Marking another milestone for Mercedes-Benz in China, in early December the first locally produced Mercedes-Benz GLK compact SUV rolled off the line at the Beijing production plant of Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). This follows the June 2011 agreement between Daimler and Chinese Joint Venture partner BAIC to further expand their cooperation in China with various projects, including the GLK.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Daimler Board of Management, Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans, explains: “The start of our local GLK production in China exemplifies our strategy of global expansion of production close to the market. We are thus supporting our sales success in our regional markets also from the production side, an important contribution to the Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy.”
Ulrich Walker, Chairman & CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia, adds: “The GLK has provedto be enormously popular with customers here in China, so it is an ideal addition to our lineup of locally-produced vehicles.”
Emphasizing the importance of the Chinese market, Mr. Walker continued: “Nothing represents our long-term commitment to China more tangibly than the production of vehicles in China itself: The localized production of further Mercedes-Benz models is an important element of our growth strategy for the Chinese market. As early as 2015 we expect to locally produce two-thirds of all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars sold in China. The start of production of the GLK is another important milestone towards this goal.”
“The GLK adds to the locally-produced Long-wheel-base E-Class and new C-Class, and complements other current investments in BBAC, including the new engine plant and R&D Center. We’re also planning local production of additional Mercedes-Benz models,” explains Frank Deiss, President & CEO of Beijing Benz Automotive Co.
The Mercedes-Benz GLK has received a very warm welcome from customers worldwide since its debut in 2008. In particular in China, a growing number of customers have appreciated the brand’s compact SUV, with sales already well in excess of 20,000 units in the current year. China now represents one of the most important markets worldwide for the GLK.
Mercedes-Benz sold 168,940 vehicles overall in China (including Hong Kong) from January through November 2011, an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the same time-frame in 2010. Year-to-date sales in October 2011 already exceeded the total number of cars sold in 2010. The next few years are also certain to see further sales growth: in 2015, the company aims to sell more than 300,000 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in China.
About Daimler Northeast Asia
Daimler Northeast Asia, located in Beijing, includes Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd, Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance Ltd, Daimler Northeast Asia Parts Trading & Services Co., Ltd., the Joint Ventures Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), Fujian Daimler Automotive (FJDA), Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd., as well as sales organizations in Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan.
Local production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars began in 2006 at the 50/50 joint venture BBAC with the predecessor of the current E-Class. In spring 2008, the C-Class joined local production as the second model. Since May 2010, BBAC producesthe current E-Class as a long-wheelbase version especially customized to meet the requirements of the Chinese market.
In June 2011, Daimler and its Joint Venture partner BAIC signed a strategic framework agreement to further expand their cooperation in China. The agreement includes the following projects: expansion of local passenger car production in 2011 with the GLK, with three models of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz premium compact cars planned for 2013; further expansion of production capacities for the C-Class and the
E-Class Long-wheel-base version; production of 4-cylinder gasoline engines in 2013 for use in locally produced Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and vans; and a new R&D center to be established with a focus on vehicle testing and adaptation, as well as R&D activities with suppliers. With these projects, about 2 billion euros will be invested at BBAC.
In November 2011, Daimler and BAIC signed a Letter of Intent which will further deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two companies. BAIC and Daimler will jointly analyze the possibilities of technological cooperation as well as cooperation in the field of research and development of new energy vehicles with the aim of further improving the competitiveness of both partners in China.
Source: Daimler AG