Daimler expects its sales to grow at double the rate of the global car market this year, the German car maker said as it unveiled strong sales of the Mercedes-Benz so far this year and re-affirmed its 2010 earnings forecast. Mercedes sales in the first quarter of 2010 rose by 27% from the same period a year ago, Daimler said, adding that the sales mix had shifted towards larger cars, such as the E-Class and S-Class. Daimler was hit hard by the global downturn in car sales in 2009, with revenues falling by 20% to €78.9bn, and took cost-cutting measures to mitigate the downturn. It expects to post earnings before interest of €2.3bn this year. Last year it posted an operating loss of €1.5bn and a significant net loss of €2.6bn. ‘We did not limit ourselves to simply trying to somehow keep our head above water in the crisis,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the management board of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. ‘We continued to do our strategic homework. Daimler is extremely well positioned in the race to shape the future of the automobile.’ He pointed out that Mercedes is the best-selling foreign car in the US and that sales grew by 137% in China in the first quarter. ‘In view of these numbers, our global sales target for the year is ambitious, but it’s also realistic: we plan to grow at around double the rate of the global passenger car market in full-year 2010,’ he said.