Speaking at a conference in China, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has said that China can be the ‘turbo’ of auto industry change and transformation. He also highlighted prospects for electric mobility in the world’s biggest vehicle market.

Dieter Zetsche was speaking at the China Development Forum in Beijing. Dr Zetsche outlined the key trends in the automotive industry and the company’s vision for reshaping mobility

“I truly believe: China can be ‘the turbo’ of this transformation.”

 “The automotive industry is experiencing fundamental change: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. Each of these has the power to turn our entire industry upside down. And I truly believe: China can be ‘the turbo’ of this transformation,” he said.

“Electric mobility, for instance, is developing quickly here. And we are aiming to further contribute to this development by planning to produce our new generation of electric Mercedes-Benz models also in China. We are committed to delivering innovation and believe to have a common target with our partners: a both sustainable and highly fascinating auto industry in China.”

Around two-thirds of the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars sold in China are manufactured locally. A key to this success, Daimler says, has been an emphasis on the local research and development base, which currently employes 700 engineers and designers. Together with its Chinese partner BAIC, Daimler also continuously invests in local production. In 2016, the two companies agreed on the investment of four billion RMB (more than €500 million) in the further expansion of the Beijing-based engine plant.

Daimler says that as a leading mobility service provider, it was the first premium automaker to offer car-sharing in China. The free- floating car-sharing service car2go launched in Chongqing in April 2016.

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By GlobalData

Local production of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars also includes the C 350 e L plug-in hybrid model, and several imported plug-in hybrid models are also available in China. Daimler further extended its NEV portfolio with the recent introduction of an upgraded model of DENZA, the company’s pure electric vehicle brand, it says. As the Chinese market holds great potential in the area of electric mobility, Daimler will continue to invest in R&D efforts to develop more efficient and environmentally friendly NEVs. The company is also planning to build cars of the EQ brand in China.