Today the Mercedes-Benz V-Class celebrates its market premiere in China in front of 500 media representatives and other guests from business and politics. From mid-April, the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) will be on offer in the world’s largest car market – tailored to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers. Production at Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co. Ltd (FBAC) in Fuzhou has already started. Following its market launch in 2014, the V-Class immediately became an international success. In 2015, its first full year on the market, the Mercedes-Benz MPV achieved record unit sales. Sales increased by about 26 percent to 31 500 vehicles.
With its unique concept, that combines the functionality of a van with the typical strengths of a Mercedes-Benz saloon, the V-Class has meanwhile convinced customers in around 90 countries. Thanks to its exceptional style, high comfort and multiple individualization options, suiting different needs, the V-Class enjoys a unique position in the global MPV segment.
Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans: “The V-Class is a key product of our international growth strategy ‘Vans goes global’. With the V-Class, we offer a MPV of passenger car standard that can be adapted to market- and customer-specific demands worldwide thanks to a variety of equipment options. I am sure the V-Class will be popular with families, businesses and shuttle operators in China, too.”
“China is one of the most important markets for Daimler globally”, says Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Greater China. “Our key strategy is to delight our Chinese customers with the best products, best services and of course best customer experience. We have managed to bring all those factors in our locally produced new V-Class and are confident that it will open lots of opportunities for our van business in China.”
Tailored to the Chinese market
Tailor-made to the demands of Chinese customers, the V-Class comes with a host of luxurious equipment features that imply status while at the same time offering a prestigious, cosy ambience. The features include the panoramic sliding sunroof, large centre console with refrigerator box and thermo cup holders, folding tables on the front-seat backrests and luxury comfort seats in the rear. The exclusive seats are heated and climatised, feature electrically adjustable backrests and thigh supports as well as a massage function.
Mercedes-Benz Vans expanded its plant in Fuzhou in the south-east of China with its first ever research and development centre outside Germany in 2013. The centre focuses on models that are locally produced and marketed. In the development process of the new MPV it was thus possible to take full account of the market and customer specific needs in China.
Local production in China already started
The first V-Class models “Made in China for China” have already rolled off the assembly line at the Fuzhou production plant and will be in showrooms from mid- April. As a next step, the new Vito will also go into local production in Fuzhou in the course of 2016.
The plant of Fujian Benz Automotive collaborates closely with the Spanish production site in Vitoria, Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global competence centre for mid-size vehicles. The plant in Vitoria, with good capacity utilisation, supplies all other global markets with the V-Class. Mercedes-Benz Vans anticipates further growth in production for 2016. The experienced experts at the plant in Vitoria are coordinating international production, from tooling strategy to logistics to quality management. In addition, numerous employees from China have undergone intensive training at the plant in Vitoria, while the experts from Spain were on hand to assist their Chinese colleagues with the start-up of production on-site.
“Our global production network is distinguished by the highest degree of flexibility when it comes to customer wishes as well as quality. We are thus able to ensure uniform Mercedes-Benz production processes and standards on a top level worldwide”, says Frank Klein, Head of Production Mercedes-Benz Vans. “With the significant investment in the local production site we are not only strengthening our presence in the biggest automobile market in the world, we are also emphasising our leading position as the most global manufacturer of vans.”
Fujian Benz Automotive has invested around 200 million euros in China (1.4 billion RMB) for the new mid-size models. A large proportion of the investment has gone into the localization of components and equipment features, the preparation and modernisation of bodyshell and assembly as well as qualification measures for staff in the Fuzhou plant.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Vans