Daimler kicks off a round of second-quarter earnings results from Europe's top carmakers with a healthy set of numbers - prompting hopes that stronger sales in Europe will counter weakness in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports.
New models helped Daimler drive home a 12 percent rise in second-quarter operating profit. Cars from the Mercedes-Benz C and S class range were largely behind the increase. Although down from last year, the boost was better than expected, helping raise the company's overall earnings' to 2.4 billion euros. Profitability across the company, which includes Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Buses and Trucks all rose. Alistair McCaig is from IG. SOUNDBITE: Alistair McCaig, markets analyst, saying (English): "There's been a pick up in the sort of premium end of the range and once again Asian consumption seems to be picking up specifically after a bit of a lull in the early part of the year and they've also seen an improvement as far as the margins are concerned, creeping up about 7.9 percent." Europe's car market generally is enjoying a sustained recovery. Passenger car sales rose 4.3 percent last month, its 10th consecutive rise. France, Italy, Spain and Portugal saw some of the biggest increases. And Peugeot, who lost the most sales during the financial crisis was picked by Exane BNP Paribas as the strongest performer. SOUNDBITE: Alistair McCaig, markets analyst, saying (English): "It does give a bit more of stability to their longer term outlook with many of the emerging markets having numerous issues to contend with, which will undoubtedly disrupt their forward guidance as far as those markets are concerned." It's not clear yet whether the rebound in Europe's car market will sustain. Sales in Europe's biggest market, Germany actually fell 2 percent in June. Morale there is at its lowest level in two years according to the latest survey. And sales in Western Europe are still well below where they were in 2007.