Daimler announces better than expected third-quarter results

BERLIN (AFP) – German carmaker Daimler on Thursday announced better than expected third-quarter results, citing an unexpectedly strong market recovery after sales were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year.

The auto giant’s third-quarter earnings, before interest and tax, hit EUR3.07 billion (USD3.59 billion), thanks to “a faster than expected market recovery,” especially in September, the company said in a statement.

The car industry has been battered by lockdowns across the world that shuttered factories, closed showrooms and kept customers at home for weeks on end earlier this year.

Between April and June, Daimler posted a net loss of EUR1.9 billion, compared with a net loss of EUR1.2 billion a year earlier, but even when announcing those second quarter figures in July the company said it expected a “positive” end to the year.

“The third quarter shows a very strong performance and provides further proof that we are on the right path to reducing the break-even of our company,” said Financial Director Harald Wilhelm.

A Mercedes-Benz E-Class car stands on the podium as decoration for the annual press conference of the German Daimler AG in Stuttgart, southern Germany. PHOTO: AP

“We expect positive momentum to continue in the fourth quarter.”

Earlier this month Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler said it plans to slash costs by 20 per cent by 2025, including through staff adjustments, as it struggles to re-focus on the luxury electric-vehicle market.

Daimler will also concentrate on its luxury branding, including building up its AMG, Maybach and G marques.

The Stuttgart-based company didn’t detail the impact on staff, but in November 2019 it said that it plans to save EUR1.4 billion (USD1.6 billion) in personnel costs by 2022 and eliminate at least 10,000 jobs through voluntary departures or early retirements.

German media have since estimated as many as 30,000 job might be on the line now as the auto industry confronts fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has pursued a restructuring plan since Ola Kallenius took over as CEO in 2019, before the pandemic upended the industry as lockdowns shuttered factories and closed showrooms in the spring.

It also contended with the fallout of the “dieselgate” scandal that started with fellow German carmaker Volkswagen in 2015.

In August, Daimler agreed to settlements worth USD2.2 billion over emissions cheating software in its diesel vehicles in the United States.