Mercedes sales growth slows

June sales of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars grew at the slowest monthly rate so far this year as sales in the key market of China continued to increase at a tepid rate.

Daimler (DAIGn.DE) said volumes of its premium brand rose 0.9 per cent in June, translating to a cumulative rise of 6.9 percent in the first half to a record high 652,924 vehicles.

"Over the next few months, the market launch of the new A-Class in particular will provide a further boost to sales. This means we are well on track this year to surpassing the 2011 sales record," said Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt in a statement.

In an interview published earlier in the day by Autogazette, Schmidt had blamed weak sales in China relative to larger rivals BMW and Audi on temporary factors such as model changeovers and a current lack of local production.

He also said that Mercedes would begin catching up to the other brands once its new large volume compact family, which includes its A and B Class models, would be rolled out in sufficient numbers.

Previously, Mercedes-Benz brand vehicle sales rose by 5.1 per cent in January, 20.3 per cent in February, 11.0 per cent in March, 3.6 per cent in April and four per cent in May.