Daimler Downplays Concerns Over Chinese Auto Market

on February 2 2015 | in Auto | by | with No Comments

Mercedes-Benz China

With luxury spending set to slow in China, Germany’s luxury car makers are concerned about China’s auto market, but Daimler remains optimistic.

Speaking at a special media event at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit before unveiling the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said, “I’m not seeing that brutal slowdown of growth‎. I see a pretty stable economic development,” reports China Daily.

“Fears of a decline of the Chinese market have been around for 10 years. We still experience very strong dynamics in the market,” he added, also noting that sales of the S-Class and E-Class remained strong in the country.

Zetsche’s comments are in stark contrast to the recent difficulties faced by BMW in the Chinese auto market.

Due to overstocking in its Chinese dealerships, BMW agreed to pay a 5.1 billion yuan ($820 million) subsidy to its dealers in the country, reports Reuters. The company had pressured Chinese car dealers to buy the vehicles in order to hit aggressive sales targets, but slowing sales have made those goals nearly impossible.

According to Reuters, IHS Automotive expects China’s luxury car market’s growth rate to slow to 5 percent by 2018, down from an average growth rate of 30 percent over the last decade.

Though BMW is still the global luxury car sales leader, the battle with its German rivals is heating up in China.

BMW reported that its 2014 sales in China for its core brand and Mini brand were up 16.7 percent to 455,979 vehicles, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Meanwhile, China passed Germany to become Mercedes-Benz’s second-largest market with 281,588 vehicles sold in the country last year, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

image source: mercedes-benz.com.cn

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