Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, the third-largest luxury automaker in the world, has recently opened a new research and development (R&D) center in Beijing, China, in a quest to fine-tune the brand to local tastes.
While the country is already the world’s largest auto market, it’s currently second only to the USA when it comes to the luxury segment – so the growth perspective is still largely positive. Mercedes-Benz is already the best-selling brand on the US market and the German automaker aims for the same status in China – where Audi and BMW have the upper hand for now.
The new R&D center opened in Bejing should help the brand fine-tune its cars to Chinese tastes and bridge the gap with Audi and BMW, both locally and globally. Hubertus Troska, Daimler’s China head, says the decision shows that Mercedes-Benz wants to “embed more deeply in China, to make cars best suited to China.”
Mercedes-Benz shows commitment to the local market, as its own internal forecasts show that China could become the brand’s largest market in as little as one or two years. The number of Mercedes-Benz engineers and other specialists present in Beijing could reach 500 by the end of 2015, up from the current tally of 350 persons. The new R&D center signals the latest move by Troska, who came to be China’s head in 2012. He also overhauled the marketing and sales departments and increased the number of local dealers.