Daimler is expecting to post up to 15-percent gain in China's premium car market in 2013 as it bids to capture a larger share by expanding into the inland-west and smaller cities. Daimler is planning to open 75 new Mercedes-Benz dealerships in China in 2013, around half of them will be located in third- and fourth-tier cities, according to China sales chief Nicholas Speeks.
He said during the Chengdu auto show that Daimler is "a little bit lagging behind" their principal competitors in terms of outlets opening. He remarked that in the past, Daimler has been focusing on Beijing, Shanghai and other major markets along China's coast. He added that one of their shortcomings is the fact that Daimler need to expand its dealer network in the country.
Network expansion is a vital part of Daimler's strategic plan to invest EUR2 billion ($2.67 billion) in China over the next two years, with an aim boost sales of Mercedes cars by a third to over 300,000 units annually by 2015. The carmaker expects to sell 230,000 units this year. Achieving that aim would make China as Mercedes' largest market in the world, from the current third behind Germany and the United States.
According to Speeks, China's economy remained "fairly healthy," despite a growth slowdown. He remarked that the overall vehicle market in China was expected to grow 10-percent year-on-year in 2013, but he forecast a larger gain of a solid double digit, tagged between 13 and 15 percent.
Daimler's sale network plan entails increasing the number of Mercedes dealer outlets to 300 across over 150 cities by the end of 2013. Daimler currently has 285 Mercedes dealer outlets in the country as well as 90 Smart dealer-shops.