Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Daimler reports 1.5bn euro loss

Daimler truck, corporate image
Daimler's losses were much worse than forecast

Daimler has reported a net loss of 1.53bn euros ($1.93bn; 1.36bn) for the fourth quarter of 2008, after an unexpected fall in Mercedes-Benz sales.

The results were much worse than forecast, with analysts having predicted a loss of about 227m euros.

In the same quarter during 2007 it had made a profit of 1.7bn euros. It is Daimler's first quarterly loss since selling the Chrysler brand in 2007.

For 2008 as a whole, Daimler announced a net profit of 1.4bn euros, down 65%.

The truckmaker and luxury carmaker said 2008 had consisted of "a very good first half and a difficult second half".

We have the opportunity not only to overcome this exceptional situation, but to emerge from it stronger
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chairman

The car industry has been suffering from a global slump in demand.

Figures last week showed the number of new cars sold in Europe in January was down 27% compared with the same month in 2008.

'Strong position'

Daimler said global demand for cars could fall by another 10% this year because of the economic downturn.

However, despite the fall in Mercedes-Benz sales, Daimler sold 2.1 million vehicles in total in 2008, "nearly equalling" the number sold in 2007, the company said.

The firm added it was confident of its ability to survive the economic downturn.

"The Daimler Group is in a relatively strong position to meet the crisis," said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chairman.

"We have the opportunity not only to overcome this exceptional situation, but to emerge from it stronger. We are going to seize this opportunity."

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