Daimler appoints new sales chief in China

FRANKFURT, Sept 30 Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:44am EDT

FRANKFURT, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Daimler is calling in a new sales chief for its important Chinese market as it seeks to boost revenue and catch up with faster-selling rivals BMW and Audi .

Long-standing China sales head Klaus Maier will be replaced in December by Nicholas Speeks, currently chief salesman in Japan, Daimler said on Sunday, confirming a report in German trade newspaper Automobilwoche.

Maier will take on new responsibilities within the company, Daimler said, adding that a successor for Speeks in Japan had yet to be named.

Daimler said on Sept. 20 that profit at its Mercedes division would slip this year, citing heightened competition in China and the crisis in austerity-hit Europe.

BMW, Audi and Mercedes account for about three quarters of luxury car sales in China, but the effects of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy are already making themselves felt. (Reporting by Hendrik Sackmann and Till Weber, Writing by Jonathan Gould; Editing by David Goodman)