2013 was a strong year for the stock exchanges – and for Daimler shares it was especially strong. The value of your company increased by 52 percent over the year, and thus significantly surpassed the positive trend of most indices. This positive development shows us two things: Our current business development is good, and the markets are confident that we can perform even better in the future.
Last year, our revenue reached € 118 billion– a new record in Daimler’s history. EBIT from the ongoing business amounted to € 7.9 billion. As previously announced, we significantly improved our profitability as the year progressed. At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose an increase in the dividend to € 2.25 per share. With this proposal we are letting our shareholders participate in the Company’s success and at the same time expressing our confidence about the ongoing business development.
What I see as the most important achievement of the past financial year isn’t apparent from the financial statements at first glance: It’s the enormous efforts with which the entire Daimler team made all of this possible last year. The good results of all our divisions are thanks to your exceptional work and ideas. Together, we created the basis for sustainable success in 2013.
The focus at Mercedes-Benz Cars last year was on the new S-Class. This car has always been the touchstone for our brand promise: “The best or nothing.” That applies to the design of our flagship; but more importantly, it also applies to the technology inside it: No competitor is more advanced than we are in the area of autonomous driving. At the same time, we have been able to attract a lot of new and younger customers with our new compact models. That’s another reason why Mercedes-Benz was the world’s fastest-growing premium automotive brand in 2013.
With our trucks and buses, we were the first manufacturer to renew our complete portfolio in the context of changing over to the Euro VI emission standards. And the reward for that was increasing market share. At Mercedes-Benz Vans, we put our new flagship on the road last year – the Sprinter – and further strengthened our leading position in that segment.
At Daimler Financial Services, we set a new record in 2013: For the first time, the number of all vehicles we currently financed or leased passed the three-million mark. And car2go, the pioneer amongst the car-sharing providers, remains on its growth path: In 2013, car2go was available in 25 cities; some 10,000 cars were on the road for nearly 600,000 customers.
Other highlights of 2013 can be found on the following pages. They all prove one thing above all: Daimler is on a growth path. And we intend to accelerate in 2014.
To those ends, we are continuing our product offensives in all divisions. With our cars, we are launching a total of eight new models this year – from the smart to the S-Class Coupe. We will extend our range of emission-free vehicles with the B-Class Electric Drive. And with the V-Class, a unique multi-purpose vehicle with a star on the front is entering the showrooms.
But 2014 is first and foremost the year of the new C-Class. It’s a prime example of many of the new strengths of the star – from top-class quality to groundbreaking assistance systems. The C-Class is also a crucial car for our further growth in China. The repositioning of Mercedes-Benz in that market is bearing the first fruit.
Also in the truck business, we are ensuring that our sales momentum will stay strong in the coming years. We have completed the family of Mercedes-Benz trucks with the new heavy-duty semitrailer tractors from Actros and Arocs. In India, we will present new BharatBenz models. And in the US market, a new Western Star truck will have its world premiere.
Daimler Financial Services supports our growth with appropriate financing and leasing offers. And we are also expanding our range of mobility services. By the end of this year, we aim to have one million enthusiastic users of car2go. With the project car2go black, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are part of our car-sharing program for the first time.
Our goal across all our divisions is clear: We want to continue growing – and that means growing profitably. In parallel with our product offensives, we are therefore pushing ahead with our efficiency programs in all divisions. After the successful implementation of short-term improvements, the long-term measures are now gaining prominence – from the expansion of our module and architecture strategy to the restructuring of our organization within the framework of Customer Dedication. The main purpose of that program is clear: getting even closer to our customers and their needs.
But just as important as the right structure is the right spirit. Sustainable corporate success can only exist on the basis of ethical actions. This is why we devote 100 percent commitment and determination to sustaining our high standards for integrity and compliance. They are and will remain the foundation of everything we do.
All in all, it’s clear: The components of our corporate strategy are gradually coming together into one. Our product offensives are firing, our efficiency actions are taking effect, and our investments are bearing fruit.
On this basis, we will continue working with all our efforts so that in the long term, Daimler remains what it already was last year: a worthwhile investment for you – our shareholders.