Daimler sees double-digit percent growth in China sales in 2014

BEIJING, April 20 Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:40am EDT

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BEIJING, April 20 (Reuters) - Germany's premium carmaker Daimler expects to grow its sales in China, the world's largest auto market, by double-digit percentages this year, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on Sunday.

"We aim to grow faster than last year," Zetsche said during a roundtable session at the Auto China show in Beijing. "We expect the market to have a two-digit growth, and probably the premium market to grow at an even higher rate."

The maker of the luxury Mercedes-Benz series sold 211,000 cars last year, up 11 percent from 2012, he said.

Growth is expected to ramp up further in 2015 after production of the new C-Class sedan starts in China in the third quarter of this year, said Hubertus Troska, a Daimler board member responsible for greater China.

For its Mercedes-Benz cars, growth will come mainly from expanding in smaller Chinese cities.

"We are going to add 100 outlets and launch in 40 new cities," Troska said.

The outlook for global growth in the passenger car market is likely to be between four and five percent, Zetsche said.

"Within this range it might tend more toward four than to the five percent," he said. (Reporting by Edward Taylor in BEIJING; Editing by Lee Chyen Yee)

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