Mercedes-Benz will introduce around 20 new or upgraded car models in China in the next two years as part of a wider plan aimed at reversing its recent labors in the Asian country. According to Hubertus Troska, new chief of Mercedes parent Daimler, they would invest around EUR2 billion ($2.67 billion) over the next two years to heighten sales of Mercedes vehicles in China by a third to over 300,000 cars annually by 2015.
The plan is considered a vital part of Mercedes' broader "2020 initiative'' and entails expanding its manufacturing capacity and sales network in China. Troska remarked that there is “a lot of room for development,” adding that they are confident that the Chinese market will grow significantly in the next years. He said that Mercedes is seeing growth this year, which will continue in the next years.
Should Mercedes achieve the 300,000 sales target, China would become its largest market globally. Mercedes sold around 200,000 cars in China in 2012, behind Germany and the United States. Troska's turnaround initiative will commence with the China debut of a redesigned E-class sedan on Friday at an auto show in Chengdu.
Mercedes will then follow it with a China launch of the overhauled flagship S-class sedan in the third quarter of 2013, and a more affordable GLA compact sports utility vehicle in 2014. Mercedes has been struggling in China since the start of 2012, when demand for luxury vehicles started to weaken following a slowdown in the country’s economy. Mercedes slumped behind its rivals due to lack of new or redesigned models as well as to so-called volume grab that hit its profitability. [source: Reuters]