Daimler to launch 4-door compact coupe
Frankfurt, March 29, 2012
Germany's Daimler said it will roll out a four-door Mercedes Benz coupe in 2013, made at its new Hungarian plant.
Daimler plans to roll out three new compact models by 2015 on top of its A and B series, part of the effort to regain the top spot in the premium auto segment by the end of the decade over rivals BMW and Audi.
The new Mercedes Benz B series, which went into production late last year, has generated orders upwards of 100,000 vehicles in a few months, Daimler said in a press release. The auto maker will launch a renewed version of the small A series this year.
"In April in Beijing, we will show the concept of what we call style coupe," Mercedes Benz Cars sales and marketing director Joachim Schmidt told an investor conference at the opening ceremony of Daimler's new plant in Kecskemet, about 100 km south of the Hungarian capital Budapest.
The new car will be one of the manufacturer's CLA models, from its new generation of compact cars. "We start communicating this about one year before the real launch will happen to attract potential customers for this completely new car," Schmidt said.
Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche said in a press release that the new model would be produced at the Kecskemet factory, and the workforce at the plant would rise to 3,000 from the current 2,500 by the end of the year to accommodate the new production line.
On Thursday the company officially began the production of its updated B class models in Kecskemet, its first plant in eastern Europe, giving Hungary's gross domestic product a boost of about half a percent this year, which might help the country avoid recession. The plant's initial capacity is 120,000 vehicles a year.
Earlier on Thursday Daimler reaffirmed it expected record first-quarter sales at its Mercedes-Benz luxury car business, and stuck to its target of selling more than 1.5 million cars in 2014 and over 1.6 million the year after.
Daimler wants to beat BWM and Audi both in terms of profitability and car sales.
"At Mercedes-Benz Cars, we are approaching our targeted (operating) return on sales of 10 percent, which we want to achieve on a sustained basis as of 2013 - on the assumption that our business environment will remain stable," chief executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement. - Reuters