Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand, the world’s third-biggest luxury carmaker, produced more vehicles than ever before in the first half to cover demand for its new compact models and sport-utility vehicles.
Mercedes manufactured more than 700,000 vehicles globally, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement today.
“We are planning for further growth,” Andreas Renschler, head of manufacturing, said in the statement. “We are also very optimistic for the year as a whole.”
Mercedes is targeting record sales of more than 1.4 million cars and SUVs this year. This compares to a goal of Volkswagen AG’s Audi division to top the 1.5 million mark. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars, aims for another year of record sales after delivering 1.54 million vehicles of its namesake brand last year.
The European car market, which is heading into the sixth straight year of decline, is stabilizing, Germany’s VDA automobile industry association said in a separate statement today. New car registrations in the region rose 4.8 percent in July to 1.02 million vehicles, the second month of gains this year, the first being April, the Berlin-based industry group said.
Auto executives predict the European car market will gradually improve in the second half and into 2014 supported by the euro area economy returning to growth after six quarters of contraction.
Mercedes hired about 4,500 vacation workers to keep production volumes up during the summer holiday season, the company said in the statement. To meet demand for the compact A-and B-Class, the Rastatt, Germany plant worked 21 extra shifts, and the SUV assembly in Tuscaloosa produced on 10 Saturdays.
Mercedes is broadening its compact car line-up this year with the CLA four-door coupe, has revamped the upscale E-Class and started to deliver a new generation of its flagship S-Class model in July.
The brand’s seven-month global deliveries through July increased 8.1 percent to 811,227 vehicles helped by a sales increase of 5.7 percent to 382,088 vehicles in Europe. Sales through July climbed 12 percent to 165,598 vehicles in the U.S. After a reshuffle of the sales organization in China, Mercedes-Benz sales in the territory gained 3.5 percent to 117,444 cars.
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