes state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies. Factory 56 also creates a new modern world of work that focuses on employees and takes their individual requirements more strongly into account. Factory 56 will serve as a blueprint for all future vehicle assembly operations at Mercedes-Benz Cars worldwide. It obtains its energy from CO2-neutral sources that include a photovoltaic system installed on the roof.
The Car Factory of the Future: Factory 56
The global production network is also being systematically aligned with electric mobility requirements. For example, electric vehicles from the EQ product and technology brand will be manufactured in the future within the framework of normal series production on the same lines used to produce vehicles with conventional combustion or hybrid drive systems. At the same time, we are expanding our global battery production network, which currently extends across three continents. Within the framework of its electric offensive, Mercedes-Benz Cars is not only focusing on locally emission-free vehicles, it is also consistently applying the emission-free approach to production: Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany are to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy by 2022.
Expansion of activities in China
Sales of Mercedes-Benz brand cars in China totaled more than 658,300 units in the year under review (+ 11 %), which means China was the brand’s largest single market for the fourth consecutive year in 2018. More than 70 % of the vehicles we sell there were manufactured locally at facilities operated by Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), the joint venture with our local partner BAIC. In view of the further growth potential offered by the Chinese market, Daimler and BAIC have announced plans to jointly invest more than RMB 11.9 billion (approx. €1.5 billion) in a second BBAC production facility in Beijing. The expansion of localization will enable Daimler to respond more effectively to increasing market demand by offering local models especially tailored to Chinese customers’ needs, including electric vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz EQ brand. The local presence of the Mercedes-Benz brand in China is being continuously expanded with the help of a broad range of products that currently encompasses seven locally manufactured cars and vans. The all-electric EQC sport-utility vehicle is to follow in 2019.
Best Customer Experience
“Best Customer Experience” (BCE) is a global sales and marketing initiative that was launched by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division in 2014. The initiative focuses on expansion into new markets and market segments and the development of innovative products and services. Our goal here is to make the Mercedes-Benz brand more attractive to new and also younger target groups while also strengthening the brand loyalty of established customers. To this end, the sales organization and marketing activities are to be aligned more closely with customer requirements, which are changing at an ever-faster pace as a result of digitalization. Our “Customer Centricity” philosophy puts the customer at the center of everything. The idea is to ensure personal communication with the customer for everything from the initial contact to advice, test drives, purchases and aftersales services. Here, Mercedes-Benz is using the omnichannel approach to offer customers various possibilities to establish contact with the brand and flexibly utilize different sales channels – all in line with customers’ personal preferences. To this end, a variety of sales formats, new digital elements and job profiles in the retail sector are now being linked. This approach supplements the physical experience offered by traditional Mercedes-Benz showrooms.
With the “She’s Mercedes” initiative, we are working to make the brand with the star more appealing to women in particular and to increase the proportion of female customers. Along with community and inspiration platforms, the initiative also offers training for sales staff and seeks to increase the number of women in sales positions. She’s Mercedes was launched in 2015 and has since been implemented in more than 60 countries.
Mercedes me – digital premium services
Mercedes me is playing an important role in the further development of the Mercedes-Benz brand, as this digital ecosystem has a direct impact on key factors that ensure success. Mercedes me is meanwhile live in 44 countries, which means it covers most of the world’s major automotive markets. Mercedes me connect enables customers generally to connect to their vehicles from anywhere and at any time. The average activation rate of the Mercedes me connect service for new Mercedes-Benz vehicles is over 90 %, which shows how important it is to Mercedes-Benz drivers that their cars are connected and that drivers expect to enjoy all the digital services and offerings that such a connection makes possible. Highlights from the Mercedes me connect range of services include the Live Traffic Information real-time traffic service (including car-to-x communication), digital keys stored on smartphones, and “Hey Mercedes” natural speech recognition with support from artificial intelligence systems.
Mercedes me services are also available for our EQ models – or in some cases were developed especially for them. They include Mercedes me Charge for access to public charging stations in Europe. In addition, the EQ Ready app helps drivers decide whether it makes sense for them to switch to an electric car or a hybrid model.
#HIGHFIVE: a year for the history books
The year 2018 was the most successful motorsports year in the history of Daimler AG. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport captured both the World Drivers’ Championship and the World Constructors’ Championship in the Formula 1 racing series for the fifth consecutive year. The team thus once again underscored its exceptional status and technical expertise, culminating in the hybrid drive system used in the Mercedes F1 W09 EQ Power.
Party Time In Brazil! 2018 F1 World Championship Celebrations!
After announcing that it would pull out of the DTM series after 30 years, Mercedes-AMG went on to take all three DTM titles in 2018. With 11 Driver’s Championships, seven Manufacturers’ Championships, 14 Team Championships and 190 first-place finishes, Mercedes-AMG is the most successful brand in the history of DTM. Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing can also look back on a very successful season in 2018, as customer teams participated in more than 1,100 races and were able to capture numerous victories and titles. Mercedes will begin a new chapter in its motorsports history in December 2019, when the brand will join the Formula E electric motorsport series with the new Mercedes EQ Formula E team. Participation in the Formula E series will enable us to demonstrate the performance capability of our intelligent battery-electric drive systems in a motorsports setting as well, and it will also add an emotive component to the EQ brand.
1Figures for electricity consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional, non-binding figures calculated by an external technical service. Figures for vehicle range are also provisional and non-binding. An EU type-approval certificate and a certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. The figures given above may deviate from the official figures.
2Figures for fuel consumption, electricity consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional and non-binding. They were determined by an external technical service for the certification process according to the provisions of the WLTP test procedure and correlated with the NEDC values. An EU type-approval certificate and a certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. The figures given above may deviate from the official figures.