First local Daimler MPVs roll off production line

14:08, May 27, 2010      

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The first Viano and Vito vans with the three-star Mercedes-Benz badge to be made in China rolled off the production line in Fuzhou last month, marking the onset of Daimler's long-awaited local production of multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs).

Fujian Daimler Automotive Co Ltd - a three-way partnership between German auto giant Daimler AG, Fujian Motors Group (FJMG) and Taiwan-based China Motors Corp (CMC) - began making the vehicles at a new 2 billion yuan facility in the Qingkou Investment Zone in Fuzhou, capital of east China's Fujian province.

FJMC holds a dominant 50 percent stake in the company, while Daimler has a 33.78 percent share and CMC owns 16.22 percent.

Preparation for project started seven years ago. It was finally approved by the Chinese government in January 2007.

At present the plant has the capacity to produce 40,000 units annually.

"The first Viano and Vito vehicles not only signify Fujian Daimler has entered a new era of development, but also mark a solid step for the auto industry in Fujian province," said Lian Xiaoqing, chairman of Fujian Daimler. "I hope the very first products we make receive very positive feedback in the market."

The next product to be produced at the plant will be the Sprinter MPV, Lian said.

Ulrich Walker, chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia, said "the Vito, Viano and Sprinter MPVs are extremely well-suited to meet the needs of businesses and families".

"They are known around the world for their capability and flexibility to transport people or cargo comfortably, reliably and efficiently," Walker said. "As China's economy continues to expand, more and more consumers and businesses will need the reliable and economical transportation solutions these vehicles provide."

In previous comments Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG, said the Fujian venture is expected to be Daimler's largest MPV production base worldwide.

Daimler has another joint venture with Beijing Automotive Group that makes Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

Source: China Daily


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