Daimler profit warning looms; PSA's woes don't make sense, analyst says
Daimler is "moments away from a profit warning" and things should not be as bad as they are at PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. Those were some of the views shared by Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton during his presentation at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Monte Carlo last month.
Daimler is at risk because it is losing momentum in China, where June sales of its Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands rose just 4 percent to 16,857 and its half-year total in China increased just 8 percent to 99,391.
By comparison, Audi boosted sales 20 percent in June to 33,309 while six-month sales at China's luxury leader climbed 38 percent to 193,871. BMW also outgained Mercedes in China with sales increases of 13 percent to 23,930 in June and 31 percent to 158,956 through six months.
Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton expects this year to be tough for the non-German automakers in Europe.
While China accounts for 14 percent of Mercedes and Smart's total global sales, Warburton estimates that the country contributes 50 percent of Daimler automotive profits. He says Daimler insists the number is 30 percent.
Daimler is scheduled to report its first-half financial results July 27.
When it comes to PSA, Warburton said that he can't understand why things are as bad as they appear to be for Europe's second-largest automaker, which he estimates will report an operating loss of 1 billion euros this year.
He knows PSA is under huge pressure from Volkswagen Group in France, where the German automaker increased its market share to 11.3 percent last year from 10.1 percent in 2000, but the French firm is not at the bottom of a product cycle so the extent of the company's pain is hard to figure. Determining the core problems will remain difficult for outsiders because he says PSA won't meet with analysts.
Overall, Warburton said: "I have a hard time seeing a non-German company fighting their way out of this" current European debt crisis.
You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at firstname.lastname@example.org.