Short profile of Mercedes-Benz Cars
Unit sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars (MBC) reached another record level in 2018, and turnover was at the same high level as in the previous year. All in all, and despite considerably less favourable conditions, MBC performed very well following the record figures achieved in the previous year.
We continued our model initiative with great vigour in 2018. Important new models included the A-Class, the G-Class, the CLS and the facelifted models in the C-Class. Furthermore, we presented the first series production vehicle under our new e-mobility brand EQ, the new GLE, the new B-Class and a number of plug-in hybrid models, including diesel variants. To ensure that we can continue to service the demand for our vehicles rapidly and flexibly in the future, our global production network with more than 30 locations on four continents is undergoing systematic further development.
Unit sales, turnover and operating result at a continuing high level
The business unit Mercedes-Benz Cars comprises the Mercedes-Benz brand with the sub-brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the smart brand and the product & technology brand EQ for e-mobility. In the reporting year, the business unit performed well in a highly competitive environment: despite difficult conditions, unit sales in 2018 reached a total of 2,382,800 (prev. year 2,373,500) vehicles, a new record level. At 93.1 billion euros, turnover was close to the high level of the previous year. The continuing market success of our attractive SUVs and the E-Class made a major contribution to this. Following the record figure for the previous year, EBIT fell to 7.2 (prev. year 8.8) billion euros. In Europe Mercedes-Benz Cars sold a total of 982,700 (prev. year 1,013,800) vehicles. Increases in the high-volume markets of Germany (+ 1 %) and Spain (+ 3 %), and a continuing high level in France were offset by declines in Great Britain (- 7 %) and Italy (- 5 %). In China the business unit continued its success in the reporting year, with unit sales increasing by 10 % to 677,700 vehicles. We also achieved new unit sales records in other Asian markets – for example in India (+ 1 %), South Korea (+ 1 %) and Thailand (+ 5 %). In the NAFTA region, unit sales at 392,600 vehicles failed to reach the high level of the previous year: there was a decline in both the USA (- 3 %) and Canada (- 2 %), while unit sales in Mexico increased by 7 %
Mercedes-Benz achieves its eighth record year in succession
With unit sales of 2,252,800 vehicles (+ 1 %), the Mercedes-Benz brand again slightly exceeded its record figure for the previous year. This once again makes Mercedes-Benz the best-selling premium brand in the automobile industry. In Germany and a number of key European markets, as well as in the USA, South Korea, Canada and Japan, we are the number one in the premium segment. Moreover, we have significantly improved our position even further in China. In 2018, the passenger cars produced by Mercedes-Benz continued to be in high demand, however developments in unit sales were heavily influenced by life-cycle effects in different model series. These include the model changeovers in the compact class and the facelift of the high-volume C-Class. Another factor was increased import duties in the Chinese market on vehicles produced in the USA, and delivery stops for a number of diesel models. In some cases vehicle certification also took longer than usual, and affected availability. The models in the E-Class were particularly successful: all in all, unit sales reached a new record level of 433,600 vehicles (+ 9 %). Our attractive range of SUVs also proved popular in the market once again. Unit sales increased by 1 % to 829,200 vehicles. As in the previous year, this was in large measure due to the GLC models and the high demand for our SUVs in China. Influenced by the model changeover, unit sales of the C-Class fell by 3 % to 477,700 Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet models. The reporting year was also affected by the model changeover with respect to the A/B-Class. However, thanks to the success of the new A-Class, and including the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, 409,300 (- 3 %) vehicles were delivered. The S-Class performed very strongly in the market. Our overall unit sales in this market segment increased by 6 % to 83,800 vehicles. Our luxury brand Mercedes-Maybach made a major contribution to this. With 77,700 units sold (+ 7 %), the S-Class Saloon continues to be the world’s best-selling luxury saloon.
