Daimler Considers Building EVs in China

To keep the Mercedes-Benz sales momemtum growing in China, parent Daimler could manufacture electric cars and batteries locally, according to the company’s marketing head Hubertus Troska.

Since the beginning of 2016, Mercedes cars have carved a 28-percent sales increase in China after refreshing designs that gave a sportier appearance along with an upmarket feel that appealed to drivers in the world’s largest car market.

Constructing a new battery facility in China is “among the options,” Troska said in an interview reported by Automotive News, adding that a decision had yet not been made.

Troska would not comment about a date to begin production in China of an electric vehicle based on the Generation EQ concept (above photo) that previewed at the Paris auto show earlier this year.

Mercedes plans to offer more than 10 all-electric vehicles as part of its new EQ sub-brand by 2025 and has stated it wants to produce its almost production-ready Generation EQ SUV by 2020.

The Generation EQ is based on the Mercedes C-Class sedan platform, a model that is already being built in China, which would make it somewhat easy to add the EQ local authorities have said.

“The strategic plan by the authorities is to push battery electric vehicles. We continue to invest in both battery electric cars and hybrid,” Troska said in the interview.

SEE ALSO: Daimler and BYD to Build Electric Vehicles in China

China has a serious pollution issue that has prompted the government to look at a new incentive program to boost electric car sales. Officials are considering a plan much like that of California that trades credit for low or zero polluting cars.

In an attempt to discourage the purchase of large luxury vehicles, China recently imposed a 10 percent luxury tax on cars costing more than $189,000, a move that Troska said is not expected to put much of a dent in the sales of top-end Mercedes models.

Generally, Chinese buyers prefer sedans to SUVs but their demand is growing, Troska said.

That could bode well for the electric Generation EQ, and might convince Daimler to invest in a battery factory and build the SUV in China.

 

Automotive News


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