Dhe lack of computer chips and the corona lockdown in China caused Mercedes-Benz sales to drop sharply in the second quarter. From April to June, the Stuttgart-based carmaker delivered 490,000 cars, 15 percent fewer than in the same period last year, Mercedes-Benz announced on Monday. Missing parts and transport problems related to the lockdown in China, which affected the important commercial port of Shanghai, for example, slowed down production and deliveries. Sales in the most important single market, China, fell the most – by 25 percent to 163,700 units. In Europe, sales fell by ten percent to 154,300 vehicles.
In the first half of the year, the decline in the main business segment Cars was 16 percent with a total of 998,000 deliveries. However, Mercedes-Benz is expecting a better second half of the year and is therefore sticking to the annual forecast of a slight increase in sales compared to 2021, as a Mercedes spokesman explained on request. According to the Dax group, there is no lack of interest on the part of buyers, despite fears of inflation and recession: “Customer demand is still high,” explained sales manager Britta Seeger.
Record sales of luxury cars
Luxury models such as the Maybach and the electric cars from the EQ model series are in particularly high demand. In the highly profitable top segment, the Swabians sold more S-Class and Maybach luxury sedans, totaling 26,100 units, than ever before in a second quarter.
The compact car segment suffered the strongest decline of almost a third to 132,600 units. This is where the switch to pure electric cars like the EQA and EQB is progressing fastest. At 14 percent, their share of sales is above the average for Mercedes passenger cars of just under five percent.
The smaller Vans division was slightly below the previous year’s level with sales of 100,000 units worldwide in the second quarter. The production of models such as the Sprinter, Vito and V-Class also suffered from the chronic shortage of semiconductors, albeit not as badly as the main business.
Mercedes’ optimism for the second half of the year should also be fueled by developments in China. There, the recent recovery of the Chinese car market was even more noticeable in sales of new vehicles to dealers than previously thought. Around 2.5 million cars and heavy commercial vehicles were sold to dealers in June, 23.8 percent more than a year earlier, as the manufacturers’ association CAAM announced on Monday. That was a little more than announced in the preliminary figures from last week. Cars increased particularly strongly with an increase of 41 percent to 2.22 million units. In addition, the industry association PCA announced an increase in deliveries to end customers by 22 percent to 1.97 million cars on Friday.
For the current year, the CAAM expects sales of around 27 million new cars from manufacturers to dealers. That would correspond to an increase of three percent compared to the previous year. In June, sales from manufacturers to dealers rose again for the first time since February.
China is the most important single market for the German car groups Volkswagen (including Audi and Porsche), BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Managers such as VW CEO Herbert Diess expect the supply of chips for car production to ease in the current year. Diess recently described the situation in the People’s Republic as complicated, but the group sees some light. In any case, the country remains the market with the greatest growth opportunities. VW is the market leader in China.