Daimler Q3 profit rises 16% as CLA boosts compact-car demand

Sales of Mercedes compacts surged 91% in September as the automaker added the CLA to the lineup.

FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- Daimler AG said earnings before interest and taxes rose 16 percent to 2.23 billion euros ($3.08 billion) from 1.92 billion euros a year earlier in the third quarter, as a wider lineup of compact cars helped it gain ground on competitors.

Revenue increased 5.3 percent to 30.1 billion euros.

Daimler forecast 2013 EBIT from ongoing business to fall to 7.5 billion euros from the previous year's 8.1 billion euros on spending for new models.

Sales at the Mercedes-Benz brand last month increased faster than at its bigger luxury-auto competitors BMW and Audi as the addition of the CLA coupe helped compact deliveries almost double.

Mercedes offers a range of 23 cars and SUVs, up from 19 six years ago. The automaker is spending to develop another 13 all-new models in the next eight years, including the GLA compact SUV due in showrooms in early 2014.

The four-door CLA joined new versions of the A-class hatchback and the B class in the compact line in April. Mercedes also started selling a revamped E class that month. Mercedes started deliveries of its new-generation S class, its most expensive sedan, in July.

Record sales

The BMW, Audi and Mercedes brands are all targeting record global deliveries in 2013 on growth in China, the United States and South America to offset a sixth straight drop in annual industrywide sales in Europe.

In the past month, Mercedes has outlined plans to return to carmaking in Brazil by 2016, and stuck to a 67 percent expansion in South African production by mid-2014 in a strategy to meet emerging-market demand with local output.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has set a target for Mercedes to overtake BMW and Audi as the world's top-selling luxury-car manufacturer by 2020.

Mercedes's growth in China, the world's largest automotive market, had been hampered by a distribution structure that split distribution of locally made and imported vehicles. The carmaker combined the sales units last December. In August, Daimler said it will invest 2 billion euros to double local production to more than 200,000 vehicles.



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