FRANKFURT -- Daimler said it plans to build 50,000 Mercedes EQC models this year, denying a report that claimed the automaker had been forced to reduce its 2020 production targets for the full-electric crossover due to battery supply problems.
Manager Magazin said Mercedes had cut its production target for the EQC to 30,000 from about 60,000 because of a shortage of battery cells from LG Chem.
Daimler wanted to sell around 25,000 EQC vehicles in 2019, but only managed to build about 7,000 for the same reason, Manager Magazin said.
A Daimler spokesman said its production plans for 2020 had not been amended.
"Daimler plans to produce around 50,000 Mercedes-Benz EQC models in 2020," spokesman Joerg Howe said.
The EQC is the first of its EQ family of full-electric vehicles.
The EQC is powered by an 80-kilowatt-hour battery and has a range of 445 km (276 miles) to 471 km (293 miles), based on New European Driving Cycle estimates.
Daimler's works council chief Michael Brecht told Manager Magazin that one of the reasons the company is struggling to meet battery demand is because Tesla bought Grohmann Engineering, a battery automation specialist hired by Mercedes to build up its own battery manufacturing capacity.
This caused problems for Daimler which was in the midst of ramping up electric car battery production at its electric vehicle battery production unit Deutsche Accumotive.
The launch of the EQC has been hampered by production problems, including a recall last October after Daimler identified a potentially defective bolt in the differential.
Mercedes has told its U.S. dealers that the EQC's U.S. launch has been pushed back to 2021. It was expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships in the first quarter of this year.
The battery cell supply bottleneck comes as automakers face huge fines in Europe next year if they fail to cut their fleet CO2 emissions to an average 95 grams per km.
Automakers have been given individual targets based on the weight and size of their vehicle fleet.
Daimler had average fleet emissions of 130.4 grams in 2018 and needs to hit a target of 103.1 grams per km by 2021, PA Consulting has forecast.
If Daimler fails to cut its CO2 footprint, it faces a fine of 997 million euros ($1.1 billion), PA Consulting said in a report published this month.
In 2018, average CO2 emissions in the European Union rose by 1.6 percent to 120.4 g/km as customers abandoned diesel vehicles and gravitated towards buying bigger vehicles. Figures for 2019 are not yet available.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report