Mercedes-Benz executives in China want the redesigned S class to make its global debut in the country next year, and they are taking their case to company leaders in Germany, the Jinhua Times reported.
"There is no doubt that the Chinese market will be key to the sales of this product; therefore we have a strong case to make for it to debut in China," said Klaus Maier, CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd.
At an auto show last week in the southwest China city of Chengdu, Maier also told the Beijing newspaper that Mercedes will introduce five new models in China by year end. Details were not disclosed.
Maier also said that Mercedes will expand its Chinese dealership network to 260 stores, from 217. The new dealerships will be mainly in third- and fourth-tier Chinese cities, he said.
In China, Mercedes sells the A, B, C, E, G, GL, M, R, S and SL class models, as well as the CLS, GLK, SLK, SLS and Viano. Among those, only the C, E and GLK are built in China by Daimler's joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp.
For the first seven months of this year, Mercedes sold 111,073 vehicles in China, up 1 percent from the same period last year, according to LMC Automotive.
Mercedes trails German rivals Audi and BMW in China sales.