It surged past BMW by a comfortable margin, outselling its Munich rival by 65,569 vehicles. BMW sold 411,809 vehicles in the same period, which was a year-on-year decline of 20.1%.
Daimler said that for its smart brand, the phase-out of predecessor models and the switch to solely battery-electric driving had a strong impact on sales during the same period.
Internationally, 5,863 units of the smart brand were delivered to customers (-78.3%) with its commercial vans unit sales (Citan, Vito and Sprinter) recording good sales in January with a total of 64,588 units delivered in the first quarter (-14.9%).
The Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and vans were reported as having started the year with a significant increase in global deliveries even though the current Covid-19 pandemic sweeping through Europe and the US have caused temporary closures of retail businesses to cause a significant impact on unit sales in March.
Despite the conditions, the Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans divisions sold a total of 547,829 units in the first quarter.
“The year 2020 started well and we were able to increase sales of our core model series especially in January. The impact of the corona crisis seriously weakened our unit sales already in March, and we, therefore, did not achieve our target numbers in the first quarter,” said Mercedes-Benz Vans head Marcus Breitschwerdt.
In Europe, it was reported that 188,963 premium automobiles with the three-pointed star were delivered to customers in the first quarter (-15.9%).
Particularly in Germany, the brand sold 64,332 cars from January to March (-8.8%) to become the premium brand with the most new-car registrations in the first quarter.
Within the Asia-Pacific region, the Stuttgarter company managed to end its first three months of the year with 198,849 premium vehicles sold (-17.1%).
Specifically for the China market, there were 138,960 units with the three-pointed star sold in the same period to record a -20.3% compared to the same period in the year before.
First-quarter deliveries in North America amounted to 78,501 vehicles, of which 67,746 were of the Mercedes-Benz brand in the US alone. This means that 4.8%-less cars were sold in the same period of last year.
"The repercussions of the coronavirus affect us all and will continue to stay with us in the coming weeks. We took measures to protect our customers and employees at an early stage," said Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG member of the board of management responsible for marketing and sales Britta Seeger.
"Together with our global retail partners, we have further strengthened our online activities. Through our digital platforms, we are always available for our customers, especially in the current situation. In China and South Korea, our dealerships are fully open and we see a significant increase in demand there. That gives us confidence,” he added.