Mercedes-Benz saw its strongest quarter ever, Daimler AG (DMLRY) said Friday, April 6, on strong China sales.
The German carmaker said Mercedes-Benz sold 237,307 in March alone, the bestselling month in the company's history, leading to the best quarter ever, with 594,304 customers taking delivery of their car, a 6% increase on the same three months last year.
The sales increase was driven by SUVs and growth in China. In the first three months of the year, SUVs were Mercedes-Benz's most popular segment with more than 211,000 customers taking delivery an increase of 12.5% on the same time period last year.
The biggest sales driver worldwide was China with a new record of 169,932 cars delivered from January to March, an increase of 17.2%. More than two thirds of all the cars sold there were also produced in China, Daimler said.
However, Daimler could be hurt by the brewing trade war between the U.S. and China, research has found. Analysts at investment firm Evercore ISI said Wednesday that the additional 25% additional threatened by China in retaliation to proposed U.S. tariffs would generate a $1.73 billion impact this year on German auto firms BMW and Mercedes owner, Daimler. In the case of Daimler, the 2018 cost was put at $765 million, based on 51,000 vehicles being exported to China. China already has a 25% tax on all globally imported cars.
In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of 78,474 cars in the first quarter, a decrease of 0.8%, but in the first quarter, Mercedes-Benz was the U.S.'s best-selling premium brand.
"We once again emphasized our claim to leadership in the first quarter: With sales of more than 237,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in March, we achieved our strongest-selling month of all time and our best-ever quarter," Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales, said in a statement.
Daimler shares were ex-dividend Friday, down 5.69% in Germany at €5.70.