China is a tough market for Daimler image

The Daimler subsidiary, which lost a few years ago the top place among premium automakers, needs to get back on track from an underwhelming performance in China – which helped BMW and Audi distance themselves.

Now, according to Chinese newspapers, during the Beijing Auto Show Mercedes-Benz reportedly outspent its rivals in an effort to capture both customer and media attention. Also, while it skipped the New York Auto Show, Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler’s board of management, made the trip to Beijing. There, Daimler had separate press events for Mercedes-Benz, the Sprinter commercial brand and the joint preview of an electric vehicle built with a Chinese partner.

“The Chinese word for Benz is ‘ben-chi’ and also means ‘gallop’. And that is exactly what we have been doing here in China – in keeping with the ‘year of the horse’ – since the start of the first quarter, which we have completed very successfully with a sales increase of 47%,” Zetsche said during his visit to Beijing.

The CEO also said he expected further growth in the country, as the premium segment’s sales expand – with Mercedes-Benz having now eight new models for the local market, and its dealership network expanding by more than 100 location in 40 cities. He expects positive results for the next two years, with sales topping 300,000 units by 2015.