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Ulrich Walker, chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia Ltd, presents the smart Dragon edition at 2012 Auto China.
Premium cars and vans, high-tech trucks, range of financing options
With the Beijing Auto Show well underway, the level of excitement leaves no doubt that 2012 will be another great year for premium autos in China as a captivated public admires the latest that Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have to offer.
"We're really enthusiastic about the auto show in Beijing," said Ulrich Walker, chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia Ltd.
"Daimler is showcasing our entire line of products with an exciting array of exhibitions and press conferences highlighting how we're bringing innovation to China and developing new technology in this country right here, right now."
Mercedes-Benz, the iconic brand under the Daimler corporate umbrella, leads the way at the show with an impressive lineup of 34 car models, including four world premieres.
Emphasizing its commitment to China, Mercedes-Benz Cars has launched an exclusive smart dragon edition at the show to commemorate this year in the Chinese zodiac. Representing dynamism and success, the dragon's red and gold colors adorn the smart car, branded with an unmistakable badge of the Chinese character for "dragon".
As the ideal solution to urban mobility in busy Chinese megacities, the limited edition of 700 smart dragons is a perfect fit for consumers who want to express their individuality in modern China.
Mercedes-Benz has declared 2012 as "Year of the SUV", a theme that resonates particularly well in China, where consumers are leading a more adventurous lifestyle.
The Beijing show will also launch a special edition locally produced GLK-Class SUV, the GLK Grand Edition. With its distinctive aluminum running board, black privacy glass and heated front seats, the new GLK adds yet more variety to Mercedes-Benz extensive SUV family.
The smart dragon and the GLK-Class SUV represent the diversity of China's tastes and dreams of luxury in 2012, which the constantly refreshed portfolio of Mercedes-Benz models is ready to satisfy.
The management and shareholders of Fujian Benz at Viano Vision Diamond.
Moving people in style
The van sector is an important commercial area for the auto industry, where a variety of shapes and sizes of vans help businesses increase their mobility. Daimler has formed a joint venture in China, the Fujian Benz Auto Co, which produces vehicles that fill a much-needed niche for executive-class business transport.
Known as multi-purpose vehicles, or MPVs, the highly flexible, intelligent interior space of the Mercedes-Benz Vito, Viano, and Sprinter makes them ideal people-movers, whether it's for picking up business partners at the airport or shuttling a successful team around.
Auto show visitors can slide into their own comfortable seat in the special Viano Vision Diamond concept model and experience for themselves how the MPVs provide an oasis of unparalleled luxury amid the hustle and bustle of modern mobility.
The sleek outlines of the Viano elegantly sloping down to the three-pointed star proudly emblazoned on the front grill clearly show that this is an executive-level MPV. Yet the cabin of the Vision Diamond sets new standards in top comfort and interior styling.
With a highly intelligent use of space, the fine texture of the seating and appointments seamlessly blend with the high technology of its state-of-the-art audio and video multimedia center to produce a business travel environment second to none.
"This amazing MPV is a very real demonstration of how finely we are tuned-in to the needs of Chinese consumers," said Rene Reif, president and CEO of FBAC.
"In a country where hospitality to guests is key, businesses can now entertain colleagues in the privacy and comfort of what amounts to a mobile living room. And with the highest safety standards in the sector, our customers are assured that their guests travel safely as well as comfortably."
Reif also emphasized the level of personalization that the entire range of MPVs offers.
"While the Vision Diamond represents the pinnacle of luxury, all our vehicles are tailor-made for China with flexible seating arrangements from 6 to 20 passengers allowing customization to suit business needs. We are the complete business mobility solutions provider."
Embodying the high standards of Mercedes-Benz quality, the MPVs are destined to become lifelong reliable partners for successful businesses in China. The popularity of the MPV is clearly evident though the sector's strong 42 percent growth in 2011. To support high demand, FBAC will expand its points of sale to close to 100 outlets by the end of 2012.
The spacious cabin of this Mercedes-Benz truck acts as an office on wheels.
Trucks you can trust
As visitors walk around Beijing Auto Show admiring the wide array of Mercedes-Benz cars, they will inevitably turn their gaze upward as they approach the towering lineup of Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks to view the full size of the premium vehicles.
Standing alongside an Actros, Robert Veit, executive vice-president of Daimler Trucks China, gave his unique perspective.
"These trucks are certainly impressive when you look at them from the outside," Veit remarked. "You get an immediate feel for the power of these long-haul vehicles and understand how they can make a real contribution to the current economic expansion across China."
But to really appreciate how special they are, you need to climb up to the driver's cabin and take a look inside. The Actros truck offers premium comfort that you expect to find only in a Mercedes-Benz sedan. The Actros driver also enjoys more space in the cab as well as better safety measures.