A and B-Class: new standards in the compact class
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which has been in customers’ hands since May 2018, is as youthful and dynamic as ever, and as mature and comfortable as never before. It completely redefines modern luxury in the compact class, and revolutionises interior design. The new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the completely new multimedia system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience, which adapts to the vehicle's owner with natural language recognition (“Hey Mercedes”) and applies artificial intelligence to usher in a new era in Mercedes me connectivity. Moreover, the new A-Class features a number of functions and driving assistance systems that were previously reserved for the luxury class. For the first time it can drive in semi-automated mode in certain circumstances. 2018 saw the launch of the A-Class Saloon as the new entry-level model for the Mercedes-Benz brand, especially in the USA. The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class was presented in Paris in October 2018. It looks more dynamic than its predecessor and is more agile on the road while offering greater comfort. Its avant-garde interior and the distinctive design of the dashboard create an unrivalled impression of spaciousness. The infotainment system MBUX is also a trailblazing feature of the B-Class. State-of-the-art driving assistance systems give the B-Class one of the highest standards of active safety in the segment. With the two-litre OM 654 q diesel engine, and partly thanks to the additional underfloor SCR catalytic converter, the A- and B-Class are already certified according to the Euro 6d standard which only comes into force from 2020.
C-Class: New edition of a best-seller
The best-selling Mercedes-Benz model series, the C-Class, entered its fifth year of production with extensive improvements. The design of the exterior and interior benefits from a stylish makeover. Completely new features include the electronic architecture. The customer benefits from a user experience that can be further enhanced by the option of a fully digital instrument display and infotainment systems with customisable information and music functions. The assistance systems are now at the level of the S‑Class. A new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines is being launched in the new C-Class. Some of these models now have an additional 48-volt system with a belt-driven starter-alternator (EQ Boost). This creates the conditions for additional functions that help to lower fuel consumption further and improve both agility and comfort.
The new CLS: third generation of an original
In 2003, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment with the CLS, for the first time combining the elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. With the third generation of the CLS, which has been in customers’ hands since March 2018, Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness in exemplary style: a highly emotive vehicle that achieves impressive long-distance comfort and thrills with its technology.
The G-Class: an icon reinvents itself
The G-Class, the luxury off-roader from Mercedes-Benz, has long been a design icon. Its external appearance has not changed significantly since 1979. Iconic features continue to perform very specific functions and lend the new G-Class, deliveries of which commenced in mid-2018, its unique appearance. The new G-Class raises the bar even higher in all relevant areas – in terms of performance and off-road, as well as in comfort and telematics. The primary development goal was to redefine the quality of handling both on and off the road. This goal has been achieved: the new G-Class performs even better off-road, while on the road it is significantly more agile, dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor.
The new GLE: trendsetting SUV refined even further
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE presented in September 2018 is full of innovations. For example, the active suspension system E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL on a 48-volt basis is a world first. The driving assistance systems are advanced even further with Active Stop-and-Go Assist. The interior is even larger and more comfortable, and a third seat row is available on request. The infotainment system has larger screens, a full-colour head-up display with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and the MBUX Interior Assistant, which can recognise hand and arm movements and supports operating intentions. The exterior design not only exudes presence and power, but also sets a new standard for aerodynamics in the SUV segment. Moreover, the models with the six-cylinder diesel engine are already certified according to the Euro 6d standard, which only becomes mandatory from 2020. This is made possible by an additional underfloor SCR catalytic converter, for example.
The new EQC: the Mercedes among electric cars
It celebrated its world premiere in September 2018, and in mid-2019 the EQC (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, provisional figures)1 will come onto the roads as the first Mercedes-Benz model under the new product and technology brand EQ. With its seamless, clear design and colour highlights typical of the brand, it is a pioneer for an avant-garde electric look while representing the design idiom of progressive luxury. With respect to quality, safety and comfort the EQC is the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles, and highly convincing in the sum of its attributes. These elements are accompanied by dynamic performance, thanks to two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 300 kW. Thanks to a sophisticated operating strategy, the EQC delivers an electric range of up to 450 km according to NEDC (provisional figures). EQ offers comprehensive services and makes electric mobility convenient and practical for everyday use with Mercedes me.Series production of the EQC will start at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen in 2019. The EQC is part of a comprehensive electric initiative: Daimler plans to launch more than ten all-electric vehicles in the car segment alone. Furthermore, the EQ brand offers a comprehensive system of products, services, technologies and innovations.
