Auto major DaimlerChrysler AG said Tuesday it was raising its stake in its Chinese auto joint venture, Beijing Benz DaimlerChrysler Automotive, to 50 percent from 42 percent previously.
DaimlerChrysler, which had received final approval for the venture, paid a low double-digit million euro sum to increase its stake, the German-U.S. carmaker said in Beijing.
The Chinese partner is Beijing Automotive Industry Corp., or BAIC.
Guenther Butschek will lead the joint venture. Butschek was previously in charge of the NedCar plant in the Netherlands, a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which produced Mitsubishi's Colt as well as Smart's ForFour model.
DaimlerChrysler holds a stake of about 12.9 percent in Mitsubishi Motors.
DaimlerChrysler expects to begin production of its E-class of cars at the plant in November, followed by the C-class. Other Chrysler and Mitsubishi models will also be produced at the facilities.
In the current year, DaimlerChrysler expects sales for the Mercedes car group to rise 20 percent in China.
Elsewhere, DaimlerChrysler is reorganizing its Asian operations. Business in China and South Korea, previously conducted separately, will now be regrouped as one region. Ruediger Grube, company management board member who until now has overseen Daimler's China business, will lead the regional operations.
On an operating level, Till Becker will be in charge of the region from Oct. 1. Becker was previously in charge of Daimler's activities in Turkey.
Grube attributed the geographic regrouping to the fact that operations in the region often overlap, and said the decision to have a manager on site was necessary due to the joint venture.
(Shenzhen Daily August 31, 2005)