Mercedes-Benz warns geopolitics, trade tensions to weigh in 2024

Mercedes-Benz on Thursday forecast lower returns on sales in 2024 across its cars and vans division, warning of the “exceptional” uncertainty caused by conflict in the Middle East and Russia, and tensions between China and the U.S.

Supply chain bottlenecks for critical components remained “a significant risk factor”, Mercedes-Benz said in a statement.

The potential for an “even more pronounced slowdown in economic growth” could also have an impact on automotive markets, it added.

The luxury car maker reported an adjusted return on sales in its car division of 12.6% for 2023, in line with its forecast, as inflation and supply chain-related costs as well as component shortages ate into its profits.

For 2024, it said it expected a lower adjusted return of 10-12% for cars and 12-14% for vans, down from last year’s 15.1%.

Over the course of 2023, the car maker warned of supply snags and inflation weighing on sales, with price wars particularly in the electric vehicle segment placing pressure on margins.

Still, Mercedes-Benz, the first of Germany’s three top car makers to report 2023 results, was expected to have the highest returns margin among the three, in part due to its strategy of passing higher costs to customers.

The luxury car maker raised its average price by 2% to 74,200 euros ($80,395.70) and increased spending on research and development for future technologies such as its MB.OS platform.

Group earnings before interest and taxes fell to 19.7 billion euros from 20.5 billion euros last year despite a 2% rise in revenue.


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