GLC F-CELL: the world's first electric vehicle with fuel cell and plug-in hybrid technology
The electric initiative by Mercedes-Benz also includes the GLC F-CELL (combined hydrogen consumption: 0.34 kg/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, combined power consumption: 13.7 kWh/100 km)2. This SUV can be "refuelled" with both hydrogen and electric power, as in addition to a fuel cell stack it has a lithium-ion battery with plug-in hybrid technology. The intelligent interaction between the battery and fuel cell, plus short refuelling times, make the GLC F-CELL a dynamic vehicle suitable for day-to-day motoring and long distances. The first examples were handed over to selected customers in November 2018.
Mercedes-Maybach: Perfection blended with exclusivity
Mercedes-Maybach stands for the greatest exclusivity and individuality. This luxury brand introduced in November 2014 combines the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach. The absolute flagship model is the S 600 Pullman (combined fuel consumption: 14.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 330 g/km)3 with an opposed seating arrangement behind the glass partition. Since March 2018, a new radiator grille with slim, vertical struts and new, exclusive colour combinations in the interior have enhanced the appearance. At the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz presented the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury. The design of the crossover, based on an exclusive high-end saloon and an SUV, follows the philosophy of sensual purity. The show car combines the comfort and typical virtues of both body variants.
1Electric energy consumption and range have been determined on the basis of Regulation (EC) No. 692/2008. Electric energy consumption and range depend on the vehicle configuration.
2 Figures for fuel consumption, power consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional and were determined without binding effect by the Technical Service for the certification process according to the WLTP test procedure, and correlated with NEDC figures. The EC type approval and a conformity certification with official figures are not yet available. Deviations between the figures and the official values are possible.
3The stated figures were determined according to the prescribed measuring procedure. These are the NEDC CO2 figures according to Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. Further, country-specific information about the available vehicles, including WLTP figures, can be found at www.mercedes-benz.com
Mercedes-AMG: the performance and sports car brand
The brand claim “Driving Performance” combines the two key areas of expertise at Mercedes-AMG: an incomparable driving experience and the role of the brand as a driving force in shaping the performance segment. With a portfolio of 70 models, the sports car brand Mercedes-AMG heightens the fascination of Mercedes-Benz still further. The new AMG GT 4-door Coupé is the third model developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG. It combines the impressive race-track dynamism of the two-door AMG GT sports car with the greatest possible everyday usability, offering space for up to five people. The world premieres of the limited-edition special Mercedes-AMG GTR PRO model (combined fuel consumption: 12.4 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 284 g/km)3 and the revised Mercedes-AMG GT series were the centrepiece of the Mercedes-Benz presentation at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2018. The entry model to the world of Driving Performance is the new Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC (combined fuel consumption 7.4–7.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 169–167 g/km)3, which had its world premiere in Paris in October 2018.
smart – electric, urban, unconventional
The smart brand celebrated its 20th birthday in 2018. “Reduce to the max” was the motto with which smart set out to make radical changes to urban mobility in 1998. Today the brand is well on the way towards realising the original, all-electric vision of its founders. In March 2018, Daimler duly announced at the Geneva Motor Show that in future the smart electric-drive models would be marketed under the product and technology brand EQ. The “smart forease” concept car was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 2018. Its extrovert design with no roof and an uncompromising e-mobility configuration sent a signal that the electric future of smart will be extremely attractive. In 2018, we sold a total of 130,000 smart vehicles in 40 worldwide markets.
