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Mercedes 1Q Sales Rise

Daimler says its core Mercedes-Benz brand saw car sales increase by nearly 13 percent fueled by another powerful rise in Chinese deliveries.

BERLIN (AP) -- Daimler AG says its core Mercedes-Benz brand saw car sales increase by nearly 13 percent in year-on-year terms in the first quarter, fueled by another powerful rise in Chinese deliveries.

Mercedes-Benz delivered 280,552 cars worldwide in the quarter. Daimler said Tuesday that sales for March alone totaled 118,357 -- a 7.7 percent rise.

Mercedes-Benz executive Joachim Schmidt says that "we want to achieve a new sales record in 2011." He says the brand is looking for year-on-year growth in the current quarter.

First-quarter sales were up 78 percent in China at 42,990 units and 8.4 percent in the United States at 53,346.

But they dropped 11.4 percent in Japan to 7,317. In March, when the country was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, sales there plunged 22.5 percent.

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