Mercedes Car Group sales have fallen in the first four months of the year, as domestic dealers prepare to stem the decline in Germany.

According to Automobilwoche, Mercedes is fighting against a dramatic downturn in domestic sales. The German car market has been suffering from the introduction of a new higher rate of VAT at the beginning of the year. Mercedes has been disproportionately hit by the decline, with sales down over 20% in Germany in April, and May not looking as though it will be any better.

Mercedes Car Group delivered 384,600 Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart brand passenger cars worldwide in the first four months of 2007, down from 395,800 during the same period a year ago. In April 2007, sales were 97,800 units (April 2006: 100,800 units). The Mercedes-Benz brand achieved a new sales record for the period from January through April, with deliveries increasing by two percent to 365,000 units (January-April 2006: 357,300). In April 2007, 90,600 customers around the world chose to purchase a Mercedes-Benz model (April 2006: 91,300).

Mercedes said that the Mercedes-Benz brand was particularly successful in the upper-range segment, where sales of the E-class jumped by 14% to 79,100 units during the first four months.

A total of 28,200 C-class cars were sold in April, with the new sedan car continuing to be introduced across its main markets since the end of March. C-class sedan sales were up 15% during the month.

Mercedes-Benz sales in the US were up 6% to a record figure of 76,900 units in the first four months of the year. In the Asia-Pacific region, deliveries rose to an all-time high of 43,700 units (January-April 2006: 42,400).

Smart fortwo sales were up 14% to 6,900 units.