BERLIN - Mercedes-Benz on Thursday posted first-quarter group adjusted return on sales of 14.8%, above market expectations, boosted by higher prices and strong demand.

"Mercedes-Benz Cars delivered an adjusted return on sales of 14.8%, due to healthy net pricing, higher sales and a good product mix," the carmaker said in a statement.

Analysts expected an average adjusted return on sales of 13.4%.

First-quarter group earnings before interest and taxes rose to 5.5 billion euros and adjusted return and industrial free cash flow was at 2.2 billion euros.

Adjusted return on sales of the vans division rose to 15.6% due to improved net pricing and higher sales, the company added.

Mercedes-Benz earlier this month reported a 3% increase in global sales, with Europe posting the strongest growth at 8%, boosted by electric vehicles (EV) and premium cars.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Leslie Adler and Mark Porter)