Daimler to make Mercedes-branded trucks in China

Beiqi Foton plans to greatly increase heavy truck production. (Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2019

Daimler to make Mercedes-branded trucks in China

  • The plan will deepen the alliance between Daimler and its Chinese truck JV partner, Beiqi Foton

SHANGHAI: German auto maker Daimler plans to build Mercedes Benz-branded heavy trucks in China by revamping truck plants owned by its local joint venture, according to a document seen by Reuters and two sources familiar with the matter.

The plan will deepen the alliance between Daimler and its Chinese truck JV partner, Beiqi Foton, and comes after the purchase of a 5 percent stake in Daimler last month by its Mercedes Benz passenger car partner, Beijing Automotive Group, Foton’s parent group.

“Localisation of Mercedes Benz-branded trucks had been planned years before, so it has nothing to do with BAIC Group's recent stake purchase in Daimler,” one source said.

In 2016, Daimler’s then head of its truck business told German media that it planned to make Mercedes Benz-branded Actros heavy trucks in China by the end of the decade. No details of the plan have since been reported or announced.

Under the plan, Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive will add Actros to its production lines which are mainly used to make Auman trucks, the joint venture’s sole truck brand, the sources said.

The JV plans to revamp its No.3 plant, which will have an annual capacity of 60,000 heavy trucks, and expand capacity at its No.2 plant to 100,000 units from 60,000 now, according to a document on the JV's website. The value of the investment was not known.

The No.3 plant will build both Actros and Auman trucks, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the plan had not been made public.

Daimler’s office in China did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.


Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

Updated 17 September 2019

Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

  • A long-sought trade pact with Japan was scrapped when Donald Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017
  • Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal

TOKYO: Officials in Japan appeared wary over the prospects for a trade deal with the US after President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sign a pact soon.
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said Tuesday that the two sides are still finalizing details after reaching a basic agreement in late August on trade in farm products, digital trade and other industries.
Suga said Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are considering signing a deal in late September when they attend the UN General Assembly in New York.
“We are accelerating the work that still remains,” he said. “But I decline to comment further because we have not reached a formal agreement.”
Trump’s notice to Congress, released by the White House on Monday, did not mention tariffs on autos and parts, long a sticking point between the two countries.
It said his administration was looking forward to collaborating with lawmakers on a deal that would result in “more fair and reciprocal trade” between the two countries.
Toshimitsu Motegi, who became foreign minister last week after negotiating the deal as economy minister, said Japan must watch carefully to prevent Washington from forcing any last-minute changes, Kyodo News agency reported.
The agricultural minister, Taku Eto, cautioned against letting down Tokyo’s guard until the final agreement is reached, it said.
A long-sought trade agreement with Japan was scrapped when Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017.
Japan and the other 10 remaining members of the trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then renegotiated their own deal without the US
Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal.
That resurrected the longtime issue of tariffs on Japanese car and auto parts exports to the US and of stiffer duties on US exports of farm and other products to Japan.