Mercedes-Benz substantially boosted sales in the first quarter, increasing deliveries by 12.7 percent to 280,552 units worldwide (Q1 2010: 248,958 units).
Sales of the brand rose once again in March, increasing by 7.7 percent despite having already achieved a high sales level in the same month last year. Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 118,357 passenger vehicles in March (March 2010: 109,882 units).
Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars: “Our sales were very good in the first quarter and once again rose at a double-digit rate. We also want to achieve year-on-year growth in the second quarter, for which we will particularly benefit from the new generation of the high-volume C-Class and the new SLK.” The customer response to both new vehicles has been outstanding during the cars’ launch in Europe. The new C-Class coupe, which went on sale on March 26, has also met with a very good customer response. “Based on our success in many markets and numerous new products, we want to achieve a new sales record in 2011,” Schmidt added.
Mercedes-Benz was able to boost sales in all regions in the first quarter. The development was particularly dynamic in China (incl. Hong Kong), where sales rose to the record level of 42,990 units (Q1 2010: 24,127). This increase of 78.2 percent was the highest recorded by any premium brand in China. In March, demand in China increased by 80.4 percent to 15,242 units (March 2010: 8,450). Mercedes-Benz also set new quarterly records in the BRIC countries of Russia (plus 86.4 percent) and India (plus 37.0 percent), while sales were up by 41.6 percent in Brazil. High growth rates were also achieved in Taiwan (plus 74.5 percent), South Korea (plus 16.8 percent), and Australia (plus 16.9 percent).
Mercedes-Benz sales also continued to develop very well in the brand’s second-largest market, the U.S.. Last month, sales increased by 9.4 percent to 21,484 units (March 2010: 19,637). A total of 53,346 customers (Q1 2010: 49,229) opted to buy a Mercedes-Benz passenger car in the first quarter, representing an 8.4 percent increase on the same period last year. In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz was thus the highest-volume premium brand in March and during the first quarter. In the first three months of the year, Mercedes-Benz also achieved a new sales record in Canada, where 6,133 units were sold.
In Germany, Mercedes-Benz once again held its position as the leading premium brand month-to-date and year-to-date. At 49,318 units, sales in the first three months were roughly at the same level as last year (Q1 2010: 49,245). Sales in Western Europe (excluding Germany) totaled 73,261 units (Q1 2010: 70,472), up 4.0 percent on the same quarter last year. Sales particularly increased in the UK (plus 16.1 percent), Belgium (plus 24.2 percent), the Netherlands (plus 15.0 percent), and Sweden (plus 30.6 percent).
The ongoing success of the S-Class contributed substantially to the sales increase in the first quarter. Despite having to compete with partly much younger models from competitors, demand for the luxury sedan rose by 24.8 percent to 16,869 units. This has enabled the S-Class to remain the leading vehicle in its segment worldwide. The E-Class models also met with a great response, with sales in this segment rising by 15.1 percent to 78,570 units. Sales growth was particularly pronounced for the new E-Class convertible, deliveries of which rose fivefold. As a result, the E-Class convertible was the market leader worldwide in its competitive class. The new CLS is also very popular, with sales rising by 148.6 percent. Just before the launch of the new generation, the C-Class sedan and estate continued to gain customers, with the sedan becoming the best-selling vehicle in its comparative class and sales of the estate increasing by 43.8 percent. Since the start of the year, SUV sales reached a new record of 54,958 units (plus 33.2 percent). Contributing to this success were the high growth rates of the GLK (plus 41.4 percent), the M-Class (plus 21.2 percent), and the new generation of the R-Class (plus 81.0 percent). In the year of the launch of its successor, the B-Class continues to win over customers, with sales increasing by 32.4 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
Sales of the facelifted smart fortwo also rose during the first quarter, with customer deliveries totaling 24,981 units (Q1 2010: 22,753), which led to an increase of 9.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010. In March, sales rose by 6.2 percent worldwide to 11,265 units (March 2010: 10,604). This was the highest monthly sales result since March 2009. The growth was mainly due to the high demand in China, where sales increased more than sixfold compared to last year. In March, the smart was once again very successful in Germany as well, boosting sales by 21.3 percent. In France, sales of the innovative two-seater rose by 23.7 percent.