STUTTGART, Germany Feb 7 (Reuters) - German carmaker Daimler expects the first three months to be the hardest in 2013, when a stronger second half buoyed by its new S-Class flagship will help it achieve stable profits.
"For market and model-cycle reasons, the first quarter is likely to be the weakest of the year," finance chief Bodo Uebber said in a copy of a speech to be given at the group's annual news conference on Thursday.
Daimler has launched a programme to save 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) at its Mercedes-Benz passenger car division by the end of next year, a third of which will already be achieved in 2013.
"Roughly 40 percent of the entire savings are to be achieved by reducing material costs," Uebber said.
($1 = 0.7387 euros) (Reporting By Christiaan Hetzner)