Mercedes-Benz is preparing a major product offensive to counteract lagging sales in the Chinese market, aiming 20 new or updated models at the People's Republic in the next two years, according to a report by Reuters. The plan is part of MB's so-called 2020 Initiative, which will see the Stuttgart-based manufacturer dump 2 billion Euros ($2.67 billion) into its Chinese market vehicles in a bid to boost sales to 300,000 units by 2015.

Were it to succeed, China would become the largest market for the Silver Arrow, outpacing Germany and the United States. Leading the charge will be the redesigned E-Class, which is set to launch in China this week. That will quickly be followed by the S-Class, and eventually by the GLA-Class in 2014.

Mercedes has struggled in China, especially relative to its German competition, BMW and Audi. Where Mercedes saw a mere four-percent increase in 2012 sales to 206,150 units, Audi was up a staggering 32 percent, while BMW's numbers jumped 41 percent. While some voices, according to Reuters, accuse Munich and Ingolstadt of boosting their numbers through hefty incentives, the fact remains that Mercedes was just walloped by its competitors last year.

Besides new and refreshed vehicles, Mercedes is also aiming to produce 70 percent of the cars it sells in China inside the People's Republic. Naturally, in-country production will save Mercedes a boatload, which in turn lowers prices and boosts sales without incentivizing vehicles. Leading the charge will be the new GLA, which is slated for production at a joint-venture facility outside of Beijing. We wouldn't count on the S-Class to start Chinese production, but there are plenty of high-volume models that Mercedes could build in China, not least of which is the GLA's platform mates, the CLA- and A-Class.

The idea of Chinese-built Mercedes may be nothing short of controversial, but the brand's new boss in China, Hubertus Troska, isn't concerned, telling Reuters, "The quality of vehicles and engines you get out of our Chinese production is to the same identical levels of quality ... as our cars being produced in Germany."


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  • 10 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
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      • 1 Year Ago
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      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      Glad to see Communism is working. Will MB be able to supply a car to everyone of it's 1 billion people as the communist's believe all are equal?
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tough road ahead, Mercedes simply doesn't have the cache over there as it does here. They aren't just walking in with people lined up to either buy or aspire to buy their cars - they have to build that, and the current team running things doesn't know how to, sadly. They just know how to charge you for it. A Mercedes over there is nothing more than a German Hyundai for 3X the price in their eyes, explaining why sales are so poor. That 2 billion needs to be spent on marketing, not more cars IMO.
        Merc1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        Automotive ignorant people the Chinese are. They prize Buicks. M
          Merc1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Merc1
          Interesting theory. All I know is that the 200K units or so that MB is behind BMW and Audi is right there in China and they need to fix it. Mercedes is losing the global sales race based on just one country, China. M
          SealBeach
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Merc1
          I wouldn't say they're ignorant, they just don't care about the stigma Buick has over in America. Just like we don't care that in China, Mercedes is seen as an old person's car. It's weird, because usually Chinese people like what's prestigious in Western countries.
      • 1 Year Ago
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        Kenny53
        • 1 Year Ago
        I have to say in China if you walk into a MB dealer without fancy suit and looking cheap, this is the face of Sales you will get.