The year 2013 was dominated by product off ensives at all of our divisions. Our innovative vehicles, pioneering technologies and efficient production processes set new standards in automobile manufacturing and strengthened our position on international markets, thus laying the groundwork for further growth.
Dear Shareholders, the Supervisory Board dealt intensively and comprehensively with the strategic and operational development of the Daimler Group in seven meetings during the 2013 financial year.
Daimler’s share price gains 52 % over the year. Global stock markets developed very positively in 2013, supported by the expansive monetary policy of the central banks and the easing of the European sovereign debt crisis. The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board propose an increased dividend of €2.25 per share (prior year: €2.20). We off er investors and analysts a comprehensive range of investor relations services. Daimler took advantage of the high level of liquidity on international capital markets to refi nance its operations at attractive terms.
Our overriding corporate goal is to achieve sustained profitable growth and thus continually increase the value of the Group. We aim to attain the leading position in all of our business segments. To achieve that goal, we have defined four strategic growth areas for the Group. We will implement measures related to those areas in the coming years within the framework of the growth strategies of our divisions. These strategies will be accompanied by efficiency programs to ensure that our growth has a solid financial foundation.
Efficient Operation - Profitable Growth. Daimler is growing faster, on a broader front and in more markets than ever before. This growth is based on extensive product offensives in all our divisions. We are expanding our product range, creating new segments and specifically addressing regionally different customer requirements. And in doing all of this, one thing is crucial: We don’t want to grow at any price, but with sustainable profitability. That’s why the efficiency programs in the divisions are an additional key element of our growth strategy. Find out more in the section Efficiency & Growth of this Annual Report.
The year 2013 was very successful for Daimler overall. We significantly increased our unit sales and revenue, and continuously improved the profitability of our divisions as the year progressed. We thrilled our customers with numerous new products. And we set new standards with pioneering innovations, above all with regard to the safety and environmental compatibility of our vehicles. In the year 2014, we will continue our growth offensive and further enhance the efficiency of our processes.
2013 was another record year for Mercedes-Benz Cars. Unit sales, revenue and production reached all-time highs. As we anticipated at the beginning of 2013, EBIT displayed a clear upward trend as the year progressed. Our most important new model was the S-Class, a pioneer of automotive development that underscores our leadership in the luxury segment. Additional new models in 2013 were the new E-Class and the CLA compact coupe. We also unveiled the new GLA, a compact SUV. Targeted investment in our global production network and sustained improvements in efficiency have put us on track for further profitable growth.
Daimler Trucks. Daimler Trucks continued to forge ahead with its product offensive in 2013. The presentation of the new Mercedes-Benz Arocs and Atego models and of the Mercedes-Benz SLT, Econic and Unimog special trucks enabled Daimler Trucks to complete its Euro VI-compliant product range well before the stricter emissions standards came into effect at the beginning of 2014. The new product from Daimler Trucks North America, the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, has met with an outstanding market response. The BharatBenz brand’s expanded product lineup is also setting new standards on India’s roads. The new “Asia Business Model,” an excellence initiative of the “Daimler Trucks #1” program, reached a milestone when production of FUSO models commenced in Chennai, India.
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz Vans launched the new Sprinter — the global vehicle in the van segment. With its new safety and assistance systems, the Sprinter sets new standards in its class. Our unit sales increased in 2013 and we achieved double-digit growth rates in China, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Despite sharp market declines in Western European, we were able to improve our earnings. We are continuing our “Vans goes global” growth strategy. By starting production of the Sprinter Classic in Russia and strengthening our activities in China, we have laid the foundations for continued growth.
Numerous new products and the systematic continuation of the “GLOBE 2013” growth and efficiency program contributed to the turnaround at Daimler Buses. Higher unit sales and further efficiency progress led to a significant earnings improvement in financial year 2013. The division thus confirmed its leadership in the core markets of Western Europe and Latin America. During the year under review, the division focused on converting the entire European product range to Euro VI-compliant exhaust-gas technology. Daimler Buses set new standards in the luxury coach segment with the presentation of the new Setra TopClass 500.
At Daimler Financial Services, the number of financed or leased cars and commercial vehicles passed the three-million mark for the first time ever. New business and contract volume reached new record levels. The division also set a new record for brokering automotive insurance policies. At the end of 2013, the car-sharing program car2go had almost 600,000 customers and was the market leader in its segment. Once again, customers and dealers alike gave the Daimler Group’s financial services division very high marks.
Daimler’s divisions generally performed well in an market environment that remained difficult. We renewed our product range while continuing to increase our efficiency. We were able to improve our market position in many areas.
Daimler’s Board of Management and Supervisory Board are committed to the principles of good corporate governance. All of our activities are based on the principles of responsible, transparent and sustainable management.
The Consolidated Financial Statements presented as follows have been prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). They also comply with additional requirements set forth in Section 315a (1) of the German Commercial Code (HGB).