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Sales of Mercedes-branded vehicles rose 13 percent to 1,871,511 cars, compared with a 3.6 percent jump to 1,803,250 vehicles sold by Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi last year, figures released today show.

Both automakers posted record sales in 2015, but Mercedes saw stronger growth in China, the world's largest car market, where its deliveries jumped 33 percent to 373,459 vehicles.

Daimler has benefited from surging demand for its new C class midsize sedan, which saw sales jump 40 percent to 443,909 cars last year.

The C class has been in showrooms since March 2014, but the start of production of a long-wheelbase version in China in July 2014 has added further momentum to Mercedes's fortunes in the country.

The launch of a new E class is expected to add further momentum, Daimler said.

"We anticipate additional sales impetus in 2016 from the new E class," Ola Kaellenius, board member for Mercedes-Benz sales, said in a statement.
 
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