The handover ceremony

The handover ceremony

BAIC Group and Daimler have held a ceremony to mark the start of exports of their jointly-built Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.

Xu Heyi, the chairman of BAIC Group and BBAC (Beijing Automotive), handed an oversized, symbolic ignition key to Ulrich Walker, the chairman of Daimler AG's Northeast Asia division.

The China-built E-Class is a special long-wheelbase model. It is manufactured at a plant in the suburbs of the Chinese capital.

Neither Daimler nor BBAC has stated which markets they will be sending cars to.

The current generation of the long wheelbase E-Class sedan premiered at the Beijing motor show in April 2010. Production of the E 260 L and E 300 L started the following month.

Earlier this December, BMW and its local partner Brilliance Auto started shipping the first BMW 5 Series Li (long wheelbase) sedans to overseas markets.

In related news, media reports claim that the Guangqi Honda joint venture's HuangPu plant in the city of Guangzhou will soon begin shipments of the Fit to Canada.