BERLIN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Sales of German carmaker Daimler's core brand Mercedes-Benz vehicles decreased by 6.7 percent in January compared to the previous month to a total of 180,539 cars sold, Daimler company figures published on Monday show.
Deliveries to China, on the other hand, rose by 4.8 percent. The main contributors to this growth were the long-wheelbase versions of the C-Class and E-Class sedans, both of which recorded double-digit growth rates in China.
"We are satisfied with the sales development in China. In January, for the first time we delivered more than 70,000 vehicles to the Chinese market in one month, marking a highly successful start of the year," a Daimler press representative told Xinhua on Monday.
Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz started the year 2019 with the "second best January ever," remarked Britta Seeger, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management.
The decline in sales was mainly due to model changes in the high-volume SUV and compact car segments, according to Daimler. In particular, the discontinuation of the B-Class, CLA and GLE models, each with a double-digit decline, had an "impact on total sales worldwide". The company expects model changes to continue to impact Mercedes-Benz car deliveries during the first quarter of 2019, while "exogenous challenges and geopolitical risks" are highly likely to characterize the year 2019 as a whole. Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz expects a slight increase in sales for 2019.
In Daimler's domestic market Germany, sales of Mercedes-Benz cars fell particularly sharply, by 11.9 percent. Similarly, sales in the United States also decreased by 11.1 percent.
Investors were not enthusiastic about the January sales figures of the DAX-listed carmaker. The price for Daimler shares initially fell by more than 1 percent to well below 48 euros (about 54.14 U.S. dollars) but has recovered since.
On Monday, the U.S. bank JPMorgan lowered its price target for Daimler from 77 to 69 euros and left the company's rating at "overweight". Analyst Jose Asumendi explained that a conglomerate discount of 10 percent had led to the lower price target. (one euro currently equals to 1.13 U.S. dollars)