Mercedes-Benz delivered 139,920 vehicles tocustomers in the month of March, more than in any previous month (+6.5%). Thus, first-quarter sales were 3.5% higher than in the same period of the previous year (324,898 units). Despite the difficult start of the European automotive market into 2013 that remained below expectations, Mercedes-Benz was able to keep the previous years’ level and to gain market shares in Western Europe. This was due to the great success of the new compact cars. In the same period, the brand with the star posted strong months particularly in the NAFTA region, Russia and Japan. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz was the most registered premium manufacturer in Japan and the USA as well as in Germany. In China, the first quarter was affected by the reorganization of the sales structures and the upcoming model changeovers. Among the model series, increases were posted in particular by the new compacts and the SUVs.
“Our sales developed very positively in March, so that we again topped the strong result of the previous year and have posted the best month in our company’s history to date. We have never sold as many vehicles in a single month“, said Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing. “With strong gains in the USA and in many new growth markets, we were able to balance out weakening European markets and the sales decrease in China and have posted yet another sales record in the first quarter.”
In the NAFTA region, Mercedes-Benz saw the strongest first quarter in the company's history with sales of 78,193 units (+11.3%). In the USA, 69,187 vehicles were handed over to customers since January (+12.5%), which makes Mercedes-Benz into the most frequently registered premium manufacturer since the start of the year. The company also achieved a new sales record in Mexico with growth of one fifth (+20.7%) compared to the same period in the previous year.
In the Asia/Pacific region, first-quarter sales were particularly strong in Japan (+12.4%), South Korea (+15.5%), Taiwan (+16.0%) and Australia (+37.2%). In Japan, no other importer of premium vehicles delivered more vehicles to customers than Mercedes-Benz. In China (incl. Hong Kong) sales went up in March (+5.4%), however, the first quarter was strongly affected by the reorganization of the sales structures and the upcoming model change-overs and thus lagged behind (45,440 units, p.y. 51,328 units). The initiated measures combined with the introduction of the new models are designed to ensure sustained profitable sales growth in the medium-term. On the Russian market, the positive sales trend continued: Here, Mercedes-Benz achieved a new sales record with 8,595 vehicle deliveries since the beginning of the year (+20.7%). The brand also posted an excellent first quarter in Turkey (+78.1%) and in the Middle East region (+9.9%). Defying the strongly declining market (-7.9%), Mercedes-Benz managed to grow sales
and gain market shares in Western Europe (without Germany), and posted a plus of 3.9% compared to the same period in the previous year with 81,219 units sold from January to March. The good result was attributable mainly to the growth in Belgium (+25.1%) and Great Britain (+13.3%). In the strongly regressive German market (-12.9%) Mercedes-Benz posted first-quarter sales of 53,144 units (p.y. 56,552 units), expanded its market share and thus maintained its position as the most registered premium manufacturer.
Among the model series of the Mercedes-Benz brand, the new compacts performed particularly well in the first quarter, with deliveries of 77,044 units to A-Class and B-Class customers from January to March (+49.4%). A week ago, Mercedes-Benz presented the purely electric version of the B-Class at the International Auto Show in New York. Customers in the USA will be able to order the B-Class Electric Drive from the autumn of 2013 onwards.
The SUVs with the star continued their satisfactory development with worldwide sales of 77,227 units in the first quarter (+30.6%). New sales records were posted by the GLK (+40.2), the GL (+33.5%) and the G-Class (+70.3%). The same applies to the M-Class (+27.6%) which, moreover, was the market leader in its segment worldwide.
The smart fortwo sold 25,632 times from January to March (p.y. 26,975 units). The compact runabout managed to dodge its life cycle effect, especially on the domestic market Germany and in Great Britain, and remained here constant at the previous year’s level in the first quarter.