Mercedes-Benz and SUV sales boost Daimler profits

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Image caption Strong sales of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and SUVs in China helped boost earnings

Luxury carmaker Daimler has unveiled a first-quarter net profit of 1.18bn euros ($1.75bn; £1.05bn) compared with 612m euros at the same time a year ago.

Strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and SUVs in China helped boost earnings.

The truck division benefited from recovering economies in Europe and North America with operating profit up 415m euros from 130m a year earlier.

Daimler predicted increasing earnings this year from its Mercedes-Benz sales.

"We achieved excellent earnings in the first quarter," chairman Dieter Zetsche said in a statement. "This puts us well ahead of our planning and confirms our positive outlook for 2011."

Last year Dieter Zetsche told the BBC that the future of Europe's car industry would be determined not by its home market but by Asia, and that emerging nations would be the main drivers of growth for the foreseeable future.

"Our chance in Europe is to stay ahead, based on innovation, based on brand values and fascination around our products. And if I look at the situation today, the European industry is rather more competitive than [it was] 20 years ago," he said.

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