MUNICH -- Daimler said earnings rose 5.6 percent in the second quarter as deliveries at its Mercedes-Benz unit soared even as the company set aside money for airbag recalls and legal charges.
The company stuck to its forecast for full-year results, saying they will improve slightly from 2015.
Daimler said earnings beat market expectations "significantly" after a second quarter in which adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose to 3.97 billion euros ($4.39 billion) in a preliminary tally, the automaker said in a statement.
Daimler said last week that Mercedes brand sales rose 12 percent through June to just over one million cars. The gain was more than double growth at BMW, where brand deliveries rose 5.8 percent to 986,557. Audi’s global registrations rose 5.6 percent to 902,272.
Adjusted EBIT at the Mercedes Cars unit fell 1.1 percent to 2.21 billion euros in the second quarter.
The company benefited from gains at its vans and buses unit, while earnings dropped at the trucks and the Mercedes Cars division. The result excludes almost 500 million euros in Takata Corp. airbag recalls as well as 400 million euros for legal costs that Daimler didn't explain.
Locked in a race for luxury-market leader with BMW and Audi, Mercedes has been in the process of rejuvenating its fleet, including a new version of the business-focused E class in March. The unit adjusted the value of its inventory by 284 million euros in the quarter.
Investors will ask the company about the unexplained legal costs, said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst with Evercore ISI.
"This pre-release comes at the most bizarre time," Ellinghorst said. "Just when Brexit has increased macro risks and Daimler has just recently warned on its trucks outlook, Daimler delivers a material beat."
Daimler is facing a lawsuit in the U.S. claiming that its BlueTec diesel vehicles violate clean-air standards when run at cooler temperatures. The carmaker declined to comment on whether the legal costs are linked to that suit, which it has called "baseless."
Among the divisions, the heavy-truck unit is still expected to see EBIT sink significantly below last year's level, while that of the vans division is seen significantly above.
Daimler is scheduled to publish full quarterly results on July 21.
Reuters contributed to this report.