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Mercedes expects 20% growth in China in 2005

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Reuters / September 05, 2005 BEIJING -- DaimlerChrysler said on Monday it expects sales of its Mercedes-Benz luxury cars to rise 20 percent in China this year, rebounding from sluggish performance earlier in the year. "We should be able to maintain that next year, if nothing unexpected happens, because you never know in China," said Peter Honegg, president of Mercedes China, on the sidelines of an EU-China business conference. Sales of Mercedes cars in China climbed just 3 percent in the first quarter of 2005. Mercedes competes against BMW AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi unit in the high-end car market. DaimlerChrysler, which plans to invest 1.2 billion euros over the next five years to boost car production in China, undershot its car sales target last year amid government steps to cool off the heated automotive sector. But DaimlerChrysler's total China sales, including imports and local production, still rose by about a third to nearly 45,000 units.

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