15. Wanxiti’s new Mercedes-Benz is precisely the most dangerous time for Beijing Benz

The discounts are so great now that I almost placed an order with enthusiasm.

Su Min, who had just come out of the Mercedes-Benz 4S store, told Dong Chehui that she almost bought a Mercedes-Benz A180L for a simple reason. The price of the naked car sold to her was 154,500.

For a price of RMB 100,000, you can buy a Mercedes-Benz that is not too small in size, has decent space, and has an online design. Who can still walk after seeing it? But calm down and think about it, for a 136-horsepower vegetable shopping machine, you have to add 95 seconds to the 136-horsepower vegetable shopping machine. It doesn’t seem like a good deal.

▲Mercedes-Benz A-Class

But Su Min didn't seem to care about these problems. "My kind of technology doesn't have much demand for power." What she valued more was the brand and design of Mercedes-Benz. What's more, in the face of the naked car price of 150,000 yuan, the original problems seem to no longer exist. A car full of hard plastic? Just don’t touch it. Torsion beam rear suspension? People don’t often sit in the back row.

This reminds me of this sentence that was circulated some time ago. It is crude, direct, and so true that it is impossible to refute it.

The 240,000 ID.4 is bullshit, the 150,000 ID.4 smells great.

The three-pointed star of 150,000 is equally confusing.

How did you get this 150,000 Mercedes Benz?

Against the background of comprehensive electrification transformation, many domestic joint venture models are in deep trouble and cannot extricate themselves. They can only slow down their decline through layoffs.

Taking the past August as an example, Nissan's sales in China fell by 29.36% year-on-year, Honda's sales fell by 25.1%, and even Toyota's sales fell by 6.6%. According to data released by the China Automobile Association, from January to August this year, the overall share of Japanese cars in the Chinese market was only 14.5%. At its peak (2020), the share of Japanese cars was as high as 23.1%.

Compared with the three Japanese brothers, Mercedes-Benz's life in China is much easier. Relying on the "luxury brand" line of defense, Mercedes-Benz China completed sales of more than 370,000 vehicles in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 6%.

However, Mercedes-Benz paid a high price in order to achieve this sales performance.

In August this year, BAIC Motor released its semi-annual report, which revealed that Beijing Benz's revenue in the first half of this year was 90.817 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 11.47%. The data is gratifying. However, despite the substantial growth in sales revenue, Beijing Benz's profitability began to decline. The net profit in the first half of this year was 22.615 billion yuan, 1.2 billion yuan less than the same period last year, and a year-on-year decrease of 5%.

"Exchanging price for volume" is Beijing Benz's trick to maintain growth. Thanks to this move by Mercedes-Benz, Su Min was able to meet the 150,000-yuan Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

It is obviously not enough to rely on the entry-level A-Class to boost sales. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213), which is facing a replacement, and the new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which was launched last year, also have terminal discounts of about 90,000 yuan. Even the new GLC, which was launched in April this year, started with a discount of over 30,000 yuan the following month, and then gradually expanded it to more than 50,000 yuan.

However, it couldn't keep falling like this, so Mercedes-Benz began to save itself.

Recently, Beijing Benz's two major vehicle manufacturing plants have been exposed to suspension of production. Among them, the NGCC plant in Daxing, Beijing will suspend production for more than one month. The Shunyi plant, which was only completed and opened in 2020, will also gradually join the suspension of production.

Beijing Benz is very clear that although the suspension of production will cause certain economic losses, they have no choice.

Giants save themselves

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class purchased by Su Min came from the Daxing NGCC factory.

Within the Beijing Benz system, the Daxing NGCC factory is the factory responsible for the largest number of products. The A-Class, C-Class, GLA-Class and corresponding energy-efficient models based on the Mercedes-Benz MFA front-wheel drive platform are all produced in this factory.

In the Mercedes-Benz product line, the A-Class and C-Class are relatively affordable. Because of this, the Daxing NGCC factory is known as the "entry car production base" of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Among them, the C-Class is one of the stable sales pillars of Mercedes-Benz. Since this year, monthly sales have basically stabilized at 13,000-14,000 units.

▲Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Due to the long shutdown time, the NGCC factory established a large-scale inventory for the C-class to ensure sales. For this reason, the remaining products have made certain sacrifices.

