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Mercedes-Benz USA Records Highest Sales in Its History.

MONTVALE, N.J. -- MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) reported its highest month on record with sales of 21,288, bringing the company to its highest annual sales volume ever at 213,225.

"2002 marked our ninth year of consecutive sales gains in the U.S. market, six of which were record-breaking years for us. This is primarily due to a continuous stream of exciting new products -- highlighted in 2002 by the all- new E-Class, CLK and SL models -- which has allowed us to maintain this strong sales momentum," said Paul Halata, president and CEO of MBUSA. "For 2003, we will continue to use new products to strengthen our momentum."

Sales volume for the year was led by the C-Class family of sports coupes, sedans, and wagons with 64,025 units sold in 2002, an increase of 25 percent over 2001 sales. The E-Class model line also contributed significantly with 42,598 units sold for the year -- 50.1 percent (21,355) of which represent sales of the all-new E-Class since its launch just four months ago.

While the C-Class and E-Class model lines have been very successful in terms of expanding the Mercedes-Benz customer base, combined sales of the brand's high-end models continue to show gains year over year. As a group, the top-of-the-line CL coupes, SL roadsters and S-Class sedans increased 14 percent for the year (38,773 vs. 33,963 in 2001), marking the best year ever for sales of Mercedes' high-end models.

Additionally, AMG -- the Affalterbach (Germany)-based premier builder of Mercedes-Benz high-performance models -- reported an impressive year with sales of 6,515. U.S. sales of AMG products have increased tenfold since they first went on sale here. In 2002, MBUSA brought to market several long- awaited AMG models including the SL55, S55, G55, CL55 and CLK55. For 2003, MBUSA will launch the highly popular E55 which will propel AMG to new volumes here in the U.S.

Running counter to much of the industry, MBUSA posted one of its strongest final quarters, finishing with a six percent increase in December sales alone and breaking 2001's all-time record for the month. The E-Class took the lead in sales volume for the month with 6,116 units sold in December, a 40.8 percent increase over December 2001. Other model lines that saw increases for the month include the SL-, CL-, S-, and C-Classes.

Separately, through its Starmark certified pre-owned vehicle program, MBUSA recorded its most successful year in its history with 43,476 vehicles sold, a 14 percent increase over 2001. Starmark also posted its highest December monthly sales of 3,733, an increase of 2.1 percent compared to December 2001 sales of 3,657 vehicles.
 Model Dec '02 Dec '01 Monthly % YTD 2002 YTD 2001 Yearly %
 C-CLASS TOTAL 5,596 5,401 3.6% 64,025 51,210 25.0%
 E-CLASS TOTAL 6,116 4,343 40.8% 42,598 44,445 -4.2%
 S-CLASS TOTAL 2,372 2,210 7.3% 21,118 25,998 -18.8%
 CL TOTAL 411 383 7.3% 3,938 3,748 5.1%
 SL TOTAL 1,150 191 502.1% 13,717 4,217 225.3%
 CLK TOTAL 1,252 2,292 -45.4% 17,251 19,423 -11.2%
 SLK TOTAL 397 614 -35.3% 7,784 11,268 -30.9%
 M-CLASS TOTAL 3,759 4,185 -10.2% 39,680 45,655 -13.1%
 G-CLASS TOTAL 235 457 -48.6% 3,114 674 362.0%
 GRAND TOTAL 21,288 20,076 6.0% 213,225 206,638 3.2%

CONTACT: Donna Boland, +1-201-573-6893, or Tracy Darchini, +1-201-573-4734, or Toll-Free, +1-888-MBNEWS-1, all of Mercedes-Benz USA

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Date:Jan 3, 2003
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