DaimlerChrysler, whose holdings include Freightliner, Sterling Trucks and Western Star Trucks, announced scoring a brisk 18% increase in unit sales to 125,800 vehicles in its commercial vehicles division for the first quarter over 1Q 2003.

Revenues rose 13.8% to 6.6 billion Euros ($7.9 billion) over the same period last year, while operating profits soared nearly six-fold to 268 million Euros ($321 million) from last year’s 47 million Euros ($56 million). The company cites good volumes and efficiency-enhancing programs for the dramatic improvement in its bottom line.

Commercial vehicle sales in its NAFTA arm— which comprises Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses— jumped 38% to 36,700 vehicles. Its European and South American divisions, comprising Mercedes-Benz, posted a 23% sales increase to 26,800 vehicles. Its Asian arm, comprising Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., upped sales of trucks and buses 21% to 56,200 units.

DaimlerChrysler predicts its commercial vehicles division will increase its operating profit throughout 2004.