After issuing preliminary results last week, Daimler has confirmed Q1 earnings that show a big COVID-19 crisis-induced decline and the company has also warned of a much weaker outlook for the year.

Daimler Group EBIT for the first quarter was put at EUR617m, 78% down on last year's Q1 result. Adjusted EBIT for the first quarter was EUR719m, 69% down on last year's pace.

The group's total unit sales decreased by 17% to 644,300 passenger cars and commercial vehicles (Q1 2019: 773,800) due to the global spread of the corona virus. Revenue slipped slightly by 6% to EUR37.2bn (Q1 2019: EUR39.7bn).

Daimler chairman Ola Källenius, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has substantial effects on the global economy – and our company. We took the proactive decision to stop production in March, and moved very quickly into cash preservation and cost management mode. As a consequence, Daimler ended the first quarter with a positive result and a robust liquidity. Now we have started with a gradual ramp-up of our production.

"At the same time, we are continuing to invest in key technologies, including electrification and digitalization. They are non-negotiable elements of our future."

After the world economy was already burdened in the course of the first quarter, its development would continue to be dominated by the corona pandemic during the rest of the year. The decisive factors will be when the pandemic will be under control worldwide, how long economic activity is limited until then, and which pattern of recovery will occur afterwards. From today's perspective, a significant decline in global economic output must be anticipated for the year 2020 as a whole.

Daimler reiterated that the original forecast for the financial year 2020, as disclosed in connection with annual report 2019, is no longer valid, with revenues and profit down on 2019.

Daimler said it is confident being well positioned to manage the business, both during and after the pandemic. As part of the measures already initiated to secure liquidity and reduce costs, Daimler will also reduce its spending on property, plant and equipment as well as on research and development compared with the previous year.

However, Daimler also said it will maintain upfront investments that are necessary to secure the future of company.