Small growth, but eight record year for Mercedes sales

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The worldwide sales figures of the various car manufacturers in 2018 start pouring in. For Mercedes sales, the victory flag is held high for the eight consecutive year, but not as high as before, because the growth is disappointing.

With 2.31 million delivered cars (2,310,185 units), there is (fortunately) still growth. With an 0.9 percent increase, however, it is the lowest reported plus in ten years. Moreover, the cautiously rising Mercedes sales success story is almost entirely attributable to China, where 652,996 cars with the three-pointed star were handed over to customers. Thus, China, with a recorded sales increase of 11.1%, was once again the company’s biggest sales market – not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but worldwide. Overall, Mercedes-Benz delivered more passenger cars than ever before in one year also in Japan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea, with 943,473 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars delivered to customers in the entire Asia-Pacific sales region (+7.8%).

In the two other major markets – Europe and the United States – the sales figures actually decreased. In the Europe region, a total of 933,697 passenger cars were delivered to customers in 2018 (-2.3%). SUVs, the S-Class Saloon and the new A-Class recorded the highest growth. In the United States, Mercedes delivered 315,959 vehicles (-6.3%), keeping the market leadership in the premium segment for the third year in a row. Including Canada, 378,013 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars were sold (-5.6%) in the NAFTA region.

Particularly in the second half of the year, Daimler suffered from the stricter emission requirements in Europe due to the introduction of the WLTP test cycle. Elsewhere, the trade war between China and the US led to setbacks. Because both causes are not exclusive to Daimler, it is expected that other luxury brands will also come up with slightly disappointing results.

As far as individual model results are concerned, the C-Class continues to be highest-volume Mercedes-Benz car with 397,000 units sold in 2018. With 820,721 units sold and a growth rate of 1.9%, Mercedes-Benz SUVs made a significant contribution to the sales success of last year. The best-selling SUVs last year were the GLC and the GLA. Meanwhile, every fourth car sold by Mercedes-Benz was a compact car, 609,000 clients opting for a new A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake or GLA. The new A-Class recorded global growth of 3.4% in 2018. At the other spectrum of the range, Mercedes-Benz flagship shined with double-digit sales growth worldwide: 77,927 units of the S-Class Saloon were sold in 2018 (+12.2%). The performance arm, Mercedes-AMG, delivered more than 118,000 vehicles in 2018 (-10.4%).

As far as the ranking of the company, Mercedes is not expected to give up its position as the largest of all ‘premium brands’ anytime soon, as it remains the best-selling premium brand in the automotive industry for the third year in succession.

2018 Mercedes-Benz Cars sales 

December 2018 Change in % Jan.-Dec. 2018 Change in %
Mercedes-Benz 206,532 +6.7 2,310,185 +0.9
smart 10,290 -13.5 128,802 -4.6
Mercedes-Benz Cars 216,822 +5.5 2,438,987 +0.6
Mercedes-Benz unit sales in the regions/markets
Europe 82,740 +9.7 933,697 -2.3
– thereof Germany 27,528 +27.6 303,862 +0.1
Asia-Pacific 81,054 +11.5 943,473 +7.8
– thereof China 49,907 +3.7 652,996 +11.1
NAFTA 37,449 -7.3 378,013 -5.6
– thereof USA 32,016 -9.1 315,959 -6.3