Beijing Benz said in a statement:

In accordance with the company's strategic deployment and production planning, we will conduct security inspections, maintenance or upgrades on some production lines and equipment in the near future to further improve production efficiency and prepare for the production of next-generation models.

What prompted Beijing Benz to make such a decision was the new-generation entry-level model brought by Mercedes-Benz on the eve of the Munich Auto Show – the CLA-class concept car.

▲Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class concept car

Källenius Källenius, chairman of the board of directors of Mercedes-Benz, said that the CLA-Class concept car supports 800V overcharging, which can increase the range by 400 kilometers in 15 minutes. "It is the pioneer of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles." Its mass production version will be available in 2024 and will be produced by the Daxing NGCC factory.

Yes, the Daxing NGCC factory stopped production this time to transform the production line of the MFA platform into the MMA platform.

The MMA platform is the second-generation platform planned for Mercedes-Benz's pure electric platform. It is targeted at mid-sized and compact models. The subsequent A-class and C-class will be produced based on the MMA platform.

Mercedes-Benz is eager to give birth to the "second child" of the MMA platform simply because the "boss" of EVA is not up to par.

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz and BAIC jointly announced that they would invest more than 11.9 billion yuan to build the most advanced factory in Mercedes-Benz's global production network, which later became the Beijing Benz Shunyi Factory.

The assembly line of the Shunyi plant is Mercedes-Benz's latest planned high-flexibility 40JPH assembly line, which can produce all passenger cars of Mercedes-Benz, including the EQS. In other words, the Shunyi plant can not only produce models on the FMA front-wheel drive platform and MRA rear-wheel drive platform, but also undertake the production of the EVA2 electric platform. In June last year, the factory also rolled out the new EQE, welcoming the 400th domestically produced Mercedes-Benz.

▲Mercedes-Benz EQE

It's a pity that no matter how strong the manufacturing capacity of this factory is, it is useless if the cars it builds cannot be sold.

In August this year, the total domestic sales of the four products EQE, EQC, EQB and EQA under the EVA platform did not exceed 1,700 units, of which the sales of the highest-selling EQE did not exceed 1,000 units; in May this year, Mercedes-Benz’s new EQE pure electric SUV After its launch, sales in the first month were only 1,533 units.

The continuous failure of products is the fundamental reason for the shutdown of Shunyi factory. Currently, there is only some routine equipment maintenance within the Shunyi factory.

The complete body of Mercedes-Benz pure electric vehicle

I have to admit that as the first domestic model to be developed based on the EVA pure electric platform, the Mercedes-Benz EQE has created the mid-to-large luxury electric market segment. The CLTC pure electric range of 752km also shows the world the excellent electronic control of Mercedes-Benz. ability.

It stands to reason that before switching to the true pure electric platform MB.EA, EQE will be the absolute main force of the transition platform EVA. However, the suspension of production at the Shunyi factory has placed a big question mark on the subsequent direction of this product.

In 2022, Beijing Benz revealed its future pure electric platform plans: "New generation luxury models" based on the MMA platform and "core luxury models" based on the MB.EA platform will be put into production in 2025.

It can be seen that the collapse of the EVA platform has forced the launch of the MMA platform forward by one year, and the MB.EA platform will also begin its layout in the near future. This large-scale pure electric platform will be produced at the Beijing Benz MRA factory.

This is the old factory of Beijing Benz. There are two MRA assembly lines, one is responsible for the production of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the other is responsible for the production of GLC – both are main sales models, which shows the importance of this factory. Since it is responsible for the production of main-selling models, the MRA factory can only be upgraded through gradual transformation.

In August this year, Kallenius stated at the shareholders' meeting that Mercedes-Benz's electric vehicle development plan has been delayed to a certain extent: the goal of achieving 50% of electric vehicle sales in 2025 will be achieved in 2026.

The failure of the EQ series is already a certainty. If MMA and MB.EA cannot come back, this goal may be postponed.

*At the request of the interviewee, Su Min’s name is changed in this article.


[1] Auto per person – People who were laid off by Japanese car companies are delivering express delivery

[2] Automotive Pixel-Beijing Benz halts production to survive labor pain period

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