Mercedes unveiled a GLE Coupe on the eve of the Detroit auto show (Photo: Arjen Bongard)

DETROIT -- Mercedes-Benz will keep renewing its product lineup in coming years, with particular focus on premium SUVs, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said Sunday.

Speaking on the eve of the Detroit auto show, Zetsche noted that Daimler had launched 15 new vehicles over the past two years and that this "renovation" had been a major factor in boosting the premium car maker's sales. Daimler sold a record 1,6510,919 vehicles in 2014, up 12.9 pc from the year before.

To underscore the importance of the SUV segment, Daimler unveiled a new model in Detroit, the GLE Coupe. "The market for SUVs is only getting stronger," Zetsche said. "We have set ambitious goals for this segment."

Volkswagen is bringing a mid-sized seven-seater SUV to Detroit as a concept car, but the carmaker said that, from the end of 2016, it will start building the model at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. VW called the plug-in hybrid "one of its most important new models in the past five decades."