Mercedes-Benz, the luxury and sporting automobile manufacturer, enjoyed its best first-half on record. Driving a sales increase of 13 percent worldwide was accelerating demand for luxury vehicles in Asian markets, particularly China.

The company sold 783,520 Mercedes-branded vehicles from January through June of this year. In June alone, sales increased by eight percent over June 2013, to 142,136 vehicles.

Head of sales Ola Källenius stated "We are on track to make 2014 into yet another record year."

Mercedes-Benz is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a component of Daimler AG. In aggregate, it's the thirteenth-largest automobile maker and second-largest truck maker in the world. The corporation owns the Smart Automobile, Mitsubishi Fuso and several other car and truck producers. It had also owned the premium luxury Maybach line of cars, but divested it in 2012.

China, though (as well as other Asian markets), is where the company's largest growth is centered. Mercedes sales grew close to 38 percent in the first half of this year to 135,972 vehicles. That represents 17 percent of the company's worldwide sales.

Sales in the Asian-Pacific market in total grew 30.5 percent to 232,294 vehicles in first half 2014. The only significant decline in this market occurred in Japan, where sales dropped 27 percent in June. But the Japanese market still grew by 13 percent overall in the first half of the year.

In the western world, growth was not quite as pronounced. Sales in Germany, the company's home market, declined in June and were almost flat through the first six months, showing an increase of 0.7 percent to 125,215 vehicles.

In Europe as a whole, sales increased by 7.4 percent to 352,198 vehicles.

The United States is Mercedes' biggest single market. With an improving economy, the U.S. drove a sales rise of 7 percent to 151,624 vehicles. More good news is coming for Mercedes, as its top selling, somewhat entry-level and highly anticipated new C-class sedan will debut in the fall at a starting price near $36,000.

It is a sign of the growth of the luxury automobile market in general worldwide that the company's flagship S-class sedan nearly doubled in sales in January-June 2014. In fact, sales of each of Audi, BMW and Mercedes vehicles were greater than General Motor's Cadillac line in June.

In related news, Audi, a division of Volkswagen AG, outsold BMW worldwide in the premium automobile category. Audi sales grew in June mostly due to the introduction of its small A3 sedan. In the U.S., though, Audi lags significantly behind both BMW and Mercedes.

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