Global production network – digital, flexible and green
As part of its growth and modernisation strategy, the business unit is continuously developing its flexible and efficient production network further with over 30 locations on four continents, under the watchwords “digital”, “flexible” and “green”. One impressive example is “Factory 56” at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. 360-degree networking along the entire value creation chain is a key characteristic of Factory 56 – from development and design to suppliers, production and the customer. The assembly shop is dedicated to particularly flexible production with modern Industry 4.0 technologies. A modern working environment is also being created, placing the focus on the workforce and taking their individual needs more heavily into account than before. Factory 56 is the blueprint for all future vehicle assembly operations at Mercedes-Benz Cars worldwide. It is partly supplied with CO2-neutral energy by a photovoltaic system on the roof. The global production network is also being systematically readied for e-mobility. Future electric vehicles under the product and technology brand EQ will be integrated into existing series production, and assembled on a single line together with models with conventional combustion engines and hybrid drive. In parallel with this, we are expanding our global battery production network on three continents. In the course of its electric initiative, Mercedes-Benz Cars is not only concentrating on locally emission-free vehicles, but also systematically following this approach in production: by the year 2022, all Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany are to have a CO2-neutral energy supply.
Stronger presence in China
The Mercedes-Benz brand sold a total of 658,300 vehicles in China in 2018 (+ 11 %). For the fourth year in succession, this makes China the most important individual market for Mercedes-Benz Cars. More than 70% of vehicles sold in China come from local production at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), which we operate together with our local partner BAIC. In view of further growth potentials, Daimler and BAIC have announced that they will jointly invest over 11.9 billion RMB (approx. 1.5 billion euros) in a second BBAC production location in Beijing. This expansion of local production will allow Daimler to respond better to increased market demand with local products that are specifically tailored to the needs of Chinese customers, among them electric vehicles under the Mercedes-Benz brand EQ. The long-wheelbase A-Class Saloon celebrated its premiere in 2018. The local presence of the Mercedes-Benz brand in China is being continuously strengthened with a wide portfolio of currently seven locally produced cars and vans. The all-electric EQC off-roader is to follow in 2019.
Mercedes me – digital premium services
Mercedes me has a very important role for the future of the Mercedes-Benz brand, as this digital eco-system directly addresses decisive success factors. Mercedes me is now live in 44 countries, and therefore covers a major part of the automobile world. Mercedes me connect enables customers to connect with their vehicles from anywhere and at any time. The average activation rate of Mercedes me connect services for new Mercedes-Benz vehicles is over 90%. This shows that Mercedes-Benz drivers want their Mercedes-Benz to be connected, and expect corresponding digital services and packages. Highlights in the Mercedes me connect service portfolio include the real-time traffic report service Live Traffic Information including Car-to-X, the digital vehicle key in the smartphone and natural language recognition (“Hey Mercedes”) supported by artificial intelligence. The services of Mercedes me are also available for our EQ models, or are being specially developed for them: for example Mercedes me Charge for access to public charging stations in Europe. And the EQ Ready App helps car drivers to find out whether switching to an electric or hybrid car would be appropriate for them.
#HIGHFIVE: a year for the history books
2018 was the most successful motor racing year in the history of Daimler AG. In Formula 1, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport won both the driver’s and the constructor’s world championship for the fifth time in succession. In so doing, the team once again demonstrated its exceptional expertise and know-how, culminating in the hybrid Mercedes F1 W09 EQ Power drive system. After 30 years in the DTM, Mercedes-AMG departed from the series with a triple victory in 2018. Mercedes-AMG is the most successful brand in the history of the DTM, with eleven driver titles, seven manufacturer titles, 14 team titles and a total of 190 race victories. In the customer racing sector, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport can also look back on a highly successful 2018 season. Customer teams worldwide took part in over 1,100 races and were able to celebrate numerous victories and titles. In December 2019, Mercedes will open a new chapter in its motorsport history. The brand will take part in the electric Formula E motorsport series with the Mercedes EQ Formula E team. This will enable us to demonstrate the performance of our intelligent battery-electric drive systems in motorsport and create positive associations for the EQ brand.