Report: Daimler said to target a stake in BAIC’s auto unit image

Daimler is targeting a stake in the passenger car unit of its Chinese partner BAIC Group as it tries to boost its position in the world’s largest car market.

According to three people familiar with the matter quoted by Reuters, BAIC is planning a flotation of its BAIC Motor unit and Daimler could take a stake as part of that process, thus increasing its exposure to the Chinese market.

“When BAIC Motor is floated, Daimler may take a stake of 10 to 20 percent,” one of the sources said on Friday, adding the size of the stake depended on discussions with its Chinese partner. Daimler declined to comment, while BAIC, China’s fifth-largest automaker, was not immediately available.

Even though China has become Mercedes-Benz’s No. 3 market after Germany and the United States, the Stuttgart-based carmaker lags behind its rivals BMW and Audi in terms of Chinese sales.

BAIC’s chairman Xu Heyi told Reuters in September the group aimed to list BAIC Motor in 2013, hoping to raise around 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion). Two sources close to the transaction said BAIC Motor is expected to be listed in Hong Kong this year, while other sources said that an initial public offering (IPO) may be delayed until next year.