After reporting 2015 was its most successful year in its history, Daimler AG has announced first quarter unit sales significantly above the prior year level at 683,900 vehicles across all markets. Revenue was up by 2% to €35bn/£27.23bn, whilst Group EBIT was down to €2,148m/£1,671.12m (Q1 2015: €2,906m/£2,260.84m). Unit sales by Daimler Buses of 4,800 buses and bus chassis were significantly lower than the 5,700 units sold in the first quarter of 2015. The decrease was primarily caused by the continuation of the very weak business with bus chassis in Latin America, which was not offset by ongoing strong demand for complete buses in Western Europe, where the bus division sold 9% more buses and chassis than in the prior year period. In Latin America (excluding Mexico) unit sales were down by 26% compared with the number sold in the first quarter of 2015.
The bus division’s revenue of €830m/£645.73m was below the prior year level of €877m/£682.3m. First quarter EBIT amounted to €39m/£30.34m (Q1 2015: €34m/£26.45m) and return on sales increased to 4.7% (Q1 2015: 3.9%). The persistently difficult economic situation in Brazil and also the associated decline in demand for chassis negatively affected earnings. Strong demand for complete buses, a positive product mix in Europe and positive exchange rate effects, more than offset the negative impact in Brazil. Daimler expects a slightly larger market volume in western Europe in 2016 than in 2015. Following the substantial drop in demand for buses in Brazil, further significant market contraction is anticipated in full year 2016. Daimler Buses assumes it will be able to defend its market leadership in its core markets for buses above eight tonnes with innovative and high quality new products. For the year 2016, the bus division anticipates total unit sales at the prior year level.