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Auto Industry

Daimler prepares shareholders for possible profit warning

German car- and truckmaker Daimler has announced it'll reassess its previous business assumptions for 2013 to check their validity. The company has continued to suffer from weak demand in Europe.

Stuttgart-based German carmaker Daimler on Wednesday told an annual shareholders' meeting in Berlin that weak demand in Europe would force the company to review the targets it had said itself for 2013.

The automaker had banked on increasing sales this year and in 2014 and posting earnings before interest and tax of about 8.1 billion euros ($10.6 billion).

Daimler's cautious outlook

Analysts said Daimler might be forced to announce a second profit warning in the space of a few months against the backdrop of a weak start to the current year in some key car markets, particularly Europe.

Restoring its old market position

"Not much tailwind is anticipated from the markets in the coming months," Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told the company's shareholder. "For Europe in particular, there are no signs of a trend reversal."

The car- and truckmaker said it would provide further information on its revised earnings outlook when publishing its first-quarter report on April 24. Data released last week showed domestic rivals BMW and Volkswagen's Audi remaining ahead of Daimler's Mercedes Benz in the race to be the world's top premium vehicle producer.

But Daimler announced Wednesday it was aiming to regain the lead in that segment by 2020. CEO Dieter Zetsche said his firm was currently investing record sums in renewing its brand spectrum and making production more efficient. He added the company would focus on upping its sales in China, the world's largest car market.

hg/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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