Daimler profits double on sales of Mercedes-Benz E-Class, SUVs

<I>Image: QuickPic</I>
<I>Image: QuickPic</I>

Frankfurt - German automaker Daimler AG says net profit doubled in the first three months of the year as sales were boosted by the new version of the company's Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan and its SUV line-up.

The company raised its profit outlook for the year, with CEO Dieter Zetsche saying in a statement Wednesday that earnings and sales would "significantly increase." The earlier prediction was for a slight increase.

Net profit rose to €2.80-billion from €1.40-billion in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 11% to €38.77-billion.

The company credits strong sales of the E-Class, which can come loaded with advanced driver-assistance features, and SUVs, which bring high per-vehicle profits. Earnings were also increased by a one-time plus of €183-million after new investors joined the company's 'HERE' mapping venture with other automakers and by currency exchange-rate shifts.

The net profit figure beat expectations for €2.4-billion as compiled by financial information provider FactSet.

Daimler gave a restrained outlook earlier this year as it reported setting aside more money for investment in research and development of new vehicles as it positions itself for possible changes in the auto industry, including more electric cars, car-sharing and eventually autonomous vehicles. The company is relying on strong profits from its Mercedes-Benz luxury car business to fund investment into new technology so it can adapt to shifting trends in how people buy and use cars.

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