Published on April 3rd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mercedes Is Taking No Chances, Outpacing BMW Globally
At the moment it is clear that Mercedes is on a roll, outpacing BMW and its other German rival, Volkswagen Group’s Audi. Mercedes’ worldwide volume grew 16% in the first two months to roughly 284,600 vehicles, thanks in part to its best selling Mercedes GLA crossover which rivals the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. BMW sales rose 8.3% to 277,300 vehicles while Audi’s sales gained 3.6% to 260,215. Last year, BMW brand sales increased 5.2% to 1.91 million, while Mercedes increased 13% to 1.87 million. Audi’s volume was up 3.6% to 1.80 million.
Mercedes also bested its rivals in profitability last year, its operating margin expanding to 9.5% from 8% in 2014. BMW’s core auto business dropped to 9.2% from 9.6% in 2014. Audi’s operating profit fell to 8.3% from 9.6%.
As a reward, Dieter Zetsche, who has run Daimler for more than a decade, just got another contract extension while simultaneously laying out a clear succession plan for after 2019, with Ola Kaellenius, currently head of Mercedes sales and soon to be head of product development, leading the field.
Zetsche also brushes off skepticism that Mercedes’ product cycle is merely peaking after a much-lauded stretch that began with the A-class redesign in 2012 and has concluded with the new E-Class. He argues that it is precisely now, when the group is so profitable, that Daimler has chosen to raise investments by 40%.
With an average of six models launched every year, Zetsche has told reporters and analysts that Daimler is more protected than ever from the ups and downs of product life cycles.