By 2015, China will become Mercedes-Benz's biggest market, according to CEO Dieter Zetsche. He added that Daimler AG will increase sales by over 10% next year in China. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Zetsche said that deliveries are expected to increase by a “double-digit” percentage in 2011.
For 2010, Mercedes expects to sell 120,000 vehicles in the country this year, compared to its previous forecast of 100,000. China, which is the world's largest auto market, is expected to expand further due to increasing incomes and a rising economy.
It doesn’t come as a surprise then that Daimler, General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are expanding in this country. Daimler, which is currently ranked as second, aims to close the gap with luxury leader BMW AG and ward off Volkswagen AG's Audi division.
During the Mercedes-Benz star-lighting ceremony for the Daimler Tower in Beijing, Zetsche said that the prospects for premium cars in China are “excellent” and that no changes are anticipated.
Within five years, Daimler (which has ventures with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. and Fujian Motors Group) aims to double passenger-car capacity in China.
Currently, Daimler has the capacity to build 100,000 units each year. It also seeks to introduce an electric car with Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co. as early as 2012. Mercedes-Benz was able to achieve its initial 2010 target in the first nine months of 2010, after selling 101,350 units. [via autonews - sub. required]