The Chinese auto retailer Zhongsheng Group Holdings has recently acquired 70% stake in Carlsson Autotechnik GMBH, a German vehicle-personalization specialist.
The move is aimed at meeting rising demand from rich Chinese car owners for custom bodies and souped-up engines. Zhongsheng and Pangda Automobile Trade Co are beginning to diversify their product portfolio to gain market share since the wealthy Chinese invest millions in luxury vehicles. No financials details were given concerning this investment, or what revenue and profit growth is expected from Carlsson. In 2011 Zhongsheng managed to sell accessories worth 300 million yuan ($47 million).
The majority of Carlsson’s products are authorized by Mercedes, which allows Mercedes car buyers to keep their vehicle’s warranties from being nullified even if they install after-market parts. Zhongsheng and Carlsson also plan to establish Mercedes-Carlsson retailers in China in order to sell super-luxury Mercedes cars customized by Carlsson. New manufacturing plants will be open in China, were Carlsson customized accessories and kits will be manufactured for brands represented by Zhongsheng. Currently, Beijing’s auto retail group has 140 markets and stores for foreign brands including Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo, Toyota and Porsche.