Daimler is off to a good start in 2012.

Daimler - corporate parent of smart, Mercedes-Benz and the lame duck Maybach brand - has posted a better than expected first quarter. Daimler's Q1 results were lifted by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz brand.

Daimler delivered 502,100 new cars and trucks during the first quarter, representing a 9 percent improvement over the year prior. The company's revenue reflected that growth with a 9 percent improvement to $35.7 billion. Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division was responsible for nearly $20 billion of that revenue.

Daimler's pre-tax profits were up slightly to $2.8 billion - compared to $2.7 billion in Q1 of 2011 - but the company's net profit saw a significant boost during the first three months of 2012. Daimler's net profit increased nearly 20 percent to $1.93 billion during the period.

"We have started the year with a strong first quarter," Daimler head Dr. Dieter Zetsche said in a statement. "Despite higher investment in future growth and a challenging market environment, we succeeded in surpassing the very good prior-year results in terms of unit sales, revenue, EBIT and net profit."

Thanks to that fast start, Daimler expects to sell more than 2.1 million vehicles in 2012.