As truck technology develops, the attitude of Chinese business owners is also changing to look further into the future. Planning ahead to maximize efficiency and profits, the initial purchase price of a truck become less of an issue than total cost of ownership, which balances lifetime maintenance and running costs.
The fuel efficiency, robustness and longevity of the Actros means they are less expensive to run over the total life of the truck. The Actros is also perfectly positioned to transport heavier payloads on the improved highway systems in China.
An additional highlight for the Actros is FleetBoard, an intelligent fleet management system that enables business operations to monitor the status of their remote fleets including routes, maintenance status, driver information and driving habits. With scheduling and planning based on real-time information, operations become more efficient and cost effective.
"Mercedes-Benz Trucks are already the market leader in imported premium trucks in China. Transport businesses looking to add an Actros truck to their fleet will have an additional reason to visit the Beijing show," added Veit.
"The Actros FleetStar, customized for the China market and offered at a competitive price, will be launched at the show," he said. "
In addition, our telematic solution FleetBoard will now be standard on all Mercedes-Benz tractors in China, with customers enjoying a four-month trial at no cost. We're also offering special financing packages for selected models at discounted interest rates that are only available during the auto show period."
Veit said: "the combination of Actros FleetStar, FleetBoard, and our finance and maintenance packages, all combine to give fleet owners a clear competitive edge with reduced operating costs".
At the Foton stand there is the lineup of Auman trucks, soon to be produced by Daimler's joint venture, Beijing Foton Daimler Auto. The Auman is well known in China in the volume market and complements Daimler's portfolio to cover the entire truck sector.
Stefan Albrecht, executive vice-president of BFDA provided a clear explanation of the value of the joint venture. "BFDA combines the best of both worlds. Foton brings with it the successful Auman business, which includes its development, production and sales network. Besides our financial contribution, Daimler supplies the state-of-the-art OM457 Mercedes-Benz motor, which will also be produced locally."
Visitors can see an Aumen GTL equipped with the OM457 engine and branded with a "Powered by Mercedes-Benz" badge at the Foton stand, as well as a stand-alone OM457 for the technically minded.
Innovative financing to realize your dreams sooner
Visitors to the Beijing show that get hooked on the cars, MPVs and trucks on display and want to move along the path to ownership can get to see the otherwise intangible aspects of auto financing at an impressive pavilion housing Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance, or MBAFC.
The elegant architecture creates a private area of about 500 square meters with the single theme of auto financing in China. As part of the Daimler Financial Services global network, and as the only auto financing company at the show, the pavilion's appearance is another first.
MBAFC is clearly emphasizing how financing services are an integral part of Mercedes-Benz and other business units of Daimler, and how their financial solutions are as innovative as the range of vehicles that Mercedes-Benz and Daimler provide to China.
Brian Fulton, president and CEO of MBAFC, was personally on hand at the pavilion to welcome invited customers and explain the benefits of financing.
"The important thing to remember is that MBAFC is entirely dedicated to supporting ownership of a premium Mercedes-Benz vehicle, whether for a private individual who has the dream of owning one of our cars right now, or a businessman who has the ambition to make his money work harder and more efficiently with a Mercedes-Benz truck or van."
Management from Daimler, BYD and joint venture company BDNT unveil the Denza concept car.
Denza - new electric vehicles
Fans of alternate energy vehicles will certainly have been following the story of Daimler's joint venture with BYD in Shenzhen, BYD Daimler New Technology. With the all-electric vehicle due to be launched in 2013, the new Denza brand was revealed to the world only recently, with its intriguing logo depicting a blue water drop supported by the two hands of the joint venture partners.
Now Beijing Auto Show visitors will be treated to the first view of the Denza concept car. Adding to the list of firsts in China for Daimler, development of the Denza brings with it a first for sharing technology for pure electric vehicles, a first for creating a local brand for the China market, and a first for joint development of a new electric vehicle in China.
The unique concept car is a leading battery-driven vehicle that defines a new level of sophistication in the Chinese new-energy vehicle segment.
"We are reaching out to those who believe that state-of-the-art technologies and beautiful concepts can blend together into the perfect mobility solution without compromising safety or comfort to provide both a modern and green urban lifestyle," remarked Arno Roehringer, BDNT chief operating officer, while introducing the car at auto show. "We created the Denza not only for the people of today, but also to inspire future generations."
The Denza display booth is carefully designed to reflect the strengths of the car, as well as the values of the company, and mirrors the blue of the Denza logo and car. "Denza blue" represents the company's twin conceptual foundations of environmental responsibility and cutting-edge technology.
China is the home to Denza because of its great potential as a new electric vehicle market. With its expanding middle class, increasing urbanization, open-minded consumers, and a supportive government determined to reduce reliance on oil, the Denza will be at the forefront in leading China's adoption of the vehicles.