Daimler's Mercedes-Benz had a record March with sales up 14.8% year on year to 228,296 vehicles. First quarter volume was also a record – up 16% to 560,625.

"That's the highest number of cars we have ever sold in one quarter," Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz Cars marketing & sales chief said.

In Europe, sales rose 11.8% to 109,237 in March and 10.8% to 233,329 in the first quarter.

March Asia-Pacific sales rose 23.1% to 78,649 in March and 27.4% to 219,418 in Q1.

NAFTA region March sales rose 6.3% to 34,922 and 7.1% to 94,142 for a record Q1.

Smart sales were 34,156 units in the first three months of this year but Mercedes did not provide comparisons. It said the Fortwo and Forfour were especially popular in Great Britain, where the urban microcars achieved their best-ever sales figures in March as well as in the first quarter. Further sales stimulus is expected from the new smart electric drive which have been available to order in Europe since March.