China, U.S. pushes Bmw and Daimler luxury-car production to maximum rates

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 11, 2013

Even as the European auto-market continues on a decline, BMW and Daimler are not too worried as the sales growth it is experiencing in the U.S. and in China has led to the near-maximum pace of production. In the first two months of 2013, BMW delivered 6% more vehicles to over 250,000 units. BMW is aiming to achieve a third straight year of record sales.

At a Geneva Auto Show press conference last Tuesday, CEO Norbert Reithofer said that its plants are operating at full capacity. At a different briefing, CEO Dieter Zetsche said that its Mercedes-Benz unit is adding shifts to cope with the demand for compact cars. BMW and Daimler (which are ranked No. 1 and no. 3 in global luxury sales, respectively) are offering new models.

They’re attempting to attract more customers outside of Europe in order to make up for the recession in those markets. LMC Automotive consulting company said that their production rates are higher than those of the wider auto industry in Europe, which could lose 3 percentage points of capacity utilization to 63% in 2013 as the market declines for the sixth straight year. Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst at IHS Automotive research company, said that at the beginning, BMW and Mercedes have a wide variety of new products.

Mercedes will have to offer new A class compact and E class if it is to have some success. We’ll know in about half a year’s time how lucrative this decision was. BMW is introducing the 3-series GT crossover coupe at the Geneva show and is in preparations to deliver its first electric vehicle, the BMW i3 city car, at the end of 2013.

Zetsche is launching the Mercedes CLA compact coupe and a refreshed version of the up-scale E-class sedan. Zetsche revealed that Mercedes' auto plant in Rastatt, Germany, has added 21 additional weekend work shifts to boost production. This plant also rolls out the A-Class and B-Class cars. He also revealed that the company doesn’t yet have the capacity to comply with the rising demand for compacts and SUVs.

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