Daimler to sell Mercedes-Benz branded all-electric battery cars in China

September 7, 2016 3:15 AM EDT

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By Norihiko Shirouzu

BEIJING (Reuters) - Germany's Daimler AG plans to sell Mercedes-Benz branded all-electric battery cars in China, its China chief said on Wednesday, as the automaker capitalizes on government initiatives aimed at growing the market 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, gasoline-electric and other such vehicles.

The majority of those vehicles were priced under 250,000 yuan ($37,515) and 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 all-electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids.

Troska did not elaborate on the planned cars such as cost, pricing, models or launch dates. But investor relations head Björn Scheib said Daimler plans to show a concept electric car at the Paris Motor Show which opens to the public on Oct. 1.

Daimler currently sells one all-electric battery model in China under its smart brand, and one under the Denza brand it operates with local partner BYD Co Ltd.

Its China line-up also includes plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-class and S-class sedans and GLE crossover sport utility vehicle.

(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Christopher Cushing)



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