With attractive new products and an optimised sales structure, Mercedes-Benz is setting a clear course for sustainable growth in the key market of China.
The previously separate sales businesses for imported and locally produced vehicle have been merged. At the head of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co. Ltd. is Nicholas Speeks, who has been President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China) Limited since 1st December and reports directly to the Daimler China Board Hubertus Troska. Tailor-made for the Chinese market is the new long-wheelbase E-Class produced in Beijing and celebrating its world premiere at Auto Shanghai. In another world first, Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the Concept GLA. The close-to-production study provides a preview of the forthcoming GLA-Class, the compact premium SUV with the three-pointed star. And celebrating is market launch is the new A-Class, with which Mercedes-Benz now intends to attract new target groups in the Middle Kingdom, too.
The new A-Class is launching in China just a few months after making its highly successful debut on the European market. Sales of the all-new Mercedes entry model virtually doubled there during the first quarter compared with the previous year. Among the most important reasons for purchase are the independent and distinctly sporty design and the extremely sporty handling characteristics.
The success story of the new A-Class began exactly two years ago at Auto Shanghai. “We unveiled the Concept A-Class here in 2011 and, with it, announced not only a great car, but also great plans,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars speaking at today’s Mercedes-Benz press conference at Asia’s most important auto show next to Auto China in Beijing. “We promised that the new A-Class would represent ‘the pulse of a new generation’ – and this is what we delivered. The A-Class is a great success. In its native market buyers are an average of ten years younger, more than 40 percent of customers come from other brands and, after the first quarter, the A-Class is lying well ahead of its direct competitors.”
Mercedes-Benz Cars sold more than 200,000 cars in China in 2012. By 2015, its sales figures are set to rise to over 300,000. Dr Zetsche: “A large part of this growth will be generated by our compact models, because they are the perfect proposition in a still growing market, where the demand for smaller premium vehicles continues to increase rapidly.”
The new long-wheelbase E-Class – from China for China
The E-Class is a traditional core product for Mercedes-Benz in China. The new model with the long wheelbase comes, likes its predecessor, from local production and is celebrating its world premiere at Auto Shanghai. With new, highly efficient engines and innovative driver assistance systems, the new generation of the successful business sedan combines efficient driving fun and active safety at the very highest level. The comprehensive safety concept includes systems that, for the first time, can prevent accidents with vehicles approaching from the side.
As in all markets worldwide, E-Class customers in China also have the choice between two standalone characters. Hubertus Troska: “The distinctly dynamic variant ‘Sport Sedan’ carries the star in its radiator grille and is aimed at customers with a sporty orientation. In parallel, we are also offering the classically elegant version ‘E-Class Sedan’ – for me the perfect business sedan – which has its star on the hood and thus stresses the traditional Mercedes brand values.”
Both versions are available for the first time with full-LED headlamps. The interior harmonises with the highly distinctive exterior. Fine materials and meticulous craftsmanship applied with great attention to detail underscore the premium look-and-feel of the generously proportioned interior.
“Like the new A-Class, the new E-Class has also enjoyed a highly successful start in Europe,” says Troska. “Customers and press alike have given it an enthusiastic welcome and I am convinced that we will continue that success story here in China.”
The A and E-Class making their debuts in Shanghai are the first of a total of around 20 new and facelifted models that Mercedes-Benz is scheduled to launch by 2015 in the world’s largest car market. One more highly promising newcomer that is already waiting in the wings also celebrated its world premiere in Shanghai today – the concept GLA, the harbinger of a particularly sporty compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz.
Concept GLA – escape the everyday
The Concept GLA combines dynamic design and modern technology with a high degree of leisure value. Beneath the hood of the show car is the 155 kW (211 hp) two-litre turbocharged gasoline engine. Its power is transmitted by the innovative 7G-DCT dual-clutch gearbox to the extremely lightweight and compact 4MATIC all-wheel drive that Mercedes-Benz developed specifically for its new premium compact cars.
Dr. Zetsche: “We began the A-Class success story here in Shanghai in 2011. Two years later, on exactly the same spot, we are presenting the Concept GLA, which provides a preview of the sportiest model in the compact premium SUV segment – an extremely interesting vehicle that brings additional momentum to our ongoing offensive in the compact premium class. Just like the A-class, the GLA offers an attractive overall package – also for customers who perhaps, until now, have not had our brand on their shopping list.”
100 years of Mercedes-Benz in China – looking forward
2013 marks an important anniversary in China for the inventor of the automobile: It was 100 years ago, in 1913, that Daimler opened its first sales office in the Middle Kingdom. Now the existing Mercedes dealer network is being expanded with additional locations. “Today,” says Dr. Zetsche, “we have more than 260 Mercedes dealers in China. This year alone, we will add at least 50 additional outlets.”
Source: Daimler AG