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New Products Drive Sharp Surge in Daimler Earnings

CLA, other line-up additions draw in new buyers for Mercedes brand.

by on Apr.30, 2014

Mad Men star Jon Hamm helped unveil the new S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe at the NY Auto Show.

With new models like the Mercedes-Benz CLA drawing in a new generation of buyers, the brand’s German parent Daimler AG reported its net profit nearly doubled during the first quarter.

The German maker had struggled to overcome a series of problems in recent years, notably including a slide in demand in China, but Mercedes’ rebound in that booming market further lifted the maker’s earnings to 1.086 billion Euros for the January to March quarter, or $1.498 billion, up from 564 million Euros a year earlier.

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“Our strategy is paying off,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, “our investments are bearing fruit.”

In a statement accompanying its earnings, the maker predicted both revenues and earnings would “significantly increase” for all of 2014 as it gained ground in China while also boosting sales in more established markets like the U.S. and Europe.

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After Missteps, Daimler Hopes to Rebound in China

The faster it runs, the behinder it gets.

by on Apr.25, 2014

Officials from Daimler and BYD reveal the new Denza battery-car they jointly developed.

No issue has bedeviled Daimler AG more than China, where the company’s underwhelming performance lags archrivals BMW and Audi, which have used their successes with Chinese consumers to vault ahead of Mercedes-Benz in global sales.

Mercedes is hoping that this year’s Beijing Auto Show will serve as a tipping point, however, as it sets out to recapture some of the lost ground. Indeed, the China Daily suggested that Mercedes-Benz outspent its rivals at the crowded show this year in an effort to capture the attention of both the press and Chinese consumers.

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Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler’s board of management, made the long journey to China after skipping the New York Auto Show, and Daimler hosted separate press conferences for its Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter brands, as well as a joint preview of a new electric vehicle it will build with Denza, one of its Chinese partners.

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Mercedes-Benz Takes Aim at BMW with New Concept Coupe

Beijing show car should reach production as the new Mercedes MLC.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Mercedes-Benz all-new Concept Coupe SUV is a “four-door coupe” that comes across, visually, as the love child of a Mercedes CLS and the ML sport-utility vehicle

It’s been a busy week for Mercedes-Benz. Fresh on the heels of introducing an all-new S63 AMG Coupe at the New York International Auto Show, the maker has yet another high-level model making its debut in Beijing this week.

And while it’s officially called the New Concept Coupe, you can be quite certain that this prototype will be returning in production form in the near future as a pretty much direct competitor to the likes of the BMW X6. It’s expected to be dubbed the Mercedes-Benz MLC.

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It’s part of a full-on product assault from the tri-star brand which plans to roll out an astounding 30 new vehicles between now and the end of the decade, an average of one per quarter through 2020, according to Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. (more…)

Daimler Redoubling Efforts to Make up Lost Ground in China

German maker spending $2.7 billion to catch rivals.

by on Aug.29, 2013

Daimler's China chief, Hubertus Troska, recently laid out the company's plans to grow sales in China.

Daimler AG, in a bold effort to catch its German rivals Audi and BMW, plans to sink $2.7 billion in China, starting with a new plant.

The plant is scheduled for completion as early as 2014 and will help Daimler double China production to more than 200,000 units a year, according to Hubertus Troska, who was appointed last fall to reorganize the company’s China operations. Since then, he merged the company’s two distribution arms in China and set up a support unit to coordinate marketing, sales and training initiatives in the country.

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China is set to become Daimler’s largest market as soon as 2015, Troska said. (more…)

China Soon to Be World’s Top Luxury Car Market

Sales of premium models expected to double by 2020.

by on Jun.04, 2013

The new Cadillac XTS gets a splashy launch during China's annual auto show.

It would be tempting to say that James Wang is living the American dream – if it weren’t for the fact that he’s living in Beijing.

The mild-mannered 27-year-old is a self-made mega-millionaire, earning his money building golf courses for the country’s fast-growing leisure class. And like so many of his American counterparts, the young entrepreneur is addicted to automobiles, with a fleet of vehicles ranging from a Subaru WRX STi to a Porsche 911 and even a Maybach M62 in his garage.

