This organizational measure reinforces the growing economic significance of the Chinese market to DaimlerChrysler. It also supports DaimlerChrysler's strategy of tapping even more strongly into the growth potential of this region's future passenger car and commercial vehicle business.
"Consolidating our business activities in China will ensure a uniform Group image in the region and profitable growth," says Prof. Jürgen E. Schrempp. In addition, this new organizational structure will promote a future-oriented alignment of all the cooperative activities and projects that the Group's divisions are conducting with local partners. Prof. Schrempp also emphasizes that "appointing a member of the Board of Management to be responsible for our business in China is an indication of the growing significance and growth potential of the Chinese market."
Roman Fischer, CEO and President of DaimlerChrysler China Ltd., will remain in his present position in the new organizational structure, reporting directly to Dr. Grube. DaimlerChrysler has been selling passenger cars in China for more than 60 years. In the first half of 2004, the Group posted a sales volume of more than 22,000 passenger cars, marking a considerable expansion of its business activities. In close partnership with the Group brands, DaimlerChrysler Services is preparing to enter the financial services business in China through its liaison office in Beijing.
Mercedes-Benz sold 5,500 passenger cars in China between January and June 2004 - a figure that reflects strong growth for all models. The S-Class set a new record with sales of 3,500 vehicles, an increase of 40 percent. In the medium term, Mercedes-Benz aims to sell up to 50,000 passenger cars in China, which would further enhance the brand's already outstanding position in the luxury segment.
The joint venture Beijing Jeep Corporation (BJC), which received the first product license for a foreign auto manufacturer in 1983, expects to double its sales in 2004 to 40,000 vehicles. Despite fierce competition, DaimlerChrysler has been able to maintain its leading position in the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment in particular. The model update of the Jeep 2500, as well as the strong demand for the new 4700 and 4000 models (variants of the Grand Cherokee) have laid a firm foundation for a market success in 2004. Together with its partners in China, DaimlerChrysler expects to increase sales by about 75 percent this year to more than 59,000 vehicles.
Last May, the Chinese government granted DaimlerChrysler and its joint venture partner Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company Ltd. (BAIC) preliminary authorization to produce Mercedes-Benz passenger cars at a new plant in Beijing. The plant will have the capacity to produce 25,000 Mercedes C-Class and E-Class sedans.
An agreement was reached back in September 2003 to establish a 50:50 joint venture with Beiqi Foton for the production of heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks as well as engines and other components for the Chinese market. Additionally, the National Development and Reform Commission authorized the production of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito/Viano vans in a new plant located in Fuzhou City in Fujian province. This joint venture with the Fujian Motor Industry Group and the Taiwan-based China Motor Corporation, will have the capacity to produce up to 40,000 vans annually, starting in 2006. The company is investing Euro 200 million in this project.
DaimlerChrysler Services is also planning a considerable expansion of its business activities in China. The subsidiary will support sales of all DaimlerChrysler vehicle brands in China through its own financing company. It is applying for the necessary authorization from the Chinese banking supervisory authority.
The company is investing Euro 1 billion in the medium term to realize Mercedes-Benz passenger car production, relocate BJC, and realize the production of heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks at Beiqi Foton.
(Sep 30, 2004)