Daimler says to cut jobs to save EUR1B

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – Daimler said yesterday it planned to cut jobs to save more than EUR1 billion by the end of 2022, as the German luxury carmaker grapples with an expensive switch to greener vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz maker has also been hit by expensive recalls, a slowing global market and a EUR870 million fine for having sold vehicles that did not conform with legal emissions limits.

“By the end of 2022, Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to save more than EUR1 billion in personnel costs. To this end, jobs are to be reduced,” the company said in a statement.

The statement did not say how many jobs would be slashed overall in the cars division – Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans employs around 175,000 people worldwide – but they are expected to be in management and administrative roles. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung last week reported, citing an email sent to staff by the group’s works council, that Daimler was to cut 1,100 management jobs worldwide.

“The expanded range of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles is leading to cost increases that will have a negative impact on Mercedes-Benz Cars’ return on sales,” it added.

The company said it was faced with “ongoing high investment” to conform to global emissions regulation. Like its rivals, the Stuttgart-based firm is spending billions in the shift towards the electric, autonomous vehicles of the future.

The German car industry as a whole is also confronting weaker-than-expected growth, weighed down by United States (US)-China trade conflicts and Brexit uncertainty.

The setbacks pushed Daimler into a net loss of EUR1.2 billion in the second quarter, its first three-month loss in 10 years.

It returned to quarterly profits in July-September and said it was expecting 2019 revenues to be “slightly above” last year’s, while operating profit would be “significantly below” EUR11.1 billion in 2018.

In its statement yesterday, the company said it was capping its investment in research and development and in property, plant and equipment at the 2019 level and this would be reduced “in the medium term”.

The company said it would also reduce variable costs by EUR250 million and personnel costs by EUR300 million by the end of 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Trucks Europe, another division.

File photo of the main entrance of German luxury car manufacturer Daimler in Berlin. PHOTO: AFP