Reuters reports that DC expects sales of its Mercedes-Benz luxury cars to rise 20 percent in China this year, rebounding from sluggish performance earlier in the year.

“We should be able to maintain that next year, if nothing unexpected happens, because you never know in China,” Peter Honegg, president of Mercedes China, told reporters on the sidelines of an EU-China business conference.

Sales of Mercedes cars in China climbed just 3 percent in the first quarter of 2005, Reuters said.

DaimlerChrysler, which plans to invest 1.2 billion euros over the next five years to boost car production in China, undershot its car sales target last year amid government steps to cool off the heated automotive sector, the report added.

But DaimlerChrysler’s total China sales, including imports and local production, still rose by about a third to nearly 45,000 units, Reuters said.