The half-yearly figure for worldwide sales almost matches last year's record for the same period, the company said.
However, the manufacturer did achieve a record worldwide sales figure for June – selling 95,700 vehicles, an increase of 4% from the same month last year.
Commenting on its European performance, the manufacturer said: 'While the automobile markets of Western Europe were contracting by about 4%, Mercedes-Benz was still able to buck the trend with half-yearly sales of 372,900 vehicles, a rise of 1% on the sales volume for the same period last year.
'In France and Italy, the upward trend in the sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars continued both in June (France up 6%, Italy up 22%) and over the first six months of 2002 (France up 14%, Italy up 22%), compared to the figures recorded for the same periods last year,' it added.
The manufacturer added that in its home market of Germany half-year sales totalled 186,700 vehicles, a fall of about 3% from last year.
'This is essentially due to shortfalls in production resulting from strike action,' the manufacturer said.
'In Germany too, the market as a whole declined over the first six months of the year, contracting by about 4%. Nevertheless, June sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars totalled almost 33,000 units, a rise of 1% on the figure recorded for the same month last year,' it added.
'We're still battling with a difficult economic climate and clearly declining automobile markets all over the world, including nearly all of our core markets in Europe,' said Dr Joachim Schmidt, divisional board of management member for sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
'So we're all the more pleased about the fact that we've met our target and performed significantly better in the first half of 2002 than the market as a whole. If we take into account that the new E-class is not yet fully available in all the markets around the world, and that the new CLK-class is just being launched, our sales performance in the coming year should be rated all the more highly,' Schmidt added.
He concluded: 'And finally, if we look at the very good order situation for our new models and the continuing success of established models such as the C-class and M-class, we can approach the coming months with some confidence.'