Group EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of Daimler plummeted by almost 80 percent year-on-year to 617 million euros (666 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, the German carmaker announced on Thursday.

According to preliminary figures, net industrial liquidity of Daimler declined by 1.7 billion euros to 9.3 billion euros. Free cash flow also went down by 300 million year-on-year to minus 2.3 billion euros.

Under the “continuing effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daimler’s board of management believed that “the original forecast for the financial year 2020, as disclosed in connection with annual report 2019, is no longer valid.”

Given the “anticipated market development and the assessment of our divisions,” Daimler expected group EBIT, adjusted return on equity as well as industrial free cash flow for the financial year 2020 to be “below the prior year.”

After a “good start to the year in January,” Mercedes-Benz, the core brand of Daimler, ended the first quarter of 2020 with worldwide retail unit sales decreasing by 14.9 percent year-on-year to around 475,000 cars.

Prior to the announcement of the financial Q1 result, Daimler stressed to keep focusing on its target of a fully carbon-neutral passenger car fleet by 2039 after the German-based carmaker published its sustainability report 2019 on Wednesday.

In order to achieve this goal, Daimler aimed to “increase significantly” the sales of passenger cars with plug-in hybrid drive systems and all-electric drive systems to more than 50 percent by 2030.

After a four-week standstill in large parts of production due to the coronavirus pandemic, Daimler as well as German carmakers Volkswagen and Audi have announced that they had successively ramped up production at several plants in Germany.

Daimler would also initially start production at some locations with one shift, and two or three shifts at others, according to Wilfried Porth, member of the board of management of the Daimler AG, responsible for human resources.

Following the announcement of the preliminary business results, Daimler was among the gainers of the German DAX index of the country’s 30 largest listed companies, with its share increasing by 0.88 percent on Thursday morning. Enditem

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