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Mercedes sales rise in January thanks to China boost

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz improved sales by 9.2 percent to 94,895 vehicles in January thanks to a rebound in its China operations, parent group Daimler said on Tuesday.

Sales of the upscale marque gained 15.4 percent in China to 16,695 vehicles last month. By comparison, China weighed on Mercedes volumes in December 2012 after dropping 19 percent year-on-year.

"We are optimistic about 2013, although we need to be prepared for market volatility particularly in Western Europe over the months to come. We see growth potential especially in North America as well as in Japan, China and Russia," said Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt in a statement.

The brand is counting on new products this year to help lift sales, such as the facelifted E-Class, an all new S-Class flagship saloon and the CLA compact four-door coupe. (Reporting By Christiaan Hetzner)