Mercedes-Benz Group sales rose moderately in the first quarter of the year, boosted by electric vehicles (EV) and premium cars, the German carmaker said on Wednesday.

Worldwide sales increased 3% to 503,500 vehicles, with Europe posting the strongest growth at 8%.

The firm saw the biggest sales plunge in the rest of the world that includes all of the regions except Europe, Asia and North America.

The number dropped by almost a quarter there, impacted by a decision by the company to halt export and production in Russia in March last year.

EVs were the main growth driver in the quarter, with sales almost doubling to 51,600 units.

The top-end segment - which includes models such as AMG, Maybach and G-class - also demonstrated solid growth of 18%, reaching 91,800 for the period.

Britta Seeger, a Mercedes board member, said both segments posted strong results "despite ongoing supply chain disruptions, economic headwinds and geopolitical uncertainties".

Sales in the Mercedes-Benz Vans division grew 12% in the quarter, reaching 98,900 - its best first-quarter result ever.

Earlier on Wednesday, Swedish peer Volvo reported record first-quarter profits in a sign the company had begun to overcome bottlenecks and inflation that hampered the industry.

(Reporting by Andrey Sychev, Editing by Friederike Heine, Robert Birsel)