FRANKFURT, July 6 German carmaker Daimler
expects its Mercedes-Benz brand to overtake rivals
Audi and BMW by number of cars sold in China this year as its
new strategy for the world's biggest car market starts to bear
fruit, a board member told a newspaper.
"With the new S-Class model, we will overtake our
competitors again. And 2015 will be even better," Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Hubertus Troska, management board
member in charge of Daimler's business in China, as saying in an
excerpt from its Monday edition.
Mercedes-Benz's previously strong momentum in China - where
demand for luxury cars is forecast to surpass that of the United
States by 2020 - stalled in 2012, with sales volume falling far
behind BMW and Audi.
It presented a strategy in August that included plans to
launch around 20 new or upgraded car models in China over two
years as it seeks to boost sales of Mercedes-Benz cars in China
by a third to more than 300,000 cars a year by 2015.
Troska told Frankfurter Allgemeine he was taking a "very,
very positive" stance on the company's prospects in China.
"We are learning to understand China better and using that
in our product development. We were a bit behind in that area,"
The company will open a new design studio in Beijing this
summer, while shutting another in Tokyo, and will double the
number of engineers it employs in China over the next two years,
from 230 currently, he said.
He also said Daimler now saw the launch of the DENZA
electric car, a local Chinese brand jointly developed with
Chinese partner BYD, at the end of 2014, compared
with previous plans for September.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter)