Even if Mercedes-Benz is behind its main competitors in China, Daimler’s unit is determined to hit the no 1 luxury spot there by 2020.
The Chinese auto market developed into Mercedes’ biggest individual market worldwide in 2015, as sales jumped by 32.6 percent for the full-year, a leap way bigger than BMW’s 1.7 percent gain. By contrast, Audi’s volume fell 1.4 percent last year in the world’s largest passenger car market. Nevertheless, in terms of volumes, Mercedes is trailing its rivals, with 373,459 vehicles delivered last year, compared to 570,000 cars sold by Volkswagen’s unit and to BMW’s 460,000 units.
After a decade of BMW dominance in the premium segment, the three-pointed star marque is closer than ever to retake the title this year, as it is in the lead after the first quarter of this year. But the question remains how important is China in the whole sales equation. “We don’t need to be No. 1 in China to become the global No. 1,” Hubertus Troska, who’s led Daimler’s China operations since 2012, explained to reporters at the Beijing motor show. “China continues to be positive this year.”
If China will prove not be decisive at the end of 2016 in the luxury crown battle, the coming years will surely make a difference. “China will remain our biggest global growth market during the next five years,” Ola Kaellenius, Mercedes’s sales chief, added. “We want to be No. 1 by 2020, but not at any price.”