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Mercedes Sells 2.1% Fewer Vehicles in Feb

DaimlerChrysler said on Tuesday its Mercedes Car Group premium division sold 2.1% fewer vehicles worldwide in February than in the same month a year earlier.

The Mercedes Car Group sold 82,000 Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart brand passenger vehicles worldwide in February 2007, compared with 83,800 units sold in the same month last year, DaimlerChrysler said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz sold 78,000 passenger vehicles in February worldwide, an increase of 2.6%. "The new (Mercedes-Benz) C-Class sedan is registering an extremely positive reception in the market only a few weeks after its sales start," Daimler said.

The company added that 55,000 orders had been placed in western Europe ahead of the new model's March 31 launch.

Smart brand deliveries plunged 48.1% to 4,000 vehicles in February, with the current fortwo model nearly sold out, Daimler added.

The company said more than 30,000 customers had ordered the new two-seat model that will be launched in April.

Chief Executive Dieter Zetche reiterated to reporters at the Geneva car show that Mercedes division sales were set to remain at least stable versus 2006 levels.

Daimler shares were up 1.7% to 51.33 euros, the top gainer in a 0.6% -higher German blue-chip DAX . The DJ European autos index rose 1.2%.