Mercedes' December sales rise on U.S. demand
Automaker posts record deliveries in 2012
FRANKFURT -- Global sales at Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars unit rose 0.4 percent to 132,589 in December as rising U.S. demand offset weaker markets in China and western Europe.
In the final month of the year, Mercedes brand sales rose 0.7 percent to 125,234 vehicles, while volume at the carmaker's Smart microcar brand fell 4 percent to 7,355.
In a statement on Friday, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the automaker expects the positive trend in sales to continue this year with the company ''consistently'' pursuing its Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy in 2013.
December sales for Mercedes in China, a key growth market for premium brands, fell 18.6 percent to 18,910. Sales through December rose 1.5 percent to 196,211. The Mercedes brand is continuing to trail premium rivals BMW and Audi, which are growing far more rapidly in China.
By comparison, sales in the United States were up 9.5 percent to 28,145 last month, helping to take the annual tally to 274,134, a rise of 11.8 percent.
With the debt crisis continuing to depress demand in Europe, sales of Mercedes fell 3.8 percent in western Europe last month to 47,195. In 2012, the automaker sold 554,797, a rise of 0.6 percent over 2011 figures.
In Germany, Mercedes' No. 2 market, monthly sales dropped 10.3 percent, while annual sales fell 0.4 percent to 261,084.
Through December, total sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars, which includes the Smart brand, rose 4.5 percent to a record 1.42 million. Mercedes brand sales rose 4.7 percent to 1.32 million, while deliveries of Smart vehicles rose 1.7 percent to 103,738.
Rival premium carmakers BMW and Audi have not yet released full year or monthly global sales results.
Reuters contributed to this reportContact Automotive News