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Thu 21 Jan 2010 12:11 PM

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Merc-Benz sees SUV sales rise in ME despite slowdown

Luxury car maker says Dec 2009 sales up on same period in 2008 as industry recovers.

Merc-Benz sees SUV sales rise in ME despite slowdown
SALES BOOST: Mercedes Benz said Middle East sales in 2009 were boosted by an increase in SUV sales. (Getty Images)

Mercedes-Benz has said an increase in sales of SUVs (sports utility vehicles) in the Middle East had helped boost performance during the slowdown in 2009.

Sales of SUVs actually rose by nearly 500 units last year to more than 2,800 units compared to 2008 when the market as a whole was down by 22 percent.

In December, the company delivered 1,237 vehicles, up nine percent on the same period in 2008, helping raise its annual market share in the luxury vehicle segment to 23 percent, the company added in a statement.

"With our December figures, we continued the positive trend of the past several months, maintaining our position as the leading luxury brand in the market," said Frank Bernthaler, director, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant.

In 2009, Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant delivered a total of 15,370 vehicles, without saying if this was up or down on the previous year.

Globally, Mercedes-Benz delivered 1,012,300 vehicles to customers last year, compared to 1,121,700 in 2008 - a 9.7 percent decline.

Regionally, Mercedes-Benz will also offer its customers many attractive new products, beginning with the new E-Class convertible at the end of March, which will round out the E-Class model family.

On Sunday, BMW Group Middle East reported a nine percent decrease in sales in 2009 compared to the previous year.

With a total of 14,557 BMW and MINI vehicles sold across 14 Middle East markets, the group recorded positive sales growth for a number of importers with several markets recording double digit growth, the car maker said in a statement.

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