BERLIN -- Daimler's China sales will stay strong next year, Hubertus Troska, the automaker's China chief, said, adding he was confident that Mercedes-Benz could grow its share of the country's electric-vehicle market given little competition in the premium part of the sector.
The brand's car sales in China jumped 12 percent last year to a record 774,000 despite the pandemic, and growth of more than 8 percent has been registered this year so far, Troska told journalists.
"Everything speaks for the fact that China will be a super market next year as well," Troska said.
Troska said Daimler's market share of EV sales is still small in China, where it competes with numerous Chinese EV makers such as Xpeng, Li Auto and Nio as well as U.S. EV giant Tesla.
However, most Chinese companies sell in the price range of 35,000 euros ($39,270) or less, Troska said, prices that are below Daimler's range.
With the number of Daimler EV models for sale in the country set to grow from one to five next year, Daimler will be able to better establish itself in the higher-priced premium part of the segment, he said.
Still, demand for cars that burn fossil fuels is likely to last for some time in China, Troska said, pointing to the large swathes of the country outside urban centers where charging infrastructure could be harder to come by.
"It's a huge country, so in my view there will still be internal combustion engine cars in China for some time," Troska said.
Daimler has said that all new vehicle platforms from 2025 will be electric, with a view to producing all-electric only by 2030 where market conditions allow.
China, which is the world's largest car market and is responsible for a third of Daimler's revenues, has so far refrained from following Europe in setting dates for bans on production of fossil-fuel emitting cars.