October 22, 2010 / 12:13 PM / in 7 years

Daimler aims to nearly triple China sales by 2015

BEIJING, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) aims to sell 300,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in China annually in 2015, its chief executive said on Friday, nearly tripling its sales this year.

Daimler is also investing 3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in China over the next five years to expand its capacity and dealer network, including a new engine plant for Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche told reporters in Beijing.

By 2015, 70 percent of Mercedes-Benz models sold in China will be locally made, up from merely 30 percent currently, he said.

Daimler makes Mercedes-Benz E-Class and C-Class cars in a tie-up with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co (BAIC).

It sold 101,350 Mercedes-Benz models in China in the first nine months, up 129 percent from a year earlier, exceeding its annual sales target of 100,000 units. It now aims to sell 120,000 cars for the full year.

Zetsche said more Mercedes-Benz models would be made in China in the future, but did not elaborate.

Daimler also operates a 50-50 truck venture with Beiqi Foton Motor Co (600166.SS), a BAIC subsidiary. ($1=.7186 Euro) (Reporting by Fang Yan and Ken Wills; Editing by Will Waterman)

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