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Daimler Ponders Overhaul of Mercedes Vans Unit

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Daimler AG says it is reviewing the product lineup for its Mercedes-Benz Vans unit and pondering other steps to cut fixed costs and streamline the division’s management structure.

Mercedes van wholesales through the first half of 2019 rose 2% to 208,200 units, and revenue climbed 6% to €7 billion ($7.8 billion). Retail sales for the period climbed 7% to 169,300 vehicles.

But production fell 4% in January-June. More important, €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion) worth of special charges wiped out last year’s pretax profit of €324 million.

Daimler says the charges consist of €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion) related to legal and regulatory costs for diesel emission issues, €459 million ($510 million) for a product portfolio review and €340 million ($378 million) to replace explosion-prone Takata airbag inflators.

Marcus Breitschwerdt, who heads Mercedes-Benz Vans, tells reporters that the unit, which employs 26,000 people, hopes to cut costs without forced layoffs. He also hinted that the unit’s X-Class pickup truck may be dropped because of lower-than-expected sales.


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