FRANKFURT -- Daimler said a late-quarter recovery in demand spared the automaker from losing as much money as analysts were expecting.
The company reported a preliminary second-quarter loss of 1.68 billion euros ($1.9 billion) before interest and taxes in a statement Thursday.
Daimler said that this was an improvement on the consensus estimate for 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion), and that free cash flow and liquidity also held up better than expected.
Daimler and its peers were decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, with measures to contain the disease sending production plunging to levels last seen in the wake of World War II.
Although plants and showrooms have now largely reopened, business is returning unevenly, with car sales in Europe coming back more slowly than North America or China.
The results are "consistent with a generally improving commentary from German manufacturers in recent weeks," Philippe Houchois, a Jefferies analyst said in a note.
Volkswagen Group said Wednesday that orders have been gradually ticking up in Germany but warned the recovery remains shaky and future developments are difficult to predict.
Analysts say German automakers are well positioned to weather the fallout from coronavirus pandemic because of their diversified global footprints.
Mercedes-Benz deliveries in China, the brand's largest market, climbed to a record in the second quarter, and retail sales of its cars edged higher in June.
To keep the momentum going, the company is preparing to roll out new iterations of its flagship S-Class sedan, a key profit driver that continues to out-sell rivals including BMW's 7 Series.
The S Class will be flanked by an all-electric sibling, dubbed EQS, the first car to be based on a dedicated electric-car platform with a battery range of more than 435 miles.
CEO Ola Kallenius has said Mercedes plans to shore up its offerings especially in the lucrative segment of larger luxury vehicles.