By William Boston

 

BERLIN--Daimler AG said Wednesday that sales of its flagship Mercedes-Benz cars plunged in the first three months of the year, as factories shut down in the wake of the coronavirus, but added that it saw signs of recovery in China.

"In China and South Korea, our dealerships are fully open and we see a significant increase in demand there. That gives us confidence," Britta Seeger, the company's sales chief, said in a statement.

After a strong start to the year, Daimler said demand was hit by the spread of the coronavirus and sales of new Mercedes-Benz brand cars fell to 477,378 vehicles, down 15% from the previous year. Sales in China were down 20%, while sales in Europe and the U.S. fell 16% and 5% respectively.

The sharp decline in sales comes in the wake of temporary factory closures in China, Europe and the U.S. in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Write to William Boston at William.Boston@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 08, 2020 08:10 ET (12:10 GMT)

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