Overall statement on future development

The conditions for our business at the beginning of 2020 are less favorable than in the previous year. Financial challenges are greater than ever due to the necessary transformation for a CO2-neutral future. This requires high levels of investment in electric mobility and wide-ranging structural adjustments. We are therefore systematically implementing our “Ambition 2039” for CO2-neutral mobility. In this context, we will utilize the potential offered by automated driving and digital services. The achievement of an appropriate return and a solid cash flow have absolute priority. This is the only way for us to play a leading role in the transformation for a CO2-neutral future. Comprehensive efficiency measures have therefore been defined at all divisions and at Daimler AG. The allocation of financial resources is managed transparently and stringently at the level of the parent company. Together with partners, we plan to develop new technologies and share development costs. In this way, we intend to continue our profitable growth in the medium term and to strengthen our leading position worldwide in all divisions.

As the inventor of the automobile, it is in our nature to constantly reinvent mobility. We aim to offer sustainable solutions for the mobility and goods transport of the future. We want to inspire emotionally and convince rationally. With our Mercedes-Benz automobiles, we are following this path with the goal of combining sustainability and modern luxury. And in the transportation and haulage business, we want to make our customers successful with innovative and highly efficient commercial vehicles.

The customer is at the center of our considerations, whereby the further development of our brand plays a decisive role. In Interbrand’s current Best Global Brands 2019 ranking, the Mercedes-Benz brand is the world’s most successful and valuable premium automotive brand. We want to make our brand even more unique in the future and position it in an even more customer-oriented manner. Especially in times of transformation, the emotional bond with our customers is more important than ever. Also with our commercial vehicles, our efforts focus on the customers and their benefits. We are developing technologies to further improve the total cost of transport and to develop safe and efficient solutions for the transportation and haulage tasks of the future.

The transformation is a long-term process of adjustment in which we want to implement our structures and processes together with our employees. With a workforce that is agile and willing to learn, we will develop the necessary skills for the new requirements. Our corporate culture creates the basis for the outstanding innovative strength of our employees. We live diversity. Integrity is our inner compass. It guides our actions and the relationships with our business partners.

In view of the challenging environment and the expected changes in mobility, we are consistently implementing our sustainable business strategy and thus shaping the transformation of the automotive industry from a leading position. Accordingly, our goal is to continue to be a leading vehicle manufacturer and at the same time to develop into one of the leading providers of connected mobility. In this way, we again achieved a number of pioneering milestones in 2019. And against this backdrop, we look forward with confidence to a challenging year 2020. While we expect the Group’s unit sales to slightly decrease and Group revenue to be in the magnitude of the previous year, we anticipate a significant increase in Group EBIT compared with the figure for 2019, which was impacted by numerous material adjustments.

Forward-looking statements
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 and tariff regulations; 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.

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.

The Divisions
Research and development