FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Daimler AG said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net profit rose 18 percent as the company's flagship Mercedes-Benz brand reaped fat returns on new SUV models.
Net profit hit 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), up from 1.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. Group revenue rose 1 percent to 41 billion euros.
Booming profits at Mercedes-Benz outweighed losses at the company's truck business, which lost sales in Turkey and the Middle East. Operating earnings at the luxury brand rose 53 percent to 2.56 billion euros, driven by higher vehicle prices and sales of new SUVs.
For the full year, Daimler made 8.7 billion euros net profit, up slightly from 2015.
CEO Dieter Zetsche said the company's strong profits equipped it to confront challenges from new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.
"Those who wish to shape the future of the automobile at the forefront of the automotive industry need both financial strength and innovative skill," Zetsche said in a statement. "In 2016, we demonstrated that the combination of these two factors at Daimler is stronger now than ever before."
The company is working on a new EQ brand of electric vehicles and has signed an agreement with ride-hailing company Uber to cooperate on building and operating self-driving vehicles. Under the deal Daimler would in coming years introduce autonomous vehicles that would operate through Uber's ride-sharing network.
The company said its profits from the full year meant it could pay up to $5,400 in profit-sharing bonuses to 130,000 eligible workers in Germany. They'll get the money in their April paychecks.