Daimler sees significant rise in Q1 vehicle sales
Company on track to reach record full-year sales
Daimler AG said it expects first-quarter vehicle sales to grow significantly after it sold 16.6 percent more cars in the first two months of 2011 than a year earlier.
"After a strong start into the new year, our sales continued to develop positively in February," Joachim Schmidt, the sales chief of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars group, said in a statement on Thursday.
The company said it is on track to reach its full-year target of posting record vehicle sales this year, exceeding the 2007 level of 1.293 million cars.
In February, unit sales were up 10.0 percent, with a 10.3 percent increase in sales of Mercedes-Benz branded cars. Sales of Smart brand cars were up 6.6 percent.
Daimler posted a 2010 fourth-quarter profit margin of 8.3 percent, down from 9.5 percent in the third quarter, as the company boosted the Mercedes-Benz unit's development spending by 15 percent to 3.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion.)
Last month, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that growth this year will be constrained by factory limits rather than demand as customers snatch up the automaker's Mercedes-Benz cars. Delivery times for build-to-order cars in Germany have climbed to nearly 13 weeks on average compared with a typical waiting period of eight weeks.
10,000 new jobs
Last month Daimler announced plans to boost its global work force by 10,000 people this year. Alone in Germany, the automaker intends to create 4,000 new positions.
Recruitment plans in Germany include taking on approximately 1,900 apprentices and adding about 350 new engineers to work on alternative drive systems, lightweight construction, driver assistance systems and worldwide IT management.
Additionally Daimler is seeking 6,700 skilled workers worldwide, with emphasis being placed on new or expanded plants in Hungary, India and Mexico. In the U.S. the company wants to recruit 1,300 new employees for its truck plants.
In total, Daimler AG employed 260,100 people worldwide in 2010, 164,000 of them in Germany. Globally, this was 3,700 more than in 2009.