Daimler expects decisive growth in China and also is expecting improved sales in India and South America, chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche told Radio Deutschlandfunk.

China is already the largest market for the high-end Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Zetsche added the country offers “incredible opportunities which Daimler will use in future”.

Zetsche also said he thought that the premium segment would recover earlier and faster than the rest of the market and confirmed that the Mercedes passenger car business would will be in the black for the second half of 2009 having already surpassed this year’s savings goal of EUR 4bn (US$5.8bn).

He said further job cuts at Daimler were unlikely, assuming a slow but steady recovery of the global economy and the car markets had begun.

On Sunday Zetsche told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung he was sticking to the company’s long-term EBIT profit margin target of 10% for the cars division but was unclear when the company would reach it.

He said: “As long as the environment is so unclear it would be dishonest to name a date. The target remains realistic, even though we have to manage two enormous challenges at the same time: the crisis on the one hand and expenditures for the preparation of a CO2-free world on the other.”

Vehicle sales by Mercedes-Benz Cars fell 13.2% in August but the company said it expected better results in coming months.