Mercedes-Benz Planning To Reduce Imports From Germany From 70 Percent To 30 Percent This Year
With 2010 ranking as a banner year for the Chinese auto industry, luxury automakers are gearing up to outdo themselves this year, even as high-end sales are expected to drop by up to 10 percent. Competition remains nothing if not fierce, with major brands coming out of the gates swinging. Last week, Bloomberg noted the “disproportionately large share of high-performance sports cars” purchased by Chinese women, adding that carmakers are now marketing heavily to this demographic, and today the New York Times writes that Porsche may manufacture its Cajun SUV (a smaller and more inexpensive counterpart to the Cayenne) in China. Not to be outdone, Beijing Benz, the joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding Co. (BAIC) has announced that it expects sales to rise 60 percent this year, spurred by better localization and increased manufacturing capacity at its local factories.
According to the Beijing News, Beijing Benz is already working to develop four localized models for the Chinese market by 2015, with one, the Mercedes Benz GLK-Class, set to be released by the end of the year. The other three models are expected to be built on completely new platforms. With Beijing Benz looking to dramatically cut its reliance on imports from Germany, from 70 percent to 30 percent, the company will be looking to gain a competitive advantage over rivals Audi and BMW, and local manufacturing, as well as more intensive localization, could be the ticket.
As Gasgoo, writing on the report by the Beijing News, adds:
Mercedes-Benz sold more than 50,000 vehicles in China last year, accounting for 35% of its global sales, which has made China its third largest market, as well as the third and second biggest markets for its C-Class and E-Class sedans respectively.
Starting with a limited annual capacity of less than 20,000 vehicles, Beijing Benz is now capable of producing 80,000-100,000 vehicles annually. Mark Si, executive vice president for sales and marketing of the joint venture, said by 2015 the company will expand its annual capacity to 300,000 vehicles.