Mercedes-Benz is looking to build new plants in China and in either Mexico or the U.S. as it forges ahead with plans to double its sales by the year 2020.
The information was revealed by Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes’ parent Daimler, during a recent interview with Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Doubling Mercedes’ sales from the 1.26 million units sold in 2011 by the end of the decade is necessary for Mercedes to become the leading brand in the premium sector, explained Zetsche. But not only that, a 10 percent operating margin would also be needed to ensure Mercedes is also the most profitable premium brand.
That’s where building more cars in low-cost countries or closer to where the bulk of volume is sold will help. The most likely outcome for the North American plant, according to the report, would be a joint-venture with Nissan to build the next-generation A Class and a new small model for Infiniti from 2017 or 2018 onwards. You may recall that the two recently announced plans to start building Mercedes four-cylinder engines at a Nissan plant located in Tennessee.
Mercedes board members will reportedly discuss the new North American plant strategy in March.
As automakers around the globe struggle to cope with currency fluctuations, more and more are considering manufacturing in regions where they enjoy the bulk of their sales. For Mercedes-Benz, building in North America is obvious due to the strength of the U.S. luxury segment as well as its proximity to emerging South American markets.
Lexus, too, is considering building more cars in North America and last week we reported that Audi had given the green light for a plant in North America, which will most likely be established in Mexico.