GERMANY: Mercedes-Benz to continue model range expansion this year
Daimler says that its Mercedes-Benz Cars division will continue to expand its model range this year as "four new vehicles without a predecessor model will be launched" in the first seven months of the year.
Mercedes also said that it will renew "almost the entire range of SUVs in the context of the product offensive this year", ensuring additional demand impetus.
Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to significantly increase its total unit sales in 2015 and to achieve a new record. The business unit also anticipates "significantly higher unit sales also for the Smart brand", which will launch both its models in the key markets in 2015.
Mercedes-Benz Cars says it has made a successful start to this year, selling 14.5% more vehicles in the first two months (retail: 262,900 units) than in the prior-year period.
The company is also planning additional investment at its German plants, while maintaining a flexible global footprint and shared engineering architectures.
"Our portfolio is becoming increasingly complex. That's why our production has to become more and more flexible," said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.
Mercedes is basing most of its car models on four vehicle architectures, as well as producing in or close to sales markets around the world. One example is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is produced in Germany, the US, South Africa and China.
However, Daimler says it continues to rely on the German production sites and is earmarking future investment funds for them. By 2020, it says EUR1.5bn will be invested in the Sindelfingen facilities and about EUR1bn will be invested in the truck plant in Woerth for the expansion of production equipment. The plant at the headquarters in Untertuerkheim will be "developed into a competence centre for the production of highly efficient engines and alternative drive systems, entailing further investments of a single digit billion euro amount in the coming years".