Mercedes-Benz has to turn around its Chinese operations to get a chance to catch up with BMW and Audi, according to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. He added that the company is already working to “fix China.” Without revealing too many details, Zetsche said that Daimler has entered talks with regards to the role that it will take in a potential initial public offering by Chinese partner Beijing Automotive Group Co.
Zetsche denied a media report last week. He said that there have been no talks yet with China's sovereign-wealth fund to purchase a stake in the automaker. Zetsche has pledged that before the decade ends, it will already be able to get back the No. 1 spot that it lost to BMW in 2005. Audi, which is presently ranked second in global luxury sales since 2011, is aiming for the same goal.
In 2012, Mercedes’ sales fell further behind BMW and Audi as it had a slower growth in China compared to its two primary rivals. Hubertus Troska has been appointed to Daimler’s board. He is tasked to be responsible for China. Daimler is also merging separate sales organizations in the country for imported and locally produced cars into just one entity.
At the Detroit Auto Show last Monday, Zetsche said that the company has to give a chance to “new people.” He also said that due to these new products, Daimler will be able to gain momentum. At the Detroit show, Daimler displayed a refreshed E-class sedan and will introduce an overhauled version of the flagship S-class sedan later in 2013.