While Wang may have a slightly larger personal fleet than most Chinese motorists he’s far from unusual in his taste for premium automobiles.  Luxury cars today fill the streets of many booming Chinese cities, notes Fu Qiang, president and CEO of Volvo Cars China, noting that “All the forecasts call for China to become the world’s largest premium market by 2016.”

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The country is already the largest national automotive market in the world, pushing past the U.S. several years ago. And Chinese industry groups have estimated overall annual demand could surge to 38 million in little more than a decade, exceeding sales in the U.S. and the European Union combined.

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Mercedes Increasingly Desperate to Reverse Losses in China

Share slips as Audi, BMW come on strong.

by on Apr.10, 2013

The Mercedes CLA Concept debuting in Beijing last year. The production version could be critical for the maker's revival in the Chinese market.

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.

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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.”

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China Set to Become Globe’s Top Luxury Car Market

But there could be unexpected obstacles.

by on Mar.06, 2013

Mercedes opened the world's first standalone AMG Performance Center in Beijing.

Demand for luxury vehicles in China will make it the world’s second-largest market for expensive vehicles by 2016, and number one by decade’s end when it will likely surpass the U.S., according to a new study by the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co.

But industry analysts and planners caution that several obstacles could delay or completely short-circuit the boom in automotive demand in China, both on the mainstream and luxury level.

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Sales of premium vehicles will probably equal that of all of Western Europe by 2020, as incomes continue to rise in what is now the world’s second-largest economy, according to McKinsey & Co. China is already the largest automotive market in the world overall.

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Daimler Ups Ante on China

Maker takes major stake in Chinese partner.

by on Feb.04, 2013

The Mercedes-Benz CSC concept at last year's Beijing Motor Show.

After suffering a series of setbacks in the world’s largest automotive market last year, Daimler AG isn’t planning to let that happen again. It has already shaken up its management team and now the parent of Mercedes-Benz is taking a major stake in its Chinese partner.

Daimler will invest $875 million for a 12% share of BAIC Motor, a subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Industries Corp. BAIC produces Mercedes vehicles for the Chinese market. The investment appears to be a first step towards a planned initial public offering by BAIC Motor, according to Chinese auto industry observers.

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“Our investment is a strong sign of the increased level of trust and cooperation between our two companies and clearly emphasizes the long-term commitment to a joint successful future,” said Dieter Zetsche, who serves as both CEO of Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz brand.

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Desperate for Turnaround, Daimler Names New China Chief

Mercedes slipping behind rivals in booming Asian market.

by on Dec.14, 2012

Daimler's new China chief, Hubertus Troska.

Daimler AG, in a move underscoring the growing importance of China to the company’ future, has named a new chief executive in charge of its operations in China and appointed him to the company’s Board of Management.

Hubertus Troska, 52, will become chief executive officer and Chairman of Daimler Northeast Asia responsible for all of Daimler’s strategic and operating activities in China.

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The timing is particularly significant considering the company has slipped in sales behind arch rivals Audi and BMW. Mercedes has had to resort to sometimes massive incentives to prop up its products this year.

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Lincoln Heading to China

Ford takes first step towards going global.

by on Aug.28, 2012

CEO Alan Mulally is targeting big growth in China for both the Ford and Lincoln brands.

Hoping to give its long-troubled luxury brand some new momentum – and much-needed economy of scale – Ford Motor Co. will launch Lincoln into the Chinese market in 2014.

The announcement – which confirms a report on TheDetroitBureau.com earlier this month – will come as a critical step for Lincoln, once one of the most powerful luxury nameplates.  Even though the century-old Lincoln has never been sold in China, Ford research suggests it has significant potential in what is rapidly coming to rival the U.S. as the world’s largest high-line automotive market.

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“Lincoln’s introduction to China represents a significant step forward in Ford’s aggressive growth strategy for the country,” Dave Schoch, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, said during an event at a converted temple in Beijing.

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