Seeking to challenge the local dominance of BMW and Audi, Daimler Motor Company, the maker of Mercedes-Benz plans to invest 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in China to build its largest car factory to date.
Hubertus Troska, 53, head of the China business, said in Beijing today the plant is scheduled for completion as early as 2014 and would help Daimler double China production to more than 200,000 units a year. There are also planned investments into an engine plant and other auto production facilities.
“If we’re not more successful in China, our goal of global position number one will be very difficult to achieve,” Troska said. “There’s a recognition that we need to improve our performance in China vis-a-vis some of our competitors.”
As Daimler is only now planning to sell 300,000 vehicles in China by 2015, Volkswagen AG’s Audi reached that milestone in 2011 and BMW AG did so last year. The Stuttgart, Germany-based company last year appointed Troska to be the first management board member to oversee operations in China. Prior to that, Troska ran the Mercedes trucks unit. In the time he spent managing the region, he merged the company’s two distribution arms and set up a support unit to coordinate marketing, sales and training initiatives in the country.