Mercedes has come out and said that it aims to overtake main rival BMW in annual China sales within two years, but needs more time to beat Audi.
“I do believe that Mercedes Benz continues to have the top reputation in China. We have started local production and we are developing our dealer network very fast. On that basis, I’m confident that in the near future, we will pass BMW in sales (in China).”
It’s a “realistic expectation” for Mercedes Benz to overtake BMW in China sales in two years, said Zetsche, but, given Audi’s long-established production in China and its special status as a government car, it would not happen very soon.
In the first ten months of this year, Mercedes sales rose 36 percent year-on-year to 18,000 cars. It has started to produce its E-Class sedans at the beginning of this year at DaimlerChrysler’s joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. Audi, China’s biggest premium automaker, sold 66,000 cars on the mainland in the first 10 months of this year, up 60 per cent year-on-year. It launched local production in China more than two decades ago. BMW’s ten month sales surged 53 per cent year-on-year to 29,300 units. It started to assemble its 3 and 5 Series sedans in China in 2003.
Mercedes Benz now has 71 authorized dealers in China, compared with Audi’s more than 120 and BMW’s 60.