DaimlerChrysler said on Monday that it sold 548,500 Mercedes-Benz cars globally in the first six months of 2003, compared to 559,000 in the same period last year, Reuters reported.

"We are satisfied with the performance of the Mercedes Car Group in the first half of 2003," board member Juergen Hubbert said in a statement cited by the news agency.

"It was a period in which the group was confronted by tough economic conditions and contracting automobile markets around the world," Hubbert reportedly added.

According to Reuters, DaimlerChrysler said it sold 60,600 Smart cars in the first half, down from 62,400 in the first half last year.