Mercedes-Benz continued to grow in China in the first quarter, with deliveries rising to a record 24,100 units from January through March (Q1 2009: 11,800)*. This increase of 105 percent was the highest recorded by any premium manufacturer in China.
Says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars, “We aim to sell more than 100,000 passenger vehicles in China this year. The launch of the long wheelbase version of the E-Class will further intensify the dynamic growth of Mercedes-Benz in the Chinese market. The local production of an additional model will further strengthen our position the market. Over the medium term, the number of locally produced vehicles will reach the level of imports.”
In response to this market growth, Daimler is also expanding its production capacities in China. The Beijing Benz Automotive Co. Ltd. plant in Beijing is designed to produce up to 100,000 units per year in the future. The long wheelbase version of the E-Class is the second Mercedes-Benz model to be locally produced at the Beijing plant. In addition, the production of transporters has started in China: Recently, the first Mercedes-Benz Viano came off the new production line in Fuzhou China was Mercedes-Benz’ third-largest sales market in the first quarter of 2010, behind Germany and the U.S. In the same quarter of 2009 China had been in sixth place.
All Mercedes-Benz model series posted record sales in China during the first quarter of 2010. Sales of the E-Class, the C-Class, and the SUVs grew at double-digit rates. A total of 5,400 C-Class sedans were handed over to customers, while 6,400 customers bought an E-Class sedan, and 5,300 SUVs were delivered. The development was particularly favorable for the S-Class, for which China is now the world’s largest sales market, accounting for 3,700 units from January through March. The R-Class is also very popular in China, and around 7,000 B-Class cars have been sold in the country since the vehicle was launched there in early 2009. Some 2,200 customers have bought a smart fortwo since the car was introduced on the market in April 2009. Mercedes-Benz now offers 14 model ranges with a total of 52 different models in China. The sales network includes more than 140 dealerships and is being substantially expanded in order to support the brand’s growth on the Chinese market.
Mercedes-Benz also posted substantial sales growth in the other BRIC countries in the first quarter, with brand sales rising by 21 percent in India and by 40 percent in both Brazil and Russia.