Mercedes-Benz China Sales Defy Slowing Market With 42% July Jump

Mercedes-Benz defied a Chinese car-market slowdown for the second month in a row, posting a 42 percent surge in July deliveries there even as rival BMW AG warned that the environment is becoming more difficult.

Chinese sales by Mercedes rose to 29,540 cars in July as demand for the C-Class sedan and compact cars jumped, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said Thursday in a statement. That helped push global deliveries up 15 percent from a year earlier to 149,753 vehicles, with seven-month sales also rising 15 percent to 1.05 million autos, as Mercedes seeks to surpass BMW and Audi AG as the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars.

Other auto manufacturers are posting slower delivery growth in China this year as the economy cools and a stock-market drop discourages consumers from making large purchases. The country’s car market contracted in June, the first decline in more than two years, and Chinese delivery gains in July at Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Mercedes contrasted with drops at General Motors Co. and Hyundai Motor Co.

BMW and Volkswagen AG’s Audi division have yet to report July sales figures. Of the three German companies, Daimler AG’s Mercedes was the only one to report growth in China in June. Concerns about the country’s auto market prompted Munich-based BMW earlier this week to say it may not achieve this year’s profitability goal. Ford Motor Co. has even said there’s potential for industrywide demand in China to shrink this year.

Daimler’s global group auto sales, including the Smart city-car nameplate, rose 16 percent last month to 159,040 vehicles. Deliveries of the Mercedes C-Class sedan and station wagon jumped 83 percent last month, with demand for the models tripling in the Asia-Pacific region. The brand’s sport utility vehicle sales rose 15 percent.