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2004 Highest Year on Record for Mercedes-Benz USA

MBUSA Sales Achieves 11th Consecutive Year of Growth

December Sales of 26,607 Sets Highest Month Ever For MBUSA

MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 4 -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) reported its highest sales month in the 40-year history of the company with 26,607 new vehicles sold in December, bringing the company to its all-time highest annual sales volume at 221,610 and marking its eleventh year of consecutive sales gains in the U.S. market.

"Thanks to the commitment of our entire team at MBUSA and our dealer partners, we have not just broken our previous record, but we have gone beyond that to set a new record and set the stage for a phenomenal product offensive in 2005," said Paul Halata, president and CEO of MBUSA.

Halata attributed the sales growth to the company's diverse product offerings. In 2004, Mercedes-Benz introduced a variety of new models, from the all-new SLK roadster to the fuel-efficient E320 CDI diesel to four new high-performance AMG models and the 617-hp SLR McLaren supercar.

Running counter to a declining passenger car market, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars posted a 4.1 percent sales increase compared to 2003. Leading sales volume for the year, the C-Class model line posted an increase of five percent to 69,251. Sales for the model line were boosted by introductions of restyled vehicles and a new C55 AMG model. The E-Class model line continued to be one of the most popular and strongest performing of the Mercedes-Benz model lines with 58,954 units sold for the year, an increase of 5.9 percent over last year and setting the highest annual volume ever for the model line.

Combined sales of the brand's coupes and convertibles continued to increase year-over-year. As a group, the all new SLK roadster, sporty CLK, and top-of-the-line CL coupes and SL roadsters increased 8.4 percent for the year, marking the best year ever for sales of Mercedes-Benz coupes and convertibles.

Posting its best sales month with 26,607 units sold in December, MBUSA marked its strongest year-end finish with a 23.1 percent increase in December sales, breaking last December's record for best sales month. The E-Class led in sales volume with 7,576 units sold for December, up 21.1 percent over December 2003. Significant gains were also achieved in the C-Class model line (66.6 percent), the CLK-Class (20.7 percent) and the S-Class (3.5 percent). The popularity of the all-new SLK roadster continued since its introduction in September, as its sales more than tripled (1,701 vs. 371) versus last December.

Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned program, MBUSA recorded its sixth consecutive year of sales growth with 55,208 pre-owned vehicles sold, a 4.1 percent increase over 2003.

"Our last major product offensive in 1997 propelled our sales growth by nearly 150 percent to where we are today," Halata added. "This has positioned us well for our 2005 product offensive which will provide consistent, controlled momentum." Starting with the introduction of the highly-stylized four-door coupe CLS this month, MBUSA is preparing to launch its largest product offensive, further expanding its product portfolio in the luxury market. Highlights will include introductions of new products in new segments -- from the all-new M-Class SUV to offerings in the highly anticipated sport touring segment.

Headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, MBUSA is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at

                            MERCEDES-BENZ USA
                          Sales -- December 2004

  Model           Dec '04  Dec '03  Monthly%  YTD 2004  YTD 2003   Yearly%

  C-CLASS           8,870    5,325    66.6%    69,251    65,982      5.0%

  E-CLASS           7,576    6,254    21.1%    58,954    55,683      5.9%

  S-CLASS           2,378    2,297     3.5%    20,460    22,940    -10.8%

  CL-CLASS            255      257    -0.8%     2,683     3,377    -20.6%

  SL-CLASS          1,081    1,536   -29.6%    12,885    13,318     -3.3%

  CLK-CLASS         2,115    1,752    20.7%    22,556    19,230     17.3%

  SLK-CLASS         1,701      371   358.5%     7,360     6,023     22.2%

  M-CLASS           2,458    3,599   -31.7%    25,681    30,018    -14.4%

  G-CLASS             173      230   -24.8%     1,491     1,980    -24.7%

  SLR                                              45       n/a       n/a

  Maybach                                         244       166     47.0%

  GRAND TOTAL      26,607   21,621    23.1%   221,610   218,717      1.3%