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April 16, 2003
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Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars: Record High in the First Quarter 2003
  • Strengthening of market position in the U.S., Western Europe and Asia

  • Over 14,000 orders for newly launched E-Class station wagon in Western Europe

  • Demand for S-Class at record high in first quarter

Stuttgart - Despite the difficult market situation worldwide, the Mercedes Car Group sold 291,200 Mercedes-Benz and smart brand passenger cars in the first three months of the year (Q1 2002: 292,500). A total of 113,300 automobiles were delivered to customers in the month of March (March 2002: 114,400 vehicles).

During the first three months of 2003, Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 266,900 passenger cars, which was one percent above the result of 264,100 vehicles achieved during the first quarter last year, and allowed Mercedes-Benz to further extend its lead in the premium car segment worldwide. A total of 102,400 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars were sold in March 2003 (March 2002: 102,800 vehicles).


The high demand for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class proved to be an important factor driving up sales in the first quarter. From January through March 2003, sales of S-Class sedans rose by four percent to 17,700 units. Deliveries of the SL-Class reached a new all-time high of 7,800 units. During the first three months of the year 64,700 customers bought the new E-Class sedan, meaning that 243,900 units of this vehicle model have been sold since it was launched on the market a year ago. The new E-Class station wagon is also in great demand, as demonstrated by the more than 14,000 orders received during the first three months after the vehicle went on sale in Western Europe.

Thanks to the sales success of the S- and E-Class, Mercedes-Benz increased its deliveries to the U.S. by around three percent through March to the record level of 51,600 automobiles. Mercedes-Benz thus did better than the market as a whole during the first quarter, allowing it to strengthen its position even further despite the negative market trend.

Sales were significantly up in Asia as well during the first quarter, with demand for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars climbing by 22 percent over the same period last year, to 23,100 vehicles. The premium brand sold 10,200 cars in Asia's single largest market, Japan, which represents a six-percent increase on the result achieved in the same period last year.

Contracting automobile markets in Western Europe allowed Mercedes-Benz to gain market shares in the region. For the first three months of the year, sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars totaled 168,500 units in Western Europe (Q1 2002: 172,300 vehicles). Sales were up in Italy (23,000 units), Great Britain (22,900 units) and Spain (7,200 units), while the result in France (12,700 units) was better than for the market as a whole. Sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Germany meanwhile totaled 79,000 vehicles during the first quarter.

In consideration of the forthcoming launch of several new models, 24,200 smart city coupes were sold in the first quarter of 2003 (Q1 2002: 28,400 units). Sales are, however, expected to receive a boost from the introduction of the 2nd-generation smart city coupe to all prospective markets at the beginning of the second quarter. The launch of the smart roadster and the roadster coupe in April will also help the brand consolidate its lead in the subcompact segment.

(April 04, 2003)

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