Mercedes-Benz plans to make China a central focus in its upcoming electric vehicle (EV) campaign starting in 2025, according to CEO Ola Kaellenius. The company aims to master electric propulsion and digitalization to meet customer expectations.
Under its strategy outlined in 2021, Mercedes-Benz will produce only EVs on all new vehicle platforms from 2025 onwards. To better cater to local customers in China, the automaker is reviewing the models based on the upcoming MB.EA platform, with a particular focus on space and digital content.
China is a crucial market for Germany’s automakers, but local brands currently dominate the Chinese EV market, holding an 81% share in 2022, as per Counterpoint Research.
Notably, China has a significant ownership stake in Mercedes-Benz, with Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd and Geely Chairman Li Shufu being its top two shareholders.
Meanwhile, Germany is aiming to reduce its economic exposure to China, prompted by efforts to derisk the economy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlighted the country’s dependence on a single dominant gas supplier.
Mercedes-Benz’s decision to prioritize China in its EV campaign reflects the importance of the Chinese market in the global automotive industry. As the world’s largest auto market, China offers immense growth potential for electric mobility. However, local Chinese brands currently hold a strong grip on the EV market, presenting a challenge for international automakers like Mercedes-Benz.
Given China’s significant stake in Mercedes-Benz through its top shareholders, it is vital for the German automaker to strengthen its position in the Chinese market and tailor its EV offerings to meet the specific needs and preferences of Chinese consumers. This approach will enable Mercedes-Benz to compete effectively with local brands and gain a larger share of the Chinese EV market.
On the other hand, Germany’s efforts to derisk its economy and reduce exposure to China’s economy may have broader implications for the global economic landscape. As geopolitical tensions and supply chain vulnerabilities come to the forefront, international businesses will likely reassess their dependencies on specific countries and explore diversification strategies.
Mercedes-Benz strategic focus on China for its EV campaign reflects the country’s pivotal role in the automotive industry. The company’s efforts to address local market needs and strengthen its position in China are essential steps in its pursuit of success in the highly competitive and rapidly growing Chinese EV market. Simultaneously, Germany’s efforts to derisk its economy underscore the broader challenges and complexities of global economic interdependencies.