Mercedes-Benz Group has reported a disappointing set of first quarter results with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) at €3.9 billion, some 29.8% down on Q1 2023. Revenues were off 4.4% in the period at €35.9 billion.

Nevertheless, the company said its guidance for the year – with revenues flat on 2023, but EBIT slightly down, remains unchanged. “

“While we remain vigilant about the global macroeconomic and geopolitical outlook, we confirm our full-year financial targets for 2024,” said Harald Wilhelm, Chief Financial Officer of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

Sales of Mercedes cars were down 8% in Q1 at 462,978 units, while return on sales (RoS) for the division was down almost six percentage points at 9.0%. Mercedes said its cars division’s RoS for the year is forecast at 10-12%.

Mercedes-Benz Cars sales were described by the company as ‘solid in all regions except Asia.’ The company’s sales of cars in its largest market (737,000 units sold there in 2023) were down 12% in Q1. Foreign brands are being hit by soft prices in China after a price war deepened last year.

There was better news at Mercedes’ vans division with RoS in Q1 at 16.3% (Q1 2023: 15.6%). Mercedes-Benz Vans posted a strong start into the year with healthy net pricing supported by strong product mix. First quarter van sales were up 6.6% to 105,425 units, while EBIT was up 22.4% to €933 million.

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On cars, Mercedes also said current supply bottlenecks are ‘on the way to easing in regard to the GLC and E-Class, with further improvements expected’. The company also maintains that sales levels in the first quarter are ‘seen as the trough, with second quarter volumes expected to be better’. It said top-end vehicle sales will be ‘improving from first quarter levels, due to product transitioning’.