* Mercedes-Benz brand sales up 13.2 pct in June
* Mercedes-Benz brand sales gain 15.2 pct in first half
* Sales chief sees “significant increase” in third quarter
* Smart sales fall 13.3 pct in June, down 17 pct in H1
(Adds details, comments from Mercedes sales chief)
FRANKFURT, July 5 (Reuters) - Daimler's DAIGn.DE luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a record June sales month thanks to rising demand for its most expensive models, and expects the marque to post a considerable rise in the current quarter. "In June we succeeded in boosting our sales by a double-digit percentage for the eighth time in a row," the head of sales and marketing at Mercedes, Joachim Schmidt, said in a statement on Monday.
“We are also in an excellent position to do well in the months ahead and plan to continue Mercedes-Benz’ success with a significant increase in the third quarter,” he continued.
The Mercedes brand increased volumes by 13.2 percent to an all-time high of 113,300 vehicles for last month, hauled in mainly by its earnings drivers, the E-Class and S-Class model lines.
It could post double-digit volume gains in many markets including Japan and the United States, each of which saw increases surpassing 20 percent, the company said.
China, however, remained the most powerful engine of growth as sales there almost tripled.
Demand continued to slump for Daimler’s Smart ForTwo miniature two-seater, a concept first envisioned over a decade ago by the recently deceased Swatch founder Nicolas Hayek. [ID:nN28274140]
Daimler said it expects the upcoming facelift of the current Smart ForTwo -- to be shown to the media this month -- to give an unquantified sales boost for the brand, after volumes fell 13.3 percent last month and 17 percent for the first half.
Shares in Daimler edged 0.2 percent lower at 1314 GMT, roughly in line with a flat European auto index .SXAP.