Global luxury car makers, from Volkswagen's
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars unit sold 48,861 cars in China -- now the world's largest car market -- in the first three months of this year, 82 percent more than a year earlier.
First-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 71 percent to 2.03 billion euros ($3 billion), Daimler said on Friday. That was above the average analyst estimate of 1.99 billion euros in a Reuters poll.
The numbers echo robust results posted by fellow carmakers such as Volkswagen
Daimler already said in March it expected first-quarter vehicle sales to be up significantly after a strong start to the year, putting it on track to post record sales this year.
Daimler affirmed its full-year outlook, saying it saw 2011 EBIT significantly up from last year.
Daimler expects unit sales of Mercedes-Benz branded cars to reach a record level of more than 1.2 million this year, helped among other by strong sales of its top-of-the-range S-Class model.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Hans Peters)