FRANKFURT/BEIJING (Reuters) -- Lei Shing Hong, the world's largest Mercedes-Benz dealership group, is on the lookout for sales outlets in Germany to develop techniques for operating in a mature market, a spokesman for the Chinese group said.
After years of growth that turned China into the world's biggest car market, cooling demand is forcing dealers in China to look beyond sales of new cars to generate revenue.
"We are continuously looking for opportunities to extend our geographical presence, and this includes Europe," the spokesman said on Wednesday. "Germany is by some distance Europe's leading automotive production and sales market with a high degree of maturity. This challenging market environment is highly attractive for Lei Shing Hong in order to learn for the ever-more maturing Asian markets, especially China."
Daimler has said it will sell about 40 company-owned Mercedes dealerships as part of an overhaul of its German dealership operations, which have in the past accounted for about half of the brand's car sales in Germany.
Lei Shing already owns a German Mercedes dealership group with outlets in the eastern cities of Weimar, Erfurt and Arnstadt, which it bought in January. The company will shortly buy further Mercedes outlets in the east, in the cities of Magdeburg, Leipzig, Schwerin, Dresden and Rostock, the Stuttgarter Zeitung reported on Wednesday, citing several people familiar with the matter. Daimler has said it will keep its outlets in Berlin.
The automaker was not immediately available for comment.
Germany's car dealership model includes healthy profits from selling used approved vehicles and revenue from vehicle parts.
IHS Automotive expects premium car sales growth in China to slow to 5 percent by 2018 from an average rate of 30 percent over the past decade, forcing local dealers to overhaul their business models.
Earlier this year, BMW said it will pay 5.1 billion yuan ($823 million) to its established China dealers who are suffering from slowing sales as the economy cools and competition from unauthorized dealers increases.