Dr. Dieter Zetsche at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting: "Growth and efficiency: Daimler is staying the course."

Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:40am EDT

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BERLIN,  April 10, 2013  /PRNewswire/ --

* Affirmation of long-term strategy and goals
* Start of biggest growth program in the company's history  
* Efficiency programs to lead to savings of €4 billion  by end of 2014  
* Voting on a stable dividend of €2.20 per share

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080409/NYW017LOGO  )

"Growth and efficiency: Daimler is staying the course" is not only the motto of
today's Annual Shareholders' Meeting of Daimler AG, but also describes the
Group's strategic focus. Daimler is pursuing the goal of reaching the top of the
respective sectors. "We are Daimler. We don't only want to get better. We want
to beat the competition - on a permanent basis," stated Dr.  Dieter Zetsche,
Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz
Cars, with regard to the Group's goals, according to the text of his speech.  

"In 2012, Daimler continued to grow," Zetsche said about the past financial year
before an expected number of approximately 5,000 shareholders at the Berlin
Trade Fair Center (Berliner Messe). The Group achieved record unit sales and
revenue in 2012. Worldwide, 2.2 million vehicles were sold and Group revenue
increased by 7% to €114.3 billion (2011: €106.5 billion). Group EBIT amounted to
€8.6 billion (2011: €8.8 billion), and Group EBIT from the ongoing business
amounted to €8.1 billion (2011: €9.0 billion). Net profit increased to €6.5
billion (2011: €6.0 billion), and value added rose to €4.2 billion (2011: €3.7
billion).  

In view of the earnings achieved and the course of business in the year 2012,
the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board recommended the distribution
of a stable dividend of €2.20 per share (2011: €2.20). This represents a total
dividend of approximately €2.35 billion or a distribution ratio of about 40%.  

Affirmation of long-term strategy and goals  

Zetsche formulated clear objectives for the Daimler Group: "We strive to be a
sustainably competitive company that not only produces the S-Class, but which is
the S-Class."  

Daimler is pursuing the following specific targets of

* selling at least 1.6 million Mercedes-Benz passenger cars each year as of 2015
and leading the way in the premium segment also in terms of unit sales by 2020, 

* consolidating its leading role in the truck sector by selling more than
500,000 units in 2015 and over 700,000 units in 2020, and  
* growing also in its other divisions.

In addition to the growth targets, the Group has corresponding profitability
goals. In the medium term, it strives to achieve an average return on sales of 9
percent from its vehicle operations across all market and product cycles, with
return targets for the individual divisions of 10% for Mercedes-Benz Cars, 8%
for Daimler Trucks, 9% for Mercedes-Benz Vans and 6% for Daimler Buses. The
target for Daimler Financial Services is a return on equity of 17%.  

Growth strategies supplemented by efficiency programs  

"In order to achieve those goals, we have started the biggest growth program in
the company's history: Daimler is growing - at a faster pace, on a broader
scale, and in more markets than ever before," explained Zetsche at the Annual
Shareholders' Meeting.  

The goals are to be achieved on the basis of far-reaching product offensives in
all divisions, through expansion of the model ranges, the creation of new
segments and close adaptation of products and services to regional customer
requirements. Across all of its divisions, Daimler has focused on four strategic
growth areas in recent years: strengthening the core business, penetrating new
markets, expanding its leadership on green technologies and safety, and
implementing new types of mobility concept supported by innovations at the
interface between mobility and digital networking.  

Zetsche emphasized, however: "We don't want to grow at any price. Our growth has
to be sustainably profitable." To those ends, the growth strategies of the
individual divisions have been supplemented with effective efficiency programs. 


In the area of passenger cars, the Fit for Leadership efficiency program is an
integral part of the Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy. In the area of trucks,
the Global Excellence Strategy that started in 2005 has been reinforced with the
initiative Daimler Trucks Number One. Similar programs are in place at the other
divisions: Performance Vans 2013 at Mercedes-Benz Vans, Globe 2013 at Daimler
Buses and DFS 2020 at Daimler Financial Services. In total, this is expected to
improve the Group's cost position by €4 billion by the end of next year.  

For 2013 and the following years, the focus is on the consistent implementation
of the defined measures and programs. "The objective for this year is to stay
the course, continue our growth and enhance our efficiency," stated Zetsche.  

Unit sales in 2013 - status quo and expectations  

Many markets were weaker than expected at the beginning of 2013. That applies in
particular to the markets for cars and commercial vehicles in  Europe.
Nonetheless, in the first three months of this year, the Group sold more cars,
vans and buses than in the prior-year period.  

First-quarter wholesale shipments by  Mercedes-Benz Cars  increased compared
with last year by 1% (retail 3%). The division expects sales impetus from the
very good demand for the compact-class models, as well as from the CLA, the
third model in the compact class, the new E-Class and the new S-Class, which
will have its world premiere in May. Despite the difficult first quarter,
Mercedes-Benz Cars assumes that with expansion of the total car market of 2 to 4
percent, its wholesale shipments will increase in full-year 2013.  

