Mercedes-Benz began 2003 with a new sales record, selling 81,100 passenger cars in January 2003 compared with 80,300 in January 2002. In the same month, 6,000 smarts were also sold wordwide, taking the Mercedes Car Group total to 87,100. US sales in January increased 4% to 15,700 while, in Asia, Mercedes-Benz claimed to have posted the best January sales figures in its history — 8,400 units, or an increase of 33%on January 2002. The largest national market in Asia for Mercedes-Benz is Japan, where sales increased 15% to 3,200 vehicles.