Daimler fourth quarter tempered by weaker Mercedes earnings as tariffs hit

Daimler fourth quarter tempered by weaker Mercedes earnings as tariffs hit

Daimler said its fourth-quarter operating profit fell 22 percent as trade wars and ballooning costs for developing electric and self-driving cars hit profits at Mercedes-Benz cars.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) dropped to 2.67 billion euros ($3.04 billion) in the fourth quarter, falling behind analyst expectations of 2.92 billion euros.

Mercedes-Benz said increased tariffs on vehicles imported from the United States to China and delivery stoppages for individual diesel models hit demand and resulted in weaker prices.

Daimler said the return on sales at Mercedes-Benz cars fell to 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 9.5 percent in the year-earlier period.

For 2019 Daimler said it expects a slight growth in unit sales, revenue and EBIT.