Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) reported its best month in the history of the company with sales of 21,621, bringing the company to its all-time highest annual sales volume at 218,717.“2003 marked our tenth year of consecutive sales gains in the U.S. market and another record breaking year, thanks to much hard work on the part of our entire team at MBUSA and our dealer partners,” said Paul Halata, president and CEO of MBUSA. “The Mercedes-Benz brand is well positioned for 2004, and we will begin laying the groundwork for a new product offensive that will take the brand to new places and new people.”Running counter to a declining passenger car market, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars grew in market share and posted a 9.6 percent sales increase compared to 2002.Leading sales volume for the year, the C-Class model line posted an increase of 3.1 percent to 65,982, with a 15 percent increase in sedans alone. Sales for the model line were boosted by introductions of new C-Class 4MATIC all-wheel-drive and sport models in 2003.The E-Class model line continued to be one of the most popular and strongest performing of the Mercedes-Benz model lines with 55,683 units sold for the year, an increase of 30.7 percent over last year and setting the highest annual volume ever for the model line.Combined sales of the brand’s high-end models continue to show gains year after year. As a group, the top-of-the-line CL coupes, SL roadsters and S-Class sedans increased 2.2 percent for the year, marking the best year ever for sales of Mercedes’ high-end models. Alone, the S-Class model line of elegant sedans outperformed last year with an 8.6 percent sales increase.In addition, the seven-speed transmission was introduced in the brand’s top-of-the-line V8s: the E500, S500, SL500 and CL500.Mercedes-AMG, the Affalterbach-based builder of Mercedes-Benz high-performance models, reported its best year ever with a 68.9 percent increase (11,005 units) in 2003. This represents a twelve-fold increase since AMG products were first sold in the United States. In 2003, AMG launched the new CLK55 and the new E55, one of the fastest production sedans in the world.MBUSA posted one of its strongest year-end finishes with a 1.6 percent increase in December sales, breaking the all-time December record. For the month, the E-Class took the lead in sales volume with 6,254 units sold in December, up 2.3 percent over the previous December. The SL-Class and CLK-Class saw impressive sales gains for the month with increases of 33.6 percent and 39.9 percent respectively.Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned program, MBUSA recorded its most successful year in its history with 53,021 vehicles sold, a 22 percent increase over 2002.