(Adds background on extra plant shifts and sales, European
BERLIN Dec 17 Daimler's
Mercedes-Benz division will push output to a new record this
year as German plants are running extra shifts to meet strong
demand for new compact models as well as the overhauled S-Class
Production of Mercedes-Benz models will exceed 1.49 million
cars this year, the third straight annual record, the carmaker
said on Tuesday.
Mercedes is expanding production as auto demand in core
European markets is stabilizing. New car sales in the European
Union and European Free Trade Association posted their third
monthly gain in November, boosting carmakers' hopes of a rebound
in 2014 after six consecutive years of decline.
Workers assembling the new C-Class model in Bremen are
running 10 extra shifts in November and December, while staff in
Rastatt put in 21 additional shifts on production of A-Class and
B-Class compacts in the first eleven months, the carmaker said.
Assembly times for the S-Class have been lengthened since
early November and will be extended further in 2014.
Global sales of Mercedes-Benz models rose to their
highest-ever level in November, powered by double-digit growth
in the United States and China. Year-to-date deliveries were up
10.7 percent at a record 1.32 million autos.
Mercedes dropped into third place in the global luxury-sales
race behind Volkswagen's Audi and BMW in
2011, though is counting on a plan to roll out 13 all-new models
by 2020 to help it surpass its German rivals.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Christoph Steitz and