Business: Mercedes in Overdrive

Most German automakers have been speeding along in reverse this year. Turned back by the country's recession, auto sales have retreated 19% from last year's peak, and exports have skidded by 14%. Yet at the Stuttgart works of Daimler-Benz A.G., where 80,000 employees are rolling out more Mercedes than ever, the industry is on overtime and in overdrive.

Mercedes auto sales have raced past the rest of Germany's standstill economy, are running 5% ahead of their 1966 level of 191,625 cars. By year's end, sales of the company's cars, as well as its heavy duty trucks, buses and engines, which account for...

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