Even if the recent turmoil of the Chinese economy has slowed down the auto market, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says the demand for Mercedes-Benz cars has not been affected.
The auto sales for 2015 in China have been reported at the slowest pace in three years, with only a 4.7 percent increase over 2014. However, the commotion on the world’s biggest auto market did not seem to offset demand for Mercedes-Benz premium cars. “November was a strong month. December it looks like a growth month as well. We don’t see any negative impact in our showroom, just the opposite,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show. “We have very strong momentum. We are cautiously optimistic that momentum that we have built in the past years will continue,” Zetsche said about the demand in China.
And the sales figures do not contradict him, as China developed into the brand’s biggest individual market worldwide in 2015, with deliveries jumping 31.3 percent in December and 32.6 percent for the full-year, up to 373,459 cars. By comparison, rival BMW’s core brand deliveries in China gained only 1.7 percent, while Audi’s volume fell 1.4 percent in the world’s biggest market. Zetsche did not want to advance a forecast for this year for China, but he sees the US market growing by a single-digit percentage amount, while growth in Europe could be higher than single digits.
Zetsche also welcomed the prospect of Chinese joint venture partner BAIC taking a stake in Daimler. “They are highly welcome to become shareholders. The main prerequisite is that there will be no dilution to other shareholders,” he said.