Currently reading: Mercedes-Benz beats Audi and BMW as world's top premium car maker
Strong sales in key markets including the UK ensured Mercedes beat its rivals in 2017

Mercedes-Benz is officially the world’s biggest premium car maker following a strong 2017.

The company sold 2,289,344 cars across the 12 months, representing a 9.9% growth over 2016 that was spurred on by strong demand from its key markets, China, Germany and North America.

Mercedes' home market accounted for more than 300,000 of its 955,301 European sales; the region’s demand was up by 6.4% on 2016.

Mercedes also took the premium lead in Britain to rank ahead of Audi and BMW, beating those brands with a 6.4% sales boost to give it a 7.04% market share, compared with 6.88% and 6.77% respectively.

The winners and losers of the 2017 car market

In the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region, which includes the US, Canada and Mexico, Mercedes sold 400,320 cars, a 1.3% improvement over 2016’s results. Demand in the US was slightly down, at 340,000 cars, but that represented a decline of just 0.9%, which Mercedes says was mostly due to shrinking demand for saloons.

Mercedes’s biggest global sales success came with a growth of 25.9% in China, its biggest market, where it delivered 587,868 cars. That accounted for the majority of sales in the Asia Pacific region, which totalled 875,250 units for a 19.2% sales increase overall.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and its Estate sibling were the company’s most demanded models worldwide, with 415,000 units sold in 2017. About a quarter of those were the long-wheelbase variant, which is sold only in China. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class was also in strong demand, with 350,000 examples sold globally.

Even the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which is priced from £174,640 in Britain, was bought by 25,000 customers, two-thirds of those coming from China. This market, alongside Europe and the US, also contributed to a 14% growth in SUV sales for Mercedes, showing the continued increase that segment is experiencing.

Performance division Mercedes-AMG sold 131,970 cars in 2017, a 33% boost over 2016. The division expects growth to remain strong as it introduces a new entry-level AMG A35 hot hatch, GT four-door saloon and facelifted GT sports car in the coming months.

Mercedes brand Smart's sales dropped by 6.5% to 135,000 units, although the brand’s push in China continued with a 9.8% increase in sales there.

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Andrew Bodman 9 January 2018

Mercedes Benz Press Release?

This "article" tells us very little about Audi's and BMW's performances compared to Mercedes-Benz. Is it a Mercedes-Benz press release with an Autocar staff name added?