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Mercedes-Benz paves way for 2nd half of 2014

2014-07-15 10:39 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing
The all-new C-Class long wheelbase attracted great attention at the Beijing auto show in April. Photos provided to China Daily

The all-new C-Class long wheelbase attracted great attention at the Beijing auto show in April. Photos provided to China Daily

Ahead of its Chinese market launch in third quarter, the new generation C-Class by Mercedes-Benz has begun rolling off the production line at Beijing Benz Automotive Co Ltd.

"The C-Class is at the core of our development in China," said Hubertus Troska, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for China, and chairman and CEO of Daimler Greater China.

"With more than 150,000 vehicles of the predecessor model delivered to customers, China has already become the second-largest market for the C-Class. "With the all-new long-wheelbase C-Class we are now taking the next step - designed and developed for China, produced exclusively in China".

Mercedes-Benz has also announced the start of pre-sales and orders for the highly anticipated model. The C 200 and C 260 will be the first variants offered in China.

"The all-new C-Class is a key model in our strong product offensive that will see 11 new or upgraded Mercedes-Benz models in total introduced to China by the end of 2014," said Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co Ltd.

Those models include the new E-Class recently launched with more advanced engines and specifications, a completely new S-Class family lineup from top to bottom, and the all-new CLA, the newest member of the carmaker's premium compact car family in China.

Core competitiveness

"With sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars increasing 36 percent in the first half of the year, we are step-by-step moving in the right direction," said Troska.

China is now the largest market in the world for four of Mercedes-Benz's pillar products: the S-Class, the E-Class, the GLK and the R-Class. Overall, it is the second-biggest market for the German automaker worldwide.

Sales of locally produced products have grown significantly, including a nearly 70 percent year-on-year surge for the E-Class and a 53 percent increase for the GLK-Class.

In line with the company's China strategy, locally produced models now account for over half its passenger car sales in China.

"Top-notch products are undoubtedly our core competitive edge," said Speeks.

"In order to delight and exceed our customer's expectations, we will continue to push forward."

Solid foundation

Mercedes-Benz' emphasis on providing the "best customer experience" is illustrated by the automaker's new Star Maintenance Menu that started on July 1. To be more transparent, flexible and convenient for customers, it standardizes after-sales service costs on pillar models.

Also, the continued product and service offensive is supported by the fastest retail network expansion in company history. Some 100 new outlets will be opened, 65 percent of them in fast-growing lower tier cities. By the end of the year, it will have dealers in 40 new cities across the country.

Efforts for improved services will be bolstered by the company's fifth dealer training center in China. The Shanghai facility will be the largest Mercedes-Benz site for service training worldwide with the capacity for 140,000 participant-training-days annually.

Innovative touchpad and heads-up display on the latest S-Class.

Certified trainers, a growing array of programs, a curriculum fitted to local market needs and state-of-the-art equipment will support dealer network development by ensuring high standards in dealership operations and service quality.

"These approaches will help us lay down a solid foundation essential for long-term development," said Speeks. "While 2014 will be a successful year for Mercedes-Benz, we fully expect even stronger sales momentum in 2015 - our target is more than 300,000 units."

In-depth localization

Localization has been key for Mercedes-Benz growth ever since, with the establishment of its integrated sales company BMBS last year being just one proof.

The all-new C-Class will be for the first time offered with a long wheelbase version providing passengers with maximized backseat legroom.

With a touchpad that recognizes Chinese hand writing, Collision Prevention Assist Plus and LED headlamps as standard, the model's advanced technology and assistance systems should enhance the core competitiveness of the new model.

In early 2015, the premium compact SUV GLA will follow the E-Class, C-Class and GLK-Class as the fourth Beijing-born Mercedes-Benz, helping the brand achieve its goal of two out of every three Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in China to be locally made by 2015.

The success of locally produced Mercedes models is due to the brand's commitment to maintaining worldwide quality standards in locally made products.

That includes engines, which the company has manufactured in Beijing since last year. It's a clear and strong proof that Mercedes-Benz is bringing its finest technology and craftsmanship to China.

The automaker even recently began exporting Beijing-made engine blocks, crankshafts and cylinders to its German sites. Localization initiatives will be further supported by an all-new R&D center set to open this summer.

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