Daimler, Foton mark JV launch in China – JV to invest $1 Billion image

Daimler AG on Monday said it has received a business license to operate a new truck manufacturing joint venture with Chinese partner Beiqi Foton Motor Co.

The 50-50 joint venture, called Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., will start production in the third quarter of 2012, Daimler said in the statement. A Beiqi Foton plant in Beijing is being retooled to give the venture annual production capacity of 160,000 vehicles, according to the statement.

The move will reinforce Daimler’s position as a “major automotive player in the China truck market,” Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler’s truck and buses unit, said in the e-mailed statement.

Foton has experienced rapid growth since entering the truck business in 1998. Last year it sold over 100,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks, making it a key player in China’s truck market.

“The market’s volume has doubled over the last five years, and more than 1 million trucks are now being sold in this segment in China,” Daimler said.

Last year, China accounted for around 40% of worldwide sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.