Daimler Auto Sales Down 10.1% in 2009

However, Chinese sales posted the biggest single market increase last year, gaining 68.7%.

Despite an improvement in the second half of the year, Daimler posted a 10.1% drop in 2009 sales.

The Daimler group sold almost 1.13 million Mercedes-Benz, Smart city cars and other autos last year. Smart sales were 13.2% lower than in 2008.

In December alone, however, the group saw a 12.1% increase from the same month a year earlier, while fourth quarter sales gained 13%.

"We were able to successively improve our sales in the second half, following a first half marked by a sharp decline," Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche said.

Emerging markets, China in particular, were largely responsible for the second-half increase as demand for larger Class E and Class S autos got stronger.

Chinese sales posted the biggest single market increase last year, gaining 68.7% to 71,900 vehicles.

European sales slumped 12.8% however to 645,800 while U.S. sales were down 17.8% at 205,200.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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