Mercedes-Benz has kicked off the second half of the year by reporting its best ever July sales with 100,391 passenger cars delivered worldwide.

That was a 2.7% increase over July 2010 and, since the beginning this year, sales have risen 8.6% year on year to 710,922 units from 654,418 last year.

Joachim Schmidt, sales and marketing chief, said: “Demand for our products is higher than ever before. July was another record month, which successfully followed our very good sales results in the first half of the year.

“We expect strong sales for the second half of the year and want to continue to grow. The greater availability of our vehicles will contribute to this development. We are working additional shifts at many of our plants, such as those for the C-Class, and will keep production running all summer.”

Growth in the second half will be boosted by new C-Class models and the launch of the new M-Class. A new B-Class will be launched at the Frankfurt show next month.

He said: “Overall, we are in an excellent position and are set to sell more than 1.35m cars in 2011 which would make it our all-time best year.”

Mercedes-Benz continued to grow in the US last month, with sales increasing 9.4% to 19,006, and, since January, deliveries have risen 7.3% to 129,932 vehicles.

The brand recorded high double-digit growth rates in many markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Mercedes has grown 41.7% in China since the beginning of the year with a record 106,422 sales.

In its biggest market, Germany, market share of 10.1% was the highest of any premium brand.

Sales in Germany were 23,098 units in July and 146,111 year to date.

Worldwide sales of the new Smart Fortwo continued to pick up in July with 8,521, up 2.1%. Sales have increased 7.2% since January to 63,322.