FRANKFURT -- Daimler (IW 1000/18) said Wednesday that large investments and generally weak markets hit its bottom line in the first three months of this year.
The company said that it booked net profit of 536 million euros (US$697 million) in the period from January to March, a drop of 60% from the 1.347 billion euros it booked a year earlier.
Operating profit tumbled 56% to 917 million euros on a 3% decline in revenues to 26.102 billion euros.
Overall unit sales were little changed at 501,600 vehicles worldwide, compared with 502,086 a year earlier.
"In the first three months of this year, many markets developed worse than expected for economic reasons, especially in Western Europe. Nonetheless, we maintained our unit sales and revenue almost at the levels of the prior-year quarter and gained market share in many segments," said chief executive Dieter Zetsche.
Chief financial officer Bodo Uebber said the decline in earnings reflected "both a shift in the regional structure of unit sales and a changed model mix at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans, as well as a decrease in unit sales by Daimler Trucks."
Daimler "is now in the middle of the most comprehensive growth offensive in its history. To these ends, we are investing large amounts in products, technologies and markets, which, in combination with the generally weak markets, led to a moderate start to the year 2013 in terms of earnings," Uebber said.
Looking ahead, Daimler lowered its full-year profit forecast, saying it expected full-year operating profit to be "below the previous year's level."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013