Daimler Trucks  increased its market shares in the first three months of the
year, although wholesale shipments decreased by 6%. Thanks to Daimler Trucks'
global spread and its strong, continuously growing product portfolio, the
division anticipates slight growth in wholesale shipments as the year
progresses. This development will be supported by the new truck for the
construction sector, the Mercedes-Benz Arocs, and the new medium-duty truck, the
Mercedes-Benz Atego.  

First-quarter wholesale shipments by  Mercedes-Benz Vans  were slightly higher
than in the prior-year period (+3%). The division expects growth impetus from
the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which will be available as of
mid-2013. In regional terms, growth prospects are varied: While demand for vans
in  Western Europe  could continue to fall, the division anticipates a slight
recovery in  China  as well as sales stimulus in North and  Latin America.  

Wholesale shipments by  Daimler Buses  were better than in the first quarter of
last year (+23%). The division also expects an increase in wholesale shipments
for the full year compared with 2012. In  Europe, there will be contributions to
this growth from the new Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and the new Setra TopClass 500.
In  Mexico, the launch of an all-new product family of five coach variants and
city buses is being prepared.  

The growth of the vehicle divisions is also reflected by the development of 
Daimler Financial Services: Its new business once again increased in the first
quarter of 2013 compared with the same period of last year. In 2013, the
division intends to pass the mark of three million leasing and financing
contracts for the first time. Daimler Financial Services sees considerable
potential in the expansion of its business with innovative mobility services.  

Not much tailwind is anticipated from the  markets  in the coming months. For 
Europe  in particular, there are no signs of a trend reversal. Daimler will
therefore reassess whether its previous market-related assumptions for 2013 are
still valid and will provide further information regarding market and earnings
expectations for the Group and its divisions for the full year in the
first-quarter reporting.  

Thanks to new products and the efficiency programs now running, Daimler assumes
that earnings in the second half of the year will be higher than in the first
half.  

Zetsche is confident that these goals will be achieved: "The course we have set
is the right one - but we have to follow it. And we will follow it - undeterred
by the ups and downs of the markets. Consistently and persistently."

Further information from Daimler is available at:  
www.media.daimler.com  and  www.daimler.com

This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views
about future events. The words "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "estimate,"
"expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "should" and similar expressions
are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to
many risks and uncertainties, including an adverse development of global
economic conditions, in particular a decline of demand in our most important
markets; a worsening of the sovereign-debt crisis in the euro zone; a
deterioration of our funding possibilities on the credit and financial markets;
events of force majeure including natural disasters, acts of terrorism,
political unrest, industrial accidents and their effects on our sales,
purchasing, production or financial services activities; changes in currency
exchange rates; a shift in consumer preference towards smaller, lower margin
vehicles; or a possible lack of acceptance of our products or services which
limits our ability to achieve prices as well as to adequately utilize our
production capacities; price increases in fuel or raw materials; disruption of
production due to shortages of materials, labor strikes, or supplier
insolvencies; a decline in resale prices of used vehicles; the effective
implementation of cost-reduction and efficiency-optimization measures; the
business outlook of companies in which we hold a significant equity interest;
the successful implementation of strategic cooperations and joint ventures;
changes in laws, regulations and government policies, particularly those
relating to vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety; the resolution of
pending governmental investigations and the conclusion of pending or threatened
future legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties, some of which we
describe under the heading "Risk Report" in Daimler's most recent Annual Report.
If any of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions
underlying any of our forward-looking statements prove incorrect, then our
actual results may be materially different from those we express or imply by
such statements. We do not intend or assume any obligation to update these
forward looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the
date on which it is made.

About Daimler  
Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its
divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses
and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest
producers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial
vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing,
leasing, fleet management, insurance and innovative mobility services. The
company's founders, Gottlieb Daimler and  Carl Benz, made history with the
invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive
engineering, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility today: The
Group's focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and
superior automobiles that appeal to and fascinate its customers. For many years
now, Daimler has been investing continually in the development of alternative
drive systems with the goal of making emission-free driving possible in the long
term. So in addition to vehicles with hybrid drive, Daimler now has the broadest
range of locally emission-free electric vehicles powered by batteries and fuel
cells. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge
of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells
its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has
production facilities on five continents. Its current brand portfolio includes,
in addition to the world's most valuable premium automotive brand,
Mercedes-Benz, the brands smart, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso,
Setra and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of 
Frankfurt  and  Stuttgart  (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2012, the Group sold
2.2 million vehicles and employed a workforce of 275,000 people; revenue totaled
€114.3 billion and EBIT amounted to €8.6 billion.

SOURCE  Daimler Corporate Communications


Han Tjan, +1 212 909-9063; Florian Martens, +49 711 17-35014

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