Daimler's Mercedes-Benz said its 8% increase in sales in the first half of 2017 to 190,200 vehicles was a new record.

It has now seen growth for five consecutive years. All model series contributed to the latest sales record and set new records: Sprinter 96,200 units (H1 2016 95,100, +1%), Vito up 14% to 52,500 (46,000), V-Class up 24% to 29,000 (23,300), and the Renault-built Citan up 5% to 12,500 (11,900).

Mercedes-Benz Vans projects "a significant increase" in 2017  full year sales. As part of its strategy to take the brad global, the division last year launched the V-Class and Vito in China where Mercedes-Benz Cars' Beijing Benz builds and sells numerous models and makes engines.

It also claims to be the world's first premium manufacturer to enter the mid-size pickup sector with the X-Class from the end of this year. The truck, effectively a rebadge of the Nissan-Renault Alliance's Barcelona built Navara model line will be in a segment that is "global, high-volume and has further growth potential", according to Daimler. It estimates, by 2026, the market will increase from 2.2m (2016) to 3.2m units (+43%).