German automaker Daimler, constructor of the luxury Mercedes brand today saw record unit sales on best ever quarterly earnings, lifting third-quarter operating profit by almost one third.
The strong sales showing indicated Daimler has so far managed to remain above the turbulence generated by the emissions-cheating scandal at troubled Volkswagen.
Net profit slid 15 per cent on the same period last year to 2.4 billion euros (USD 2.39 billion), but factored into that were exceptional financial items and last year’s one-billion-euro sale of Daimler’s stake in a Rolls-Royce power systems unit.
The Stuttgart-based group said it sold 720,000 units — 13 per cent more than in the July-September period last year, lifting revenues to 37.3 billion euros and operating profits, or those earned from a firm’s normal core business operations, by around one third to 3.6 billion euros — beating analysts’ forecasts of 3.4 billion.
Chairman Dieter Zetsche, said in a statement the results “speak for themselves”.
“We achieved a return on sales of 10 percent in the automotive business in the third quarter, and proved once again that we are pursuing the right strategy and are progressing with the right products and technologies,” he said.
Daimler said the group expected adjusted earnings before interest and tax from ongoing business to be significantly higher for the year as a whole than in 2014 even in a global market it saw as “heterogenous” for the coming months with Chinese demand notably on the slide as well as in Brazil and Russia.
The group said it believes that North America and Western Europe will in contrast make a “positive contribution” to its operations.
Demand for trucks and utility vehicles were hit by the fall off in Chinese demand but sales of Mercedes-Benz autos raced ahead 39 per cent on strong sales of C class autos and sport-utility vehicles in the Asian giant where it has plans to extend its dealer network.
While Volkswagen, maker of Mercedes rival Audi, prepares to count the multibillion cost of the pollution-cheating software scandal, Daimler financial director Bodo Uebber noted with satisfaction that the latter’s diesel sales appeared not to have suffered.
Uebber said he felt Daimler could dispel doubts over the scandal leading to “general suspicion” about diesel technology.
Daimler last month responded to a claim by German environmental protection association DUH that several manufacturers had engaged in emission manipulations” by denying it had itself rigged anti-pollution tests.
“A defeat device, a function which illegitimately reduces emissions during testing, has never been and will never be used at Daimler,” the group insisted, adding that that is true for “both diesel and petrol engines.”