Overall Assessment of the Economic Situation
In the opinion of the Board of Management, the Daimler Group’s economic situation continues to be generally satisfactory at the time of publication of this Annual Report, although overall conditions for our business are significantly less favorable. This development was not without an influence on our financial success. Nonetheless, we continued to pursue our strategy with great determination and also with the corresponding allocation of funds. We will continue to follow the course we have set in a disciplined manner in order to remain competitive in the long term and to grow profitably. Our goal is clear: We aim to continue to be a leading vehicle manufacturer while evolving into a leading provider of sustainable mobility.
In order to achieve that goal, we have prioritized five components, which are closely interlinked. Within the framework of our 5C strategy, we want to
- strengthen the global core business (CORE),
- lead in new fields of the future (CASE),
- adapt the corporate culture (CULTURE) and
- strengthen the divisional structure (COMPANY).
The focus of our activities is on our fifth and most important C: our customers (CUSTOMER). We are aligning our processes and our organization with a strong customer focus and aim to develop the best product and mobility solutions for and with the customers.
We succeeded in strengthening our core business also in the yea
In the year under review, Daimler sold a total of 3.4 million cars and commercial vehicles (2017: 3.3 million), Contributions to this growth came primarily from the divisions Daimler Trucks (+1
Daimler Financial Services’ business developed positively once again i
On this basis, the Group’s revenue also increased, by
The Daimler Group’s operating profit (EBIT) of €11.1 billion was significantly lower than in the previous year (€14.3 billion). The Daimler Trucks division increased its EBIT significantly, while the other divisions posted partially significant decreases. In the overall vehicle business, our EBIT of 6.
We regard it as an ongoing task to strengthen the Group’s earning power and secure it in view of future challenges. At Mercedes-Benz Cars, we further developed Fit for Leadership as an efficiency program and firmly established it in the organization. With Fit for Leadership, we aim to achieve further improvements in earnings of €4 billion b
As a result of the positive development of earnings, we again achieved a very good return on net assets of 14.
The fact that our key financial metrics remain very solid was also confirmed by the rating agencies:
The Group’s overall equity ratio and the equity ratio of the industrial business reached 22.
To be able to implement our growth strategy with new products, innovative technologies and modern production capacities, we once again increased the advance expenditure to secure our successful future, from an already very high level by a total of €1.2 billion to €16.6 billion in the year under review: €9,1 billion for research and development (2017: €8.7 billion) and €7.5 billion for property, plant and equipment (2017: €6.7 billion). In the application of these funds, we are increasingly concentrating on the CASE future fields of connectivity (Connected), automated and autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use and services (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). We intend to be leaders in each of these areas and to utilize additional potential by linking up the four areas. To that end, we plan to launch more than ten all-electric cars.
We see great growth opportunities in the area of electric mobility in particular. By the yea
We are progressing with electrification also with our commercial vehicles. The Group is focusing on areas of application in which e-mobility is also economical. I
With the further development of autonomous driving, we rely on the one hand on technical assistants and on the other hand on automated systems that take customers from A to B without a driver. Mercedes-Benz Cars has demonstrated its strong position in the field of technical assistants with the S-Class. On the other hand, we are developing automated systems that can be used without a driver or can be shared with others.
Daimler Financial Services is continuously investing in the development of a comprehensive mobility ecosystem. car2go is a leading company for flexible car sharing. In the ride-hailing segment, the Daimler subsidiary mytaxi is one of the leading providers of app-based taxi services in Europe, and with moovel, we offer our customers a platform with which they can optimally compare, combine, book and pay for various mobility services. In order to upscale rapidly for on-demand mobility, the mobility services car sharing, ride hailing, parking, charging and multimodality of today’s Daimler Mobility Services and the BMW Group are to be merged and strategically expanded. To successfully transition from vehicle producer to full-range supplier of innovative mobility solutions, we must adapt our company to face new challenges. In doing so, we aim to combine the flexibility and risk culture of the digital industry with the perfection and innovativeness of our company’s strong traditions. Together with our workforce, we are therefore developing a new and flexible corporate culture under the roof of Leadershi
With the components CORE, CASE, CULTURE and COMPANY, we are aligning the Group towards the customers’ requirements (CUSTOMER). In this way, we are setting the course for a successful future. This is precisely why we can continue to look forward to the coming years with great confidence.