SHANGHAI: German auto maker Daimler plans to build Mercedes Benz-branded heavy trucks in China by revamping truck plants owned by its local joint venture, according to a document seen by Reuters and two sources familiar with the matter.
The plan will deepen the alliance between Daimler and its Chinese truck JV partner, Beiqi Foton, and comes after the purchase of a 5 percent stake in Daimler last month by its Mercedes Benz passenger car partner, Beijing Automotive Group, Foton’s parent group.
“Localisation of Mercedes Benz-branded trucks had been planned years before, so it has nothing to do with BAIC Group's recent stake purchase in Daimler,” one source said.
In 2016, Daimler’s then head of its truck business told German media that it planned to make Mercedes Benz-branded Actros heavy trucks in China by the end of the decade. No details of the plan have since been reported or announced.
Under the plan, Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive will add Actros to its production lines which are mainly used to make Auman trucks, the joint venture’s sole truck brand, the sources said.
The JV plans to revamp its No.3 plant, which will have an annual capacity of 60,000 heavy trucks, and expand capacity at its No.2 plant to 100,000 units from 60,000 now, according to a document on the JV's website. The value of the investment was not known.
The No.3 plant will build both Actros and Auman trucks, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the plan had not been made public.
Daimler’s office in China did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.