Mercedes-Benz has launched a new sales-support unit for China -- Sales Management China -- as part of its efforts to catch up with current best-seller and rival Audi. Mercedes is also making sure that it is present in locations where demand is at hand, as it eyes to open 75 new dealerships in China this year, with 36 of them placed in cities where the brand has yet to compete.
Sales Management China commenced operations this month and is based at the Stuttgart headquarters of Mercedes parent Daimler in Germany. Its tasks include coordinating marketing, sales and training initiatives in China to support the local sales organization, Mercedes said in a statement. Sales Management China is led by Benjamin Auer, a former sales manager for Audi in China.
Hubertus Troska, head of Daimler's China operations, said in the statement that they have taken a number of measures for their Chinese business in the past six months, and they are “keeping [their] foot on the gas." Daimler noted that 75 new dealerships in China in 2013 outpace the average growth of 50 stores a year. Mercedes only had 260 stores in China at the end of 2012, compared to more than 300 at BMW and Audi.
Mercedes also plans to open seven new training centers in China, after opening a planned site in Shanghai. A plan by Daimler’s chief executive Dieter Zetsche to regain the carmaker’s crown that as best in the luxury-car industry has been limited by an incoherent strategy in China. Mercedes’ efforts to expands it dealership network in China is aimed at supporting the launch of around 20 new or upgraded models in the country by 2015.