of April 17, 2002
Mercedes-Benz Celebrates Successful First Quarter
Stuttgart - With sales of 264,100 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter of 2002, Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars matched last year's record level of 266,400 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz managed to buck the general trend and expand its share of the markets not only in the world as a whole, but specifically also in Germany, the core markets of Western Europe and the U.S. As the new E-Class was not introduced until the middle of the month and because of the imminent model changeover of the CLK-Class, worldwide sales dropped slightly in March to 102,800 vehicles (March 2001: 108,800 vehicles). Contributing to this development was also the fact that March this year had two working days fewer than in 2001. The market launch of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class was very successful and came on the heels of extremely positive reviews. As a result, about 9,000 vehicles were sold in Western Europe within only two weeks.
In the U.S., sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles did well in March and for the first three months of the year, despite a generally negative market trend. In the first quarter, sales of passenger cars in the U.S. grew by seven percent to over 50,000 vehicles. For the month of March, this figure is over 20,000 units, or an increase of six percent on the same period last year. Despite a further contraction of the market as a whole, Mercedes-Benz sales in Germany remained nearly stable at 83,000 units in March, representing a drop of only two percent compared to the very high figure achieved during the same month last year.
Throughout Europe, the major markets continued to post significant sales increases. In Italy, sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars developed particularly well in the first three months of the year, increasing by 15 percent to 20,200 units. The results were similar in France and the UK, which saw sales rise by 11 percent to 13,600 vehicles and by six percent to 22,200 vehicles, respectively.
(April 10, 2002)