Mention China to Daimler managers, and with a pained look, they will quickly change the subject. China is the superpower when it comes to conspicuous consumption, and even more conspicuous choices of cars, and horrors, Mercedes is lagging far behind Audi and BMW, brands that previously had been looked upon with disdain by Daimler managers. Daimler won’t take it anymore, and wants to put a board member in charge of its lagging China business, says Der Spiegel. It will be a demanding job.
|German Luxury Brands in China|
In China, Audi and BMW booked double-digit gains in October, Mercedes sales however were 3.9 percent below October 2011. Daimler managers were quick to blame a very strong October in the prior year, but with only 5.5 percent up for the year, Mercedes looks quite anemic. In the world’s largest auto market, Audi sold more than twice the number of units than Mercedes.
Daimler managers cite the fact that their China-produced and their imported cars are sold through separate organizations. Their German colleagues chuckle about the common complaint. Volkswagen cars are even sold through three separate dealer channels in China, two for FAW-VW and SVW each, one for imported Volkswagen.
By putting a board member in charge of China, Daimler follows Volkswagen’s example. In June, Volkswagen installed Jochem Heizmann as a board-level Emperor of China.