Daimler pledged to raise its 2010 earnings forecast later this month after unveiling a strong preliminary second-quarter figures driven by excellent results at its Mercedes-Benz luxury car brand.

The company said on Friday earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) swung to 2.1 billion euros from a 1.0 billion euro loss in the previous year, significantly better than the 1.49 billion expected according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

Passenger car division Mercedes-Benz Cars recorded an EBIT margin of 9.8 percent, unusually strong considering that it first expected to hit 10 percent in the second half of 2012.

The main factors were a positive sales development, especially in China and the U.S., an advantageous product mix as well as better price penetration and positive currency exchange effects, the company said in a statement.

The Daimler Group will increase its EBIT guidance for 2010 as part of its second quarter report on July 27, it added. Mercedes, which enjoyed a record June sales month, had already raised its 2010 earnings expectations in April and then added a bullish bias to its forecast a month later.

EBIT at the division had been forecast to come in at the upper end of the 2.5-3.0 billion euro bandwidth.

Sales chief Joachim Schmidt had said he expected significant increase in retail volumes in the third quarter, as luxury carmakers get a huge boost from rising living standards in China.

Rival BMW raised its 2010 pretax profit and sales outlook on Tuesday, citing better-than-expected earnings at its automotive business and buoyant luxury car markets around the world.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner)