|Type||Private joint venture|
|Owners||Beijing Automotive Group (50%)
Daimler AG (50%)
|Literal meaning||Beijing Benz|
Beijing Benz (officially Beijing Benz Automotive Co Ltd) is an automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Beijing, China, and a joint venture between Beijing Automotive Group and Daimler AG. Since its founding in 1984 the company has kept the same Chinese co-owner but has had several foreign co-owners.
While Beijing Benz does not produce all the Mercedes-branded autos sold on the Chinese market, such cars currently enjoy a reputation for high quality and popularity. Some Mercedes offerings, the S-Class for example, are imported by Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd. Mercedes Benzes are, alongside FAW Group Audis, Brilliance Auto BMWs, and Lexuses, some of the only Western luxury cars to have gained popularity in the Chinese market.
Sales in 2010 were expected to reach 50,000 cars, but total Mercedes Benz sales in China including imports were near 150,000. In 2008 Beijing Benz's production capacity was estimated at 100,000 units/year although that figure may consider engines and vehicles as discrete, and the company was likely able to produce only half that number of whole vehicles.
While its history can be traced back to the oldest of the Chinese auto-making joint ventures with a Western partner, Beijing Benz was established in 2005 and is currently owned by Beiqi and Daimler AG.
Beijing Benz grew out of what was originally the Beijing Jeep Corporation (Chinese: 北京吉普汽车有限公司), China's first Sino-western automotive joint venture having been established in 1984 with American Motors Corporation.
American Motors began negotiations in 1979 to sell its vehicles in China and to gain access to then low-cost Chinese labor. The Chinese wanted more-modern automotive technology; Beijing Jeep suited the needs of both parties and produced the American Motors Jeep Cherokee (XJ) in Beijing. While talks began in the late 1970s, operation started in 1985. Assembly of the Cherokee continued after Chrysler purchased American Motors as did production of the classic Beijing BJ212-based SUVs.
Beijing Jeep has since become well known as an example of early FDI in China. Its pitfalls and successes are pored over in case studies, and such academic reports sometimes compare the marketing strategy of Beijing Jeep with that of Shanghai Volkswagen, another early Sino-foreign joint venture.
When Chrysler purchased American Motors in 1987, its Jeep brand came with an unexpected boon, Beijing Jeep. A few Chrysler models were subsequently added to the Chinese company's product line including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and the Mitsubishi Outlander, as well as some Beijing Jeep-branded, locally-developed vehicles. Chrysler no longer has any ownership in Beijing Jeep as of early 2009, and domestic manufacture of Jeep-branded vehicles ceased in 2006. Newer Jeep models may be soon produced at a joint venture between Guangzhou Automobile Group and Fiat, current owner of Chrysler and the Jeep brand, however.
During Chrysler's short-lived partnership with Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, production at Beijing Jeep was expanded to include Mercedes-Benz-branded products. Its legal name was changed to Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive Co Ltd, with then German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in attendance at the 2004 naming ceremony. While Chrysler was removed from the company in 2009, it remained in its legal name for several more years.
The company started producing the Mercedes-Benz E-Class locally in 2006 and the C-Class in 2008. Manufacture of Chrysler-branded models continued until at least 2008. This included the 300C, which was both locally produced and imported.
Beijing Benz has a production base at the Beijing Economic & Technological Development Area. Another plant opened in 2010. This opening may have increased potential Beijing Benz production capacity to 300,000 units/year. Such unit counts may consider engines and automobiles as discrete. A future engine-making production base is scheduled to become operational in 2013.
As of 2009 Beijing Benz products, alongside those of several other makes, are purchased for use by Chinese State officials such as ministers and provincial heads. A First Automobile Works Audi is the traditional choice for this purpose.
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W204 C180K, C200 CGI, C260 CGI, C300)
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class (V212 E200L CGI, E260L CGI, E300L)
- Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (X204 GLK300 4MATIC)
- Beijing BJ212, later BJ2020/2024/2025/2032
- Jeep BJ2021/7250 Cherokee (based on the Jeep Cherokee (XJ), this was the original vehicle produced by Beijing Jeep from 1983 to 2005)
- Jeep 2500/2700
- Chrysler 300C
- Jeep 4000/4700 (Jeep Grand Cherokee)
- Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Mercedes-Benz E-class (W211)
- "Daimler Northeast Asia". Mercedes Benz China. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
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- For manufacture of vehicles, see "2009 Annual Report, 2. Significant acquisitions and dispositions of interests in companies and of other assets and liabilities". Daimler AG. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- For models produced, see "公司介绍". Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (in Chinese). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
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- Shirouzu, Norihiko (7 June 2011). "Chinese Begin Volvo Overhaul". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
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- Doing business in China: the last great market - Page 192 Geoffrey Murray - 1994 "BEIJING JEEP Finally in this chapter, I want to return to the ongoing story of Beijing Jeep. When the first Cherokee rolled off the assembly line on 26 September 1985 - almost six years after talks on the joint venture had begun - an ..."
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- "Chrysler's Jeep Faces Uphill Climb in China". WSJ.com. Dow Jones & Company. May 9, 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
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- For knock-down assembly of E-Class, see "China's domestically-made Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans to get off the line in Beijing". China Business News. Shanghai: May 31, 2010.
- For component localization rate of 30%, see Mercedes-Benz seeking higher localization rate in China globaltimes.cn, October 27, 2010[dead link]
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- For 15kM from Daxing Caiyu, see "Part Overview". Beijing Hainachuan Automotive Parts Co., Ltd. 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
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- "Beijing built Mercedes GLK pops out for pictures with minor facelift and 2.0T". chinacartimes.com. July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Dunne, Timothy. "Can Chrysler Rebound in China?" Business Week, November 2, 2007. Retrieved on January 22, 2008.
- Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (in Chinese)