Daimler suffers from drop in car sales in China

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LONDON (AP) — German carmaker Daimler endured a weak start to the year, echoing trouble at other major manufacturers, as a global economic slowdown weighed on sales, particularly in the big Chinese market.

The company said Friday that vehicle sales fell 4% to 773,800 units, with demand for its signature Mercedes-Benz luxury cars down slightly in almost all regions. The company noted that the overall market for cars was being weighed down by China, which saw a double-digit percentage drop in sales in the first quarter.

Daimler’s net income fell to 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in the first quarter from 2.3 billion euros during the same period a year earlier, while revenue dipped to 39.7 billion euros from 39.8 billion euros.

The company said that besides a fall in demand, there were problems with high inventories and bottlenecks in the supply chain.

“We cannot and will not be satisfied with this — as expected — moderate start to the year,” said Chairman Dieter Zetsche.

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Daimler maintained its earnings outlook for the year despite warning that the world economy is likely to continue to slow.

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