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August 15, 2007

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Chinese buyers prefer imported Mercedes-Benz cars to locally-made ones

By Joanne Jiu From: www.gasgoo.com

Mercedes-Benz E Class are already locally assembled in China, but the Chinese consumers still favor imported Benz cars. Company sales records show that imported Benz cars are roughly 2.5 times the number of the locally-made ones in the half-year sales.

Benz E230 made by Beijing Benz

Mercedes-Benz's Chinese partner Beijing Benz's first half-year sales of Benz E-class saloons are under 4,000 units, which formed a sharp contrast to Mercedes-Benz's total sales in China which reached 13,500 units during the same period.

Beijing Benz releases an all-new E230 in early July, adding another model to its E-class assembly lines. The E230 was made to compete with BMW 525 Li, which features long wheelbase especially designed for Chinese market. The BMW 525 Li and Benz E230, belonging to the same segment, have the same emission level, but the former outperformed the latter in the market with its wider range of choices of prices and types.

The main problem for China-made Benz cars may be prices and sales channels, according to a Beijing Morning Post report.

Beijing Benz has been depending on completely knocked down (CKD) operation for a long time, which could hardly lower the cost. In addition, Beijing Benz has only three 4S dealers in Beijing whereas BMW has more than six.

Beijing Benz now is capable of producing Benz E200k, E280, E350 and Benz E230. The company is planning to locally produce a C-class sedan by the end of this year.

The B- and C-segment vehicles are growing fast during recent years. In the first six months of this year, Beijing Benz sold 13,500 vehicles, up 38 percent compared with the same period last year; BMW Group (BMW and MINI brands included) sold 23,667 units, up 38 percent year on year; and Audi sold 48,716 units, up 27 percent year on year.

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August 14, 2007

Photos: Gasgoo

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