The 500,000th locally produced Mercedes-Benz passenger car, an all-new long-wheelbase C-Class model, has rolled off the production lines at Daimler’s Sino-German production joint-venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). About half of these vehicles have been manufactured just within the past two years, according to the automaker.
“Continuous investment in localization is one of our key growth drivers for Mercedes-Benz’s future in China, and it is clear proof of our confidence in and dedication to this strategically important market,” says Hubertus Troska, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Greater China. “Going forward, we are determined to pick up the pace even more as we just signed a €1 billion agreement with our partner for the localization of further compact car models. BBAC is undoubtedly on its path to become the largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car plant worldwide.”
BBAC, a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor, has produced "cars with the star" since 2006 and engines since 2013. Last year, around 120,000 vehicles rolled off the Beijing-based production lines, accounting for approximately one-half of Mercedes-Benz’s total sales volume in China, according to the automaker. This figure is expected to grow significantly by the end of next year, based on production capacities reaching well beyond 200,000 units. The all-new long-wheelbase C-Class is expected to contribute to this in its first full-year after its launch this August, and the localized GLA compact SUV will, from early 2015 on, support as an additional growth driver. The constant growth of BBAC is backed by strong funding: the two shareholders are jointly investing €4 billion in the company through 2015.
About €400 million has been spent solely on the first ever Mercedes-Benz passenger car engine plant outside of Germany, according to the automaker. Inaugurated about a year ago, it marks another milestone in Mercedes-Benz’s localization strategy. The facility produces four- and six-cylinder engines for locally produced passenger cars and vans built by Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC). The production line has been designed for flexibility, with an annual capacity of 250,000 units for the first phase. Higher numbers will be planned in line with the ongoing growth in unit sales.