Last year best yet for Daimler Northeast Asia
Updated: 2011-04-12 08:01
By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Daimler Northeast Asia sold more than 43,990 passenger cars in the Chinese mainland in the first three months of this year. Nelson Ching / Bloomberg
BEIJING - With so many irons in the fire of China's red-hot economy, the German automaker Daimler AG takes its strong performance last year as a sign of great things to come.
"We finished the year 2010 with the most successful performance so far for Daimler Northeast Asia as a whole, for Daimler in China and for Mercedes-Benz in China as well," said Ulrich Walker, chairman and chief executive officer of Daimler Northeast Asia. "And we are confident we will have profitable and sustainable growth in the coming years in China, which will be our biggest market by 2015."
According to Walker, Daimler Northeast Asia sold 52,380 vehicles in the first quarter, a 75 percent year-on-year increase fueled by strong growth in each region, particularly China.
Its passenger car division delivered more than 43,990 units in the Chinese mainland in the first three months of this year, an 86 percent surge over last year.
China's overall passenger vehicle market grew by 8.6 percent in the first quarter, the first single-digit quarterly rate in the past two years, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
Walker said the sales momentum, which more than doubled Daimler Northeast Asia's entire sales revenue last year - from 4.35 billion euros ($6.29 billion) in 2009 to 9 billion euros - was backed by the company being the only one in China to provide integrated services and products in all automotive segments.
"We believe the new businesses we have developed in recent years will help us achieve our goal of making China our top market, with sales of 300,000 vehicles by 2015, through our heavy investment of 3 billion euros over the next five years," Walker said.
"We expect our work force on the Chinese mainland to grow by more than 15 percent this year, based on our headcount of 8,800 at the end of 2010," he said.
According to Walker, Daimler recently obtained a business license for its joint venture with the Chinese battery and electric-vehicle provider BYD Co Ltd. The 600-million-yuan ($91.8 million) 50-50 joint venture aims to develop a new brand of electric vehicles specifically for the Chinese market, with the first model to be launched in 2013.
The company's auto-finance arm, which started operations in 2005 and contributed 8.5 billion yuan to the company's performance in 2010, will further power the company's business in the future, he said, "as Chinese individual incomes increase and people become more eager to make full use of their money".
"Although our penetration rate was only 12 percent for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in 2010, we plan to increase the number of retail cities we cover, working with our ever-expanding dealership network to provide our customers with the services they require," said Wolf Bay, who is in charge of Daimler Financial Services.
Daimler Financial Services' portfolio already surpassed the 1 billion euro mark at the beginning of 2011, after doubling its accounts in 2010 from the previous year, Bay said.
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