Mercedes-Benz poised to "grow in China, with China," CEO says
This photo taken on Nov. 6, 2022 shows a new energy vehicle of German automaker Mercedes-Benz at the automobile exhibition area of the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Jin Haoyuan)
"So if you want to be a global modern luxury player like Mercedes-Benz, it is natural that China is your biggest market," a senior executive of Mercedes-Benz said.
STUTTGART, Germany, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A glitzy lineup of 16 new Mercedes-Benz models due to come on sale in China later this year echoes the rosy vision of Ola Kaellenius, the German carmaker's chairman of the Board of Management.
Reviewing the company's history in China, Kaellenius told Xinhua the country has been a success story for the company over the last 10 to 15 years. "We have grown with the market," he said, vowing the company would continue to "grow in China, with China."
In 2022, China remained the largest automobile market in the world, selling almost as many vehicles as the European and U.S. markets combined, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.
"So if you want to be a global modern luxury player like Mercedes-Benz, it is natural that China is your biggest market," the senior executive said.
There are great opportunities for the automotive company to benefit from the booming China market, he went on, which will continue to grow in tandem with the economy in the next decade.
Mercedes-Benz delivered over 750,000 passenger vehicles in China last year, comprising around one-third of its global sales.
This photo taken on Nov. 2, 2022 shows vehicles of German automaker Mercedes-Benz to be displayed in the upcoming fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Kaellenius is scheduled to visit the upcoming exhibition Auto Shanghai in April, where the all-electric Maybach EQS SUV will debut.
He explained that the company chose Shanghai to showcase the new model because China is the biggest market for the Maybach brand. "It's no coincidence that we're picking a Chinese auto show to launch this vehicle," he added.
The last decade saw China's transformation into a second home away from its German headquarters, Kaellenius said.
"Our comprehensive R&D network in Beijing and Shanghai enables us to rapidly develop the latest technological innovations tailored to the needs of the Chinese market," the company stated.
According to Kaellenius, Mercedes-Benz's business in China is deeply intertwined with its global business network.
The multiple exposure photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows the night view along the Huangpu River in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Looking back into the last 20 to 30 years, Kaellenius said China has been opening up its economy to become an integral part of the global economy. Technologies and products have found their way into China, and China has become a leading manufacturing and technology hub in turn.
Kaellenius considered China's opening-up a success story that enabled Chinese start-ups and big companies to grow their businesses and facilitated foreign direct investment, adding that China's further opening-up would likely prompt Mercedes-Benz to increase its investments.
The company aims to double down on strengthening its presence in China. "There is so much happening now," said Kaellenius, "that I can't think of a more exciting market to test what we have in the pipeline than China."