AUBURN HILLS, MI – Daimler AG, the world's second- biggest maker of luxury vehicles, expects sales at its Mercedes- Benz Cars division to rise, helped by new models, Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said.

“Worldwide, we will surpass the figure from 2007 this year,'” Zetsche told reporters at a briefing at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company will also post a 15th year of record sales in the U.S.

Zetsche has a target of raising Mercedes's earnings as a proportion of sales to 10 percent by 2010. The Stuttgart, Germany-based division has eliminated more than 9,000 assembly- line jobs and is reducing the number of parts in models such as the S-Class, its largest sedan, helping to reduce complexity and speed up production.

New models including a small sport-utility vehicle called the GLK and updated versions of cars such as the SLK sports car and the A-Class compact will boost sales this year. Growth will be "limited" in Europe, Zetsche said.

Daimler is still in talks with Munich-based Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world's biggest maker of luxury vehicles, about cooperating on a ``variety of different topics,' said Zetsche. The most likely cooperation would be sharing components, he added, without providing details.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials