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Daimler defies gravity with big China sales

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Daimler defies gravity with big China sales
A Mercedes-Benz production line in Sindelfingen, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA
12:20 CEST+02:00
Stuttgart-based car maker Daimler – owner of Mercedes-Benz – has bucked industry-wide trends for decreasing profits, in part by outdoing other German brands in China.

While the company's industry-wide forecast suggests zero growth in sales this year over 2014's number, Daimler itself has significantly boosted its business.

"Daimler was above all able to de-couple itself from the restrained development in the market in China," the company's finance chief Bodo Uebber told journalists in a teleconference on Thursday.

Daimler sold 277,000 cars in China, which is the world's biggest car market, between January and September 2015 – an increase of 27 percent over the previous year, and not far off its target of 300,000 for the whole year.

"Overall we think that we can keep growing into 2016," Uebber predicted.

Fears of damage to "brand Germany" have also proven unfounded for Daimler in the weeks since the emergence of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.

"Our sales have been going as planned in recent weeks," Uebber said, adding that the company would continue to bet on diesel cars – despite revelations on Thursday that yet more VW cars may be affected.

Worldwide, Daimler sold around half a million cars between July and September, making a profit of €2.8 billion – less than last year's figure, which was boosted by the sale of shares in Rolls Royce.

Daimler's margins in its core car-making business stood at 10.4 percent, outdoing its own target of 10 percent for the first time in four years and beating rivals Audi and BMW.

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