Mercedes-Benz plans to catch up with rivals BMW and Audi by expanding its retail network and increasing production in China.
“We recognize the strong potential of the Chinese market and we have initiated key activities for long-term and sustainable growth, ” said Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes head of sales and marketing.
Daimler predicts that China will become its largest market in the next two years, overtaking the US and Germany. The German automaker plans to sell more than 300,000 vehicles in China in 2015, an increase from 200,000 units sold last year, relying on the rapidly increasing demand fro premium vehicles coming from the middle and upper classes.
“Those customers demand prestigious brands, top products, innovations as well as excellent quality and service,” said Schmidt.
Daimler aims at doubling production at its JV plant with Beijing Automotive to 200,000 vehicles in 2015, from the 96,500 units in 2012. Therefore the automaker will build locally two-thirds of the cars sold in China, up from 50% in 2012. At the end of 2014 Daimler will add production of the GLA crossover at the Beijing joint venture factory, besides the C-Class, GLK and the long-wheelbase E- Class.
“Premium cars in China are often chauffeur-driven so the vehicles that customers ask for are those with a spacious rear area where the passenger can work comfortably and enjoy high entertainment standards,” Schmidt said. “Great importance is also attached to interior comfort so most cars are sold with full equipment.”