By Lu Nengneng | 2012-11-29 | ONLINE EDITION
WITH a star-studded line-up featuring 36 models from its Mercedes-Benz, AMG and smart brands, iconic German carmaker Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating its commitment to China at the country's last major motor show of the year, in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.
"We have brought more than 30 new and upgraded models to China," says Bj?rn Hauber, executive vice president of sales and marketing, at Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd, speaking at the 10th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition, which ends on Sunday, December 2.
"Our strong product portfolio and proactive strategy for product introduction have further consolidated our core competitiveness in China," adds Hauber.
Over the past ten months, Mercedes-Benz has achieved a steady and healthy 8 percent growth, with nearly 170,000 units delivered in China, now its third largest market globally.
And it won't be long before the country becomes the biggest market for Mercedes-Benz in terms of volume, Hauber predicts, due to the company's commitment to refreshing and expanding its offerings.
The Guangzhou Auto Show has seen the roll-out of five new cars by Mercedes-Benz. These include the all-new take on the legendary SL roadster; the limited edition smart iceshine; two G-Class high-performance AMGs; and the SLS AMG 45 Year Limited China Edition.
But creating the biggest stir on the company's stand is the stunning F125! research vehicle, making its debut in China. "Guangzhou is a very important cornerstone in our overall China strategy. And that's why we're using this show to launch the F125! which is clearly our vision forward," says Hauber.
The car's ground-breaking combination of fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid technologies offers a glimpse of luxurious green mobility in 2025 and beyond, while the completely new hydrogen tank, integrated directly into the car's bodyshell structure and able to store up to 7.5kg of hydrogen, represents a breakthrough in the development of new energy vehicle technologies.
Hauber says Mercedes-Benz is dedicated to promoting eco-friendly driving in China. It aims to achieve this through lightweight body construction, advanced aerodynamic design, plus the overall efficiency of BlueEFFICIENCY technologies. BlueEFFICIENCY was first introduced in China through the S400 hybrid and the smart for two micro-hybrid drive, and is now available in more than 70 percent of Mercedes-Benz models here.
"Even for our high-performance brand AMG, we talk very much about sustainability and fuel efficiency. We are very proud that the brand offers the most fuel-efficient cars in its segment," Hauber says.
In addition to establishing an environment-conscious image, the luxury icon is also fostering a fresher face to attract younger customers, offering dynamism, passion - and a more affordable price.
To that end, its portfolio has diversified to include the B-Class compact sports tourer, which can cost less than 300,000 yuan (US$48,180). When Mercedes-Benz first imported this car to China in 2009, the market response was remarkable, Hauber recalls.
"The price is only one aspect. What is important is that we can deliver premium offerings in every segment," he explains.
Following the success of its predecessor, the all-new B-Class was launched in China this year on the eve of the Chengdu Motor Show, as the first member of the New Generation Compact Car range. It is being showcased at the Guangzhou show as a pillar of the Mercedes-Benz range.
Another hot-selling imported Mercedes-Benz car, the flagship S-Class, has been a key driver behind the brand's growth in China this year. More than 28,000 units were sold by October - up 13 percent on a year earlier.
With the new GLK-Class SUV, the 2013 C-Class sedans and the long wheelbase E-Class sedans starring, Mercedes-Benz locally-produced vehicles at Guangzhou boast comprehensive upgrades in performance, luxury and appearance.