Mercedes-Benz continues to lose ground in China’s booming premium car market to arch-rivals BMW and Audi — but Daimler AG’s top executive, Dieter Zetsche, told the company’s shareholders meeting the automaker is confident it can make up the ground it has lost in recent months.
Mercedes’ slide has been both acute and unexpected and the maker has struggled even after slashing prices on key models such as the flagship S-Class sedan. That’s particularly worrisome since many analysts expect China will soon become the world’s largest market for luxury vehicles, surging past the U.S.
Zetsche admitted to shareholders that Daimler management is keenly aware it has failed to keep pace with the growth in China. “Our sales had increased rapidly for five years in a row. During that period we posted the strongest average growth of all the premium brands there. Last year, our business expanded only slightly and we lost market share. We have to change this situation and we will.”