Mercedes-Benz pushes ahead with development of China sales structure
- Current measures:
- Central Sales in Stuttgart to be bolstered by dedicated “Sales Management China” unit
- Fast-track expansion of dealer network, 75 new dealerships in 2013
- After-sales initiative to ensure sustainable growth
- Hubertus Troska: “We have taken numerous measures for our Chinese business in the past six months. And we're keeping our foot on the gas. Thanks to our dealer network expansion we are continually opening up cities and regions in which Mercedes-Benz has not previously had an adequate presence.”
- A clear vote of confidence from Chinese dealers: Hubertus Troska unanimously appointed Director of the Carl Benz Academy (China)
Stuttgart/Beijing – By pooling all sales activities for imported and locally produced passenger cars under the umbrella of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co. Ltd. (BMBS), Daimler has established the structural set-up for the optimization of sales operations in China, thus paving the way for sustainable growth. On this basis, the company is pushing ahead with the ongoing development of its sales operations for what is set to be Mercedes-Benz’s most important passenger car market in the future – as illustrated by numerous current examples: a special unit dedicated to China is being set up at Central Sales in Stuttgart, the Chinese dealer network is undergoing fast-track development, a multi-stage after-sales initiative has been started, and basic and advanced training capacities and training measures for sales and dealership staff are subject to continual expansion.
“We have taken numerous measures for our Chinese business in the past six months and are proceeding step by step. May saw a continuation of the positive sales trend from the previous months and we are keeping our foot on the gas together with the sales organization in Germany,” says Hubertus Troska, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for China. “Together with the expansion and rejuvenation of our product range, a decisive factor for our sustained success is the consistent development of our dealer network, among other things. In this way we are continually opening up cities and regions in which Mercedes-Benz has not previously had an adequate presence.”
New structure: special sales unit in Stuttgart dedicated to the Chinese market
In order to serve the Chinese automobile market even more effectively – also in the context of the Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy – a special unit has been set up at Central Sales in Stuttgart under the name of “Sales Management China” to coordinate all passenger car sales functions relating to the Chinese market and to pool these functions at the company’s headquarters. The aim is to address challenges, market requirements and specific needs relating to Chinese business even more effectively and to provide the colleagues in China with ideal support from headquarters. An important advantage of this closer collaboration is that it will enable the needs of the Chinese market to receive even greater consideration in key decisions relating to sales and products in future, thereby fulfilling a crucial condition for sustained growth in China.
The new unit will be headed by Bernhard Auer (47), a sales specialist and experienced expert on China, who will report directly to the Vice President Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars, Matthias Luehrs. After holding various posts at the technology company STW in Germany and the USA, Bernhard Auer most recently managed the sales unit responsible for China and Hong Kong at Audi AG.
Expansion of the dealer network in 2013
Expansion of the dealer network in China is of central importance for further growth. Mercedes-Benz’s dealer network in China is to grow annually by an average of around 50 new dealerships – in particular away from the well-known mega-cities. This year, the target figure will be surpassed: 75 new dealerships will go into operation, including 36 cities in which the brand previously had no presence at all. In all, Mercedes-Benz will then have significantly more than 300 dealers in China.
The growth of the Mercedes-Benz dealer network is being accompanied by a vast increase in training capacities. In this way the company is ensuring the very highest standards of service quality at all times. Following the recent opening of a new training center in Chengdu (province of Sichuan) – the largest outside of Germany – and together with the additionally planned training center in Shanghai, Mercedes-Benz will have a total of seven such establishments in China. The training capacity for Mercedes-Benz sales staff will increase by 40 percent in comparison to last year, reaching 140,000 training man-days. All training centers are affiliated to the newly established BMBS sales company.
To ensure sales growth on a sustained basis, a further focus lies squarely on the development of the existing after-sales activities. With this in mind a multi-stage initiative has already been launched by the new sales company in China, BMBS, comprising some attractive and competitive maintenance, service and guarantee packages.
Overview of other measures for China:
- Market launch of around 20 new and facelifted vehicles up to 2015; highlights for 2013 are the new E-Class in a long-wheelbase version, the A-Class and the S-Class
- Expansion of local production:
- increase in capacities for existing model series (C-Class, E-Class and GLK)
- localization of the GLA, the future compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz
- production launch of engines to be deployed in locally produced Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and vans
- Continued expansion of financial services and attractive financing and leasing products
Mercedes-Benz dealers give vote of confidence
Representatives of the five most important dealer groups for Mercedes-Benz in China (Boshi Group, China Grand Automobile, Lei Shing Hong, Pangda, Zhongsheng) have unanimously appointed Daimler’s Management Board member responsible for China, Hubertus Troska, as Chairman of the Carl Benz Academy China ( 卡尔·奔驰学院 ). Troska’s appointment is a vote of confidence for the China management of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz.
The Carl Benz Academy is a joint institution of Mercedes-Benz in China and its most important local dealer groups which offers further vocational training and education (MBA Business Administration) for managerial staff from the automobile sector in cooperation with renowned international universities. To date, about 80 employees of Mercedes-Benz and its dealers in China have benefited from the Academy’s program. The dealers have undertaken to fund the Carl Benz Academy to the tune of RMB 100 million (a good 12 million euros).
In the interests of long-term and sustainable growth in China, the company’s basic and further training efforts are not focused solely on management staff from the area of sales and the dealer network. Since 2006, a further emphasis has been on training young talents in occupations such as car mechatronic, assembly fitter, and CNC chipping operator. The training is based on the German standard of the dual system and has already been completed by more than 1500 trainees; the local teaching staff also receive corresponding basic and advanced training.