Daimler's 2008 sales of 1.26 million vehicles was down 2.3% from last year, the company said on Jan. 8.
The group's brands include Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Smart.
A 34% increase in the number of fuel efficient Smart cars sold to 134,800 units could not compensate for a sharp drop at Mercedes-Benz, down 5.4% last year to 1.12 million.
Daimler was the latest global auto manufacturer to post weaker 2008 sales while many companies have had to cut output in an effort to cope with slumping demand.
Bucking the trend, Volkswagen's high-end car division Audi said on Jan. 8 it had sold more than a million vehicles last year, a record.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009