Hurdles abound for carmakers, from protectionism to digitalization. Yet their numbers have rarely looked so good.
Last week, Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche presented his shareholders with outstanding figures. Despite stiff competition and massive investments in cutting-edge technology, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer increased profits by 1.2 percent to €8.5 billion in the last fiscal year.
Daimler is just one example in the booming auto industry, according to a new study obtained by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) at the Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft business school in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne.
The world’s 17 largest car companies generated a profit of €104 billion ($111 billion) in 2016, according to the report, which has Handelsblatt has obtained. That is €10 billion more than in the previous year, and the highest overall gain in history.
“Automotive manufacturers have profited from seven huge years and have also reduced their costs,” CAM Director Stefan Bratzel told Handelsblatt, noting that the three most profitable companies – Toyota, Daimler and General Motors – accounted for 40 percent of the profits.
Sales also increased by 2.3 percent to 78.1 million vehicles. That too is a record.