Mercedes-Benz is targeting sales in China to go up by 50% to 300,000 units by 2015, according to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. He also said that about two-thirds of Mercedes vehicles sold in China in 2015 will be domestically produced. Zetsche made these announcements earlier this month at Daimler's annual press conference in Stuttgart.
Among the automaker’s plans for this country are the opening of an engine plant in Beijing and the expansion of production of the C-class sedan, long-wheelbase E-class sedan, and its GLK SUV. In addition, the compact B class will begin production in China. Mercedes-Benz will open 50 dealerships every year – most of them will be in China's interior cities.
Zetsche revealed that the turnaround plan after Mercedes-Benz brand sales in China last year increased by just 2% to 196,211 units. In comparison, BMW brand sales rose by 37% to 274,985 units. Meanwhile, sales of premium segment leader Audi improved by 30% to 405,800 units.
Last December, Daimler approved the merger of its Chinese sales operations for imported and locally produced Mercedes cars. It also appointed Hubertus Troska to the management board tasked to oversee China, a new position.
In early February, the automaker announced that it will buy a 12% stake in BAIC Motors Inc., its Chinese joint venture partner, and would get 2 seats in the board of directors. Zetsche added that the positive impact from these changes will be felt over the course of the year.
First shown to the world in April 2012, the new GLK from Mercedes-Benz is slated to reveal its full on-road and off-road credentials. That the model continues to lead the compact SUV segment is due to a number of different reasons. These include having advanced assistance systems and sporting a new design. The engines fitted have the efficiency to match the agility.
It also offers a wider range of appointments and equipment. When it comes to engines, the wide range being offered for all GLK models shows attractive performance mixed in with drive comfort. Of course, excellent fuel consumption and low emissions are a given. Overall, there will be six that are diesel powered and one that is gas-powered.
One model engine is the BlueTEC GLK 250 4MATIC powered with the diesel 4-cylinder engine capable of 204 hp (150 kW). Peak torque meanwhile is 500 Nm coming from a 2143-cc displacement. Looking at the cabin, the design came courtesy of the Centre of Competence for Interiors. One big change is the dashboard that has been redesigned.
Customers will have the option to have the wide aluminum trim or wood that will go on the whole width of this vehicle’s dashboard. Just as attractive are the new round vents with extra trim elements with a silver shadow. For the instrument cluster, the brand will be offering as an option the high-end color display. Other features on the inside include the new colors for the upholstery and design for the seats.
Then there is the sports three-spoke steering wheel. New for a GLK model is the indirect ambient lighting which utilizes fiber-optic LED technology. This new addition improves the model’s already feel good ambience.
Going to the exterior, the new design helps give it that extra dynamism. Looking at the body, it is clear that it remains to have the design language of many of the brand’s present models but have the classic elements standard in all-terrain vehicles. Other features are the use of expansive surfaces and stringent lines. All of these various features are able to complement well with many of the trademark body features of the GLK, features considered as part of the functional and classic all-terrain vehicles.
While the new GLK was indeed designed to have the advantages when it comes to off-road terrain, there are also benefits when it comes to daily use. With the driver having a higher position for the seat, there is a better view of the traffic. The way the body lines have been designed also allow for exceptional visibility.