Mercedes increases U.S. industry sales forecast
NEW YORK -- Mercedes-Benz has boosted its 2012 U.S. industry sales forecast to 14.3 million units, up from 13.8 million.
But Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon says the market has been so strong that sales could go even higher.
"For the first time" in several years there's been talk in the industry of a return to 16 million next year, Cannon said. "Sixteen million was like the mirage in the desert."
Industrywide sales rose 13 percent in the first quarter. A 14.3 million market would be a 12 percent improvement over last year's sales of 12.8 million.
Cannon also said Mercedes' sales, which rose 16 percent in the first quarter, will outpace the overall market this year because of redesigned and updated vehicles.
Mercedes will launch a redesigned SL roadster on May 2, a freshened GLK in July and the redesigned GL SUV that debuted at the New York show in September.
Despite the GL run-out, sales of the SUV were up 4 percent in the first three months compared with the same period in 2011.
"We are even asking the factory if we can have more production of the old model," Cannon said. "In certain markets, we are leaving volume on the table because we don't have enough."
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