News of September 11, 2002
Mercedes-Benz Passenger Car Sales Through August 2002 at Last Year's Level
Stuttgart - At 741,300 units, worldwide sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in the first eight months of 2002 reached the same high level attained in the same period last year. A total of 88,300 vehicles were delivered in August, a vacation month when sales are traditionally low.
Mercedes-Benz sales continued to reach record levels in Western Europe outside of Germany, increasing to 241,600 units from January through August 2002. This represents a growth rate of four percent. The main contributors to this positive development were the key markets of Italy (52,800 units, an increase of 20 percent), France (40,300 units, an increase of nine percent) and Spain (22,200 units, an increase of 14 percent), all of whom posted new sales records. The automotive sector in Germany remains sluggish, however, although Mercedes-Benz performed well in a generally contracting market by achieving a market share of twelve percent. 256,000 vehicles were sold through August, a drop of less than three percent compared to the same period last year.
In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz' continued expansion is being driven by significantly higher sales of the C-Class (44,200 units, an increase of 44 percent). A total of 18,300 vehicles were sold in August - setting a new record for this month in the history of Mercedes-Benz USA. From January through August 2002, sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars increased to 136,200 units, surpassing the previous year's record of 134,600 units by one percent.
The demand for the new E-Class vehicles is developing extremely well. Since its market launch in Western Europe in mid-March, around 100,000 vehicles have been delivered. Mercedes-Benz has thereby increased its market leadership in the upper-range segment to a more than 25 percent share of the global market, even before the vehicle is fully available in the U.S. and before the introduction of the right-hand drive version in the UK. There are clear signs that the new E-Class will be tremendously popular in the U.S. as well, since about 2,000 vehicles were sold on the weekend of the vehicle's market launch.
(Sept. 10, 2002)