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Daimler's Mercedes Full-Year Sales Rise 2% on C-Class

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Cars division, the world's second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, said 2007 sales rose 2 percent on demand for a new C-Class sedan and updated versions of its sport-utility vehicles.

Deliveries by the division, which includes the Mercedes- Benz, Smart and Maybach brands, increased to 1.29 million cars and SUVs from 1.26 million a year earlier, Stuttgart, Germany- based Daimler said in a statement today.

Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche aims to raise the division's earnings as a proportion of sales to ``at least'' 10 percent by 2010, potentially surpassing competitor Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in profitability. The Mercedes-Benz brand has eliminated more than 9,000 assembly-line jobs and is reducing the number of parts in models such as the S-Class, its largest sedan.

Mercedes-Benz brand sales rose 3.2 percent to 1.19 million cars and SUVs last year. Deliveries of Smart cars fell 10 percent to 100,600 vehicles after Mercedes scaled back the lineup to a single, two-seat model. Maybach sales were unchanged at 400 cars.

Deliveries of the entry-level C-Class surged 57 percent to 261,500 vehicles. The company began selling new versions of the car in March, replacing a model dating from 2000, and added a station wagon last month. Sales of Mercedes-Benz SUVs gained 6.3 percent to 180,100 units.

Mercedes-Benz Cars' sales in Asia rose 9.7 percent last year to 142,700 vehicles and increased 2.2 percent in the U.S. to 253,400. In Germany, the company's largest market, sales fell 3.5 percent to 341,800 vehicles.


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