FRANKFURT - DaimlerChrysler has already met its 2004 sales target for its new Mercedes A-Class model in western Europe, with 50,000 ordered to date, it said on Friday.
"We've sold this year's planned volume of 50,000 units even before the presentation for dealers," said Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes Car Group.
The group said more than 32,000 customers ordered the new compact car in Germany alone.
The relaunch of Mercedes' smallest model will help boost waning sales at Daimler's flagship luxury brand, which contributes the bulk of the group's profit.
The five-door, which hits showrooms Sept. 10, will battle head-to-head with rival BMW's new 1-Series hatchback as well as Volkswagen's new Golf GTI and Audi A3 Sportback in the premium compact segment.
Daimler this month reported that Mercedes deliveries slid 6.5 percent in the first seven months of this year to 607,100 vehicles.
At the time, it said it had met about two-thirds of its 50,000-unit sales target for the A-Class this year. Next year, it wants 180,000 of the new A-Class cars to leave dealer lots.
BMW, which will debut its 1-Series almost simultaneously with the new A-Class, reiterated on Friday it had received at least 10,000 orders for its smallest BMW brand model.
The Bavarian luxury carmaker wants to sell at least 100,000 new 1-Series in 2005 -- its first full year of production.
Daimler lowered its earnings forecast for Mercedes Car Group in late July, citing a changed model mix, exchange-rate effects, increased start-up costs for new products and expenses for a quality program.