Mercedes-Benz will increase its bet on China, says CEO
People enter the venue of the 2023 International Motor Show, officially known as the IAA MOBILITY 2023, in Munich, Germany, Sept. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Fan)
Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kaellenius made it clear that Mercedes-Benz is pro-engagement, pro-open markets, and pro-free and fair competition, level playing field competition around the world. "If we go into more protectionism and don't open up markets or even try to decouple markets from each other, then we will bake a smaller cake."
MUNICH, Germany, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Mercedes-Benz sees a growth opportunity in China and would like to capture it as more potential buyers are coming to the luxury premium car segment, Ola Kaellenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, has said.
The German premium carmaker believes that the auto market in China, already the largest in the world, will continue to expand in the long term, Kaellenius told Chinese reporters here in an interview during the ongoing IAA MOBILITY 2023, the country's largest automobile show.
The company is not going to wallow in the success it has achieved in the Chinese market, according to Kaellenius.
A concept car of Mercedes-Benz is displayed at the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai, east China, April 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Xin Mengchen)
Reflecting on his visit to the Shanghai Auto Show, Kaellenius said he was impressed by the "China speed." "People are not waiting for things to happen. It's like 'get the future here now.'" Motivated by that attitude, Kaellenius said he decided that Mercedes-Benz needs to "have that mentality everywhere."
Guided by the "home away from home" strategy, the company aims to increase its bet, up the ante and adopt "China speed."
At the IAA, Mercedes-Benz presented its new Concept CLA Class as one of the highlights. The vehicle boasts a range of 750 km and an efficiency of 12 kWh/100 km, which, according to Kaellenius, is "a phenomenal value for a vehicle in that class."
On top of the range and efficiency, the model can acquire a range of 400 km with a 15-minute charge. "So technologically, this is a giant leap forward," said Kaellenius.
The latest technological developments, which were demonstrated through the display models, Kaellenius said, can all be applied to the market in China, which is becoming more intertwined with the international market for Mercedes-Benz.
Staff members work at a factory of Beijing Benz Automotive. Co., Ltd. in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)
On the other hand, innovations made by its R&D staff and partners in China will also be used on its products on international markets, as innovation dynamism within the Chinese automotive cluster has become "one of the driving forces in the automotive sector," according to Kaellenius.
Kaellenius said Mercedes-Benz is seeking cooperation with Chinese partners in the areas of emerging technologies, high-level intelligent driver assistance, and in-vehicle infotainment.
He made it clear that Mercedes-Benz is pro-engagement, pro-open markets, and pro-free and fair competition, level playing field competition around the world. "If we go into more protectionism and don't open up markets or even try to decouple markets from each other, then we will bake a smaller cake."
Although Mercedes-Benz has witnessed robust growth of electric vehicle sales over the past months, Kaellenius stressed that the company has to maintain a level of "tactical flexibility" and continue to keep its current products "fresh" as there is still a way to go before people get to the destination of "a zero emission future."