Daimler’s Chinese truck joint venture with Beiqi Foton Motor Co. will produce its first vehicle in the third quarter this year, the German auto maker said Saturday.
The joint venture “will enable us to play a major role in the Chinese truck market and give us access to the attractive volume segment,” Daimler truck chief Andreas Renschler said in a statement.
The 50-50 joint venture, called Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., will “greatly strengthen our strategic and operational cooperation,” said Xu Heyi, chairman of Foton’s largest shareholder, Beijing Automotive Group Co.
Daimler received final approval from the Chinese authorities for the joint venture with Foton in September after negotiations dragged on for several years. Increasing its footprint in China is integral to Daimler’s plan of boosting its presence in emerging markets.
Daimler and Foton will produce trucks for the medium- and heavy-duty segments.
“The market’s volume has doubled over the last five years, and more than 1 million trucks are now being sold in this segment in China,” Daimler said. Last year, China accounted for around 40% of worldwide sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
The BFDA joint venture is based in the Foton Auman facility in Beijing’s Huairou district and will have an annual production capacity of 160,000 trucks.
Daimler’s truck division is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles by revenue, and contributed to the Stuttgart-based firm’s recent earnings growth, which was driven by surging sales at its core Mercedes-Benz luxury car brand.
The division comprises the Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Western Star and Fuso brands, and includes light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks as well as special-purpose vehicles, such as those for construction sites.