Top Biz News

Daimler JV says new models to help double sales

By Gong Zhengzheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-08 13:37
Large Medium Small

Long-wheelbase E-Class, 1.6-liter C180 produced to meet local market conditions

German carmaker Daimler AG's joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp plans to more than double sales of Mercedes-Benz cars this year from 2009 by offering two major new models.

Mark Si, executive vice-president for sales and marketing at Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive Co Ltd, told China Daily last week that it expects to move 45,000 Mercedes-Benz cars this year, up from almost 20,000 units in 2009.

Projected 2010 sales include 35,000 locally made C-Class and E-Class sedans along with 10,000 imported E-Class models, Si said.

He said the venture plans to begin making the Mercedes-Benz C180 equipped with a 1.6-liter Kompressor engine in May.

With the introduction of the C180, the company aims to increase C-Class sales to as much as 25,000 cars this year from 16,000 units in 2009 as buyers of the new model take advantage of a preferential 7.5 percent consumption tax, he said.

China imposes a 10 percent tax on vehicles with engines larger than 1.6 liters. The 1.8-liter C200 K, 2.5-liter C260 and 3.0-liter C300 are currently made in Beijing.

Si said the company will also begin making a specially designed long-wheelbase E-Class model in May and put it on sale in China in the second half of this year to cater to demand for roomier sedans.

The locally built E-Class, set to make its global premier at the Beijing international motor show in April, has a wheelbase 14 cm longer than its imported cousin.

"We will have very clear and strong market positioning for the long-wheelbase E-Class and it will really get tested in terms of market acceptance in 2011," he said, adding that nearly 10,000 will be built this year.

Mercedes-Benz's rivals Audi, BMW and Volvo already make and sell long-wheelbase sedans in China.

Si said the joint venture will hike overall production capacity to 80,000 to 100,000 units a year by 2012, up from around 25,000 units at present.

Audi, the current leader in China's premium car market, opened a new plant last September that will double its domestic capacity to 200,000 units a year. BMW announced last November that it has long-term plans to lift its annual production in China to 300,000 units from 41,000 units last year.

Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler will also build a plant this year to assemble the German icon's most advanced engines to supply both itself and Daimler's other joint venture in China, a tie-up with Fujian Motor Industry Corp that makes Mercedes-Benz multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), he added.

Si said the company is also considering exporting the long-wheelbase E-Class.

"The long-wheelbase E-Class is expected to be exported to some surrounding markets in a small volume initially," he said without revealing details.

Si said the company plans to add 20 new authorized dealerships for Mercedes-Benz cars this year in China. It now has 143.

Related readings:
Daimler JV says new models to help double sales Daimler hopes to unseat BMW with new models
Daimler JV says new models to help double sales Daimler to triple Beijing JV capacity on sales boom
Daimler JV says new models to help double sales Daimler shifts focus to small cars, green engines
Daimler JV says new models to help double sales Qingyuan, Daimler may make electric vehicles in China

Beijing Benz-DaimlerChryser will join forces with dealerships and a renowned international financial company this year to aggressively expand its car rental business, he said without disclosing the name of the finance company.

Si added that the joint venture will also beef up financing efforts for buyers of the E-Class and C-Class this year.

Although it still has Chrysler in its name, the joint venture established in 2005 stopped making Chrysler cars at the end of 2008 as a result of breakup of Daimler and Chrysler in August 2007.