BEIJING -- Daimler plans to sell Mercedes-Benz electric cars in China, its market chief said today, as the automaker capitalizes on government initiatives aimed at boosting demand for new-energy vehicles (NEVs).
Hubertus Troska said the government's push, which involves tax breaks and other policy support, helped the number of NEVs sold last year surpass 300,000, making China the world's biggest market for electric, plug-in hybrid and other green vehicles.
The majority of those vehicles were priced under 250,000 yuan ($37,515) and were offered mainly by Chinese automakers, Troska said at an analyst and investor conference in Beijing.
Given factors including the government push -- which falls under a broader drive to cut oil dependence and air pollution -- Daimler is "very confident NEVs will be an important factor of the Chinese market," Troska said.
"Mercedes-Benz is also going to play a role in China in NEVs," he said, referring to the planned cars.
He also said he sees demand over time shifting toward a "higher segment" of more expensive and capable full-electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids.
Troska did not elaborate on the planned cars such as cost, pricing, models or launch dates, but the company has said it will unveil a long-range EV prototype at the Paris auto show at the end of the month.
Daimler has plans to roll out at least six, and possibly as many as nine, electric car models between 2018 and 2024 as part of its push to compete with rivals Tesla, BMW and Audi, a report said earlier this month.
Bloomberg reported last month that Mercedes will create a subbrand for electric cars.
Daimler currently sells one electric vehicle in China under its Smart small-car brand, and one under the Denza brand it operates with local partner BYD Co. Ltd.
Its China lineup also includes plug-in hybrid versions of the Mercedes C-class and S-class sedans and GLE crossover.