FRANKFURT – Daimler AG sold 8 percent more Mercedes-Benz cars in 2011, reaching a new record of over 1.26 million vehicles, and forecasts more growth as it rolls out new models including the upcoming A class.
"In 2012 we will consequently continue our product offensive and launch additional attractive vehicles on the market, which will give us a further boost," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Thursday.
Apart from the revamped A class, targeted at younger customers, Mercedes plans to launch the new CLS shooting brake and the high-end SL coupe later this year.
In December, Mercedes brand sales rose 15.1 percent to 124,387 units helped by strong growth in China, the U.S. and emerging markets including Russia and Brazil.
This helped Mercedes acheive the best-selling quarter in the company's history, with sales of 341,624 vehicles during the three months through December.
Strong China, U.S. growth
In China, including Hong Kong, Mercedes brand sales rose 30.6 percent to 193,339 units between January and December. Last month, sales rose 29.5 percent to 23,227.
Russia too saw strong growth in 2011, with sales increasing by 47.3 percent to 29,058 units, Mercedes said.
In the fast-growing market of Brazil, sales grew 35.3 percent in 2011 to 10,197 units.
In the U.S., Mercedes' second-biggest market, sales rose 13.3 percent to 245,231 units last year, while December sales, lifted by new-generation versions of the C- and M-class models, jumped 27.9 percent to 25,701 units.
In western Europe, 12-month sales of the Mercedes brand fell slightly by 1 percent to 551,541 cars, but despite the impact of eurozone debt problems on consumer spending in the region, December sales were up 7.1 percent to 49,026 units.
In Germany, the automaker's biggest single market, Mercedes sold 262,256 cars in 2011, a fall of 1.2 percent. But sales in December in the automaker's home market rose 16.8 percent to 25,290 units.
Annual sales of Daimler's Smart brand rose 4.6 percent to 101,996 units last year. In December, the brand sold 7,658 units, a rise of just 0.8 percent.
Overall sales for Mercedes-Benz Cars between January and December totaled 1.36 million units, a rise of 7.7 percent over the previous year.
Reuters contributed to this report