Mercedes must strive to be the world's largest premium car maker by the end of the decade, company boss Dieter Zetsche has declared on the eve of the Detroit motor show.
Zetsche believes total new car sales could rise 40 million units by 2020, with premium car sales accounting for a disproportionate percentage of the increase.
"This year is impossible to predict, nobody can be certain what will happen," said Zetsche. "But we are very confident that the next decade will see significant growth for the whole car market, and the premium sector in particular. We want to be number one in that time."
Zetsche highlighted China, North Korea, Brazil, Turkey, Russia and India as key growth areas. He also dismissed suggestions that the current sales boom in China could suddenly end.
"China has shown for more than 20 years that it can manage its economy for growth without suffering the troughs of over nations," he said. "They have found a good balance of growth without bursting the bubble, and I can't see any reason to think that will change."