Mercedes to sell 2.7 m cars by 2020

Monday, 23 January 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters): Daimler plans to more than double output of Mercedes brand vehicles to 2.7 million by 2020 in its drive to become the world’s largest premium car maker, a German business magazine reported last week.

Daimler and Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche plans to build a new plant in China and another in either the United States or Mexico to meet the target, Manager Magazin said.

Daimler has pledged to overtake rivals BMW and Audi, maker of Volkswagen cars, as the top manufacturer of luxury cars by 2020.

It sold 1.26 million Mercedes cars in 2011, about 120,000 short of the BMW brand last year.

Manager Magazin also cited sources at Daimler saying the company would match the volume target with an operating margin of more than 10 percent in 2020.

By 2017 or 2018, the new North American plant would begin manufacturing the next generation A-Class together with its strategic partner Nissan. A spokesman for Mercedes declined to comment, but reaffirmed its 1.6 million vehicle sales target for 2015. Daimler Trucks chief Andreas Renschler is also pushing for a 10 percent operating margin by 2020 to beat Swedish rival Volvo , the magazine reported.

It said Renschler was considering whether to acquire majority control of Russian truckmaker Kamaz, according to senior managers.

Daimler owns 11 percent f Kamaz and its financial partner the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) controls another 4 percent.

A spokeswoman for Daimler Trucks said the company continued to aim for an 8 percent operating margin on average over the course of an entire business cycle starting 2013.

She added Renschler was still considering whether to raise the stake in Kamaz, adding that Daimler Trucks had the right of first refusal to buy a 10 percent stake from investor Troika Dialog.