Mercedes-Benz sales continued to climb in May, up 18% to 101,400 vehicles versus 86,300 in May 2009.

The brand’s biggest increase was in China, including Hong Kong, reaching a monthly record total of 11,500 units, more than double the total in the same month a year ago.

Sales were also up in other Asian markets, by 21% in Japan and by 13% in Australia, where Mercedes-Benz was the market leader in May. There was also significant growth in all BRIC countries, with Russia up 101% while in South Africa, it was the premium brand with the highest market share and increased sales by 34%.

In the US, the brand’s second-largest market, sales totalled 18,500 units, up 23% against 15,100 last May. Western European sales excluding Germany, grew by 9% to 26,500 passenger vehicles, from 24,300 a year ago. The company said all major markets grew, with sales up 18% in Italy and 5% in France and in Spain.

However, in its home market, Mercedes-Benz sold 24,700 passenger vehicles in May, down 4% from the 25,600 last year, in a sharply declining overall market.

Sales and marketing chief Joachim Schmidt said that the sales figures keep the company on course for a strong second quarter in which it forecasts double-digit growth.

Car sales in Western Europe down 8.7% in May