Daimler to become 2016's biggest luxury car maker - CEO

The Mercedes-Benz logo is seen before the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker Daimler DAIGn.DE is to become this year's biggest and most profitable luxury car maker, its chief executive said on Thursday.

“We will achieve it this year, four years ahead of time,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at an economic conference in Frankfurt, referring to the company’s 2020 target of becoming the world’s biggest premium carmaker.

The company had announced the goal in 2011 and Zetsche said back then everyone was laughing at the announcement.

Daimler's passenger car unit Mercedes Benz was on track for full-year sales of more than two million cars, Zetsche said, putting it ahead of rivals Audi VOWG_p.DE and BMW BMWG.DE.

Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Alexandra Hudson