FRANKURT (Bloomberg) -- Daimler reported a 21 percent increase in third-quarter profit as deliveries of the top-of-the line Mercedes-Benz S class more than doubled.
Operating profit rose to 2.79 billion euros ($3.53 billion) from 2.3 billion euros a year earlier, Daimler said in a statement today.
Profit at the Mercedes-Benz Cars division, which also includes the Smart brand, widened to 8.5 percent of revenue from 7.3 percent in the third quarter last year, the highest in more than two years.
Mercedes recorded its best-ever month for sales in the company's 88-year history in September, benefiting from new models and growing demand in China.
"Our strategy is paying off," CEO Dieter Zetsche said in the statement. "We are growing profitably and look to the future with optimism also beyond the full year."
Mercedes is adding the AMG GT sports car, which debuted at the Paris auto show, and more luxurious versions of the S class including a $1 million six-seat Pullman variant to bolster its high-end image. At the same time, the brand is expanding its lineup of more affordable models, such as the GLA compact sport-utility vehicle, as it seeks to topple BMW from the top spot in the luxury-car segment by the end of the decade.
"Mercedes-Benz has a fresh model lineup, which is giving the brand a lot of momentum," Frank Schwope, an analyst at NordLB in Hanover, Germany, said. "We’ll probably continue to see more profitable quarters through most of next year."