Daimler's China sales up 15 percent since March overhaul

FRANKFURT Tue Dec 3, 2013 6:03am EST

FRANKFURT Dec 3 (Reuters) - Daimler's sales in China have risen 15 percent since an overhaul of its local sales and dealership operations in March, the German carmaker said on Tuesday.

Sales in China rose 8 percent to 173,254 vehicles in the first 10 months of 2013.

As part of its overhaul in China the company is expanding its sales network and plans to open 75 new dealerships by the end of 2013, 36 of which will be in cities where the brand has not been represented to date.

In March, Daimler refocused its Chinese operations and merged its sales activities for imported and locally made Mercedes-Benz cars into a joint venture company.

Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co. is a 51-49 joint venture with Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) and earlier this month Daimler agreed to pay 625 million euros ($847 million) to take a 12 percent equity stake in BAIC.

Daimler hopes closer co-operation with its state-owned local partner will help mend relations with its sales network that were fractured, according to dealership sources, during an overzealous drive to boost sales that hurt retailers' profitability.

Separately, Daimler said on Tuesday it had launched an online sales channel in Germany for its A and B Class and CLA vehicles. ($1=0.7377 euros) (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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