Luxury German carmaker Mercedes Benz reported Friday its first drop in sales this year as the eurozone debt crisis resulted in a steep slump in demand in the group's key Western European market and demand slipped in China.
The Stuttgart-based company said group sales fell 3.2 percent in July compared with the same month last year. This brought total sales for month to 97,327 last month.
But while sales in Western Europe plunged 10.2 percent, sales in its market tumbled 11.3 percent.
The carmaker, which is part of the Daimler group, said sales in its key international market in China also posted a 0.8-percent decline.
But the company remained confident that it was on course to report record sales this year.
"Despite many upcoming model changes and difficult market conditions in Southern Europe, for the year to date we are continuing on a path of growth and are well on track to setting a new sales record in 2012," said Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt in a statement.
Mercedes said sales were up 5.1 percent in the first seven months of the year compared with the same period last year.
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