Daimler plans to increase heavy duty truck production capacity in China together with its local joint venture partner Beiqi Foton Motor, according to local reports.

The automaker reportedly is planning a CNY2.75bn (US$418m) investment to revamp existing manufacturing operations at its Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive joint venture in Beijing and to add a new production line with a capacity of 50,000 heavy trucks, including the Mercedes-Benz Actros.

The joint venture was established in 2009 with Daimler providing product and manufacturing technology for diesel engines and medium- and heavy-duty trucks including the Foton Auman range. Mercedes brand trucks sold in China are still imported and are priced significantly higher than locally made Auman models.

The new full scale truck manufacturing line will help the German automaker increase its exposure and bring down prices in the world’s largest automotive market and is also likely to export to other markets in the region.

Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive sold 111,788 Auman trucks in the first 10 months of 2020, up 55% year on year, while the overall truck market was up 24% to 3.87m – driven by higher infrastructure investment and new emissions regulations which have forced truck operators to upgrade their vehicles.

Daimler also has a passenger vehicle joint venture with Foton’s parent company BAIC Group, selling close to 570,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the first nine months of 2020 – up 8.3% year on year.