MONTVALE, NJ - Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, the world's second-biggest luxury-vehicle brand, said it aims to increase second-quarter sales "substantially" as the high-end E-Class sedan attracted customers in April.

Deliveries rose 15 percent from a year earlier last month to 93,100 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the Stuttgart, Germany-based carmaker said today in a statement. Including the Smart brand's 11 percent drop, sales at Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars division rose 12 percent to 102,100 vehicles.

"It's a great start into the second quarter, during which we plan to substantially boost sales," Joachim Schmidt, the division's marketing chief, said in the statement. "Our incoming orders have increased significantly as well."

Mercedes-Benz has been trailing Volkswagen AG's Audi unit, which aims to leapfrog Daimler and Munich-based Bayerische Motoren Werke AG to become the world's largest luxury-car maker by 2015. Deliveries by the Mercedes-Benz marque rose 15 percent through the first four months of the year to 342,000 vehicles. Audi's sales climbed 24 percent to 360,750 cars and SUVs. Deliveries by BMW's namesake brand rose 15 percent to 364,329.

Sedan sales led growth at Mercedes-Benz, with a 52 percent jump for the E-Class, a 7 percent increase for the top-of-the- line S-Class and an 8 percent gain for the mid-sized C-Class, the company said.