Mercedes-Benz Cars will continue its “Mercedes-Benz 2020” strategy in 2017. Overall, we intend to slightly increase our unit sales, thus reaching a new record level. We anticipate further growth above all in China and Europe. This is based on our attractive and young model portfolio, which is more diverse than ever before. The new E-Class models in particular should provide growth impetus. Both the sedan and the wagon versions will be available for the first time over a full year. They will be followed by the new E-Class Coupe this spring and by the E-Class Cabriolet in the summer. But we are well positioned also with our SUVs and the new sports cars that we launched in 2016. Furthermore, we will enhance the attractiveness of our product portfolio with various model upgrades. In particular with the new S-Class, we will strengthen our leading position in the field of automated driving and connectivity. And we will push forward with our Best Customer Experience sales and marketing strategy. For example, the range of services offered by Mercedes me connect will be gradually expanded and rolled out in 20 additional markets. Furthermore, we will enhance the attractiveness of the Mercedes-Benz brand with increasing digitization in retailing and with additional service functions.
In the coming years, we will focus our product portfolio even more closely on future requirements. The acronym CASE stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric: These four future-oriented strategic areas will define the mobility of the future. The main challenge consists of intelligently linking up those four areas. We are actively tackling this challenge by promoting the related activities through an organizationally independent unit. Daimler, and in particular Mercedes-Benz Cars, play a leading role in all four areas already today. For example, the “Concept EQ” study that had its world premiere in Paris last year provides a clear outlook on a completely new generation of vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. It shows the possibilities that will be offered for customers by closely linking up the CASE areas. The study is also the starting signal for the new EQ brand, under which Mercedes-Benz will bring together all the key aspects for customer-oriented electric mobility. In line with the intelligent linking up of the CASE areas, the new brand covers a broad spectrum: It ranges from electric vehicles to wall boxes, charging services, home energy storage and sustainable recycling solutions.
The new electric smart (electricity consumption combined: 13.1 - 12.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km), which can be experienced as of spring 2017 not only as a fortwo, but for the first time also as a forfour, is a key element of our electric offensive. Additional growth opportunities are presented by the “ready to” services, which we launched in 2016 and are successively expanding this year. They augment the spectrum of a vehicle’s use, especially in the city, thus creating significant added value for the customer.
Daimler Trucks anticipates total unit sales in the year 2017 in the magnitude of the previous year. In the three major regions, Europe, North America and Japan, we also anticipate a stable level of unit sales overall, supported by a stronger second half of the year. After last year’s significant market correction in the segment for heavy-duty trucks in the NAFTA region, our unit sales in 2017 should be at the prior-year level. This development will be driven also by the new Freightliner Cascadia, our flagship in the North American market, which went into production at the beginning of 2017. We assume that we will consolidate our already strong market position in 2017. In a slightly declining market environment in the EU30 region, we anticipate unit sales in the volume of 2016. Our sales in Japan should also be at the prior-year level. In Brazil, we expect that along with a gradual market recovery, our unit sales should also be above the very low prior-year level. Also in India, we anticipate unit sales higher than in 2016.
Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to achieve slight growth in unit sales in 2017. We anticipate slight increases in sales of vans also in the EU30 region. In the context of our strategy for the division, “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global,” we launched the V-Class multipurpose vehicle and the Vito in 2016 also in China, the world’s biggest market for motor vehicles. This will additionally boost demand there in 2017. We aim to achieve further growth also with the Sprinter, which we will produce also in North America in the future. And in late 2017, we will enter the midsize-pickup segment with the X-Class, enabling us to further increase our worldwide unit sales in the long term.
Daimler Buses assumes that it will be able to defend its market leadership in its traditional core markets for buses above 8 tons with innovative, future-oriented and high-quality products. We anticipate total unit sales in 2017 significantly above the prior-year level. We assume that unit sales in the EU30 region will increase moderately. After the substantial decrease in unit sales in Brazil last year, we expect a significant recovery in 2017, but still at a very low level. A continuation of the positive development of unit sales is expected in Mexico.
Daimler Financial Services aims to achieve ongoing growth in the coming years. In the year 2017, we expect a slight increase in new business and further growth in contract volume. This will be primarily driven by the growth of the automotive divisions, especially Mercedes-Benz Cars. In addition, we are utilizing new market potential above all in Asia, and are making use of new and digital possibilities for customer contacts – in particular through the further development of our online sales channels. We see good growth opportunities also in the field of innovative mobility services, where we are active with the brands car2go, moovel and mytaxi, as well as with equity interests in the companies Blacklane and FlixBus.
On the basis of our assumptions concerning the development of automotive markets and the divisions’ planning, we expect the Daimler Group to slightly increase its total unit sales in 2017.