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The Globe and Mail

Mercedes-Benz opens design studio in China

Mercedes-Benz China President and CEO Klaus Maier adjusts the car window of a Smart car during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 14, 2011.

Jason Lee/Reuters/Jason Lee/Reuters

Mercedes-Benz on Thursday opened an advanced design studio in Beijing, the first premium auto maker to do so in the world's largest auto market.

The 1,000 square-metre studio will contribute to the design of Mercedes-Benz vehicles along with the existing facilities in Germany, the United States, Italy and Japan, a senior Daimler AG executive said.

"Design influences from this region will become more important in the cars of tomorrow," Ulrich Walker, chairman and chief executive for Daimler Northeast Asia, told reporters on the sidelines of an event to mark the studio's opening.

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In the first half, Mercedes-Benz sold 95,030 cars in China, up 59 per cent year-on-year, outpacing a 5.8 per cent gain in the country's car market.

Annual sales in China are expected to rise more than 20 per cent this year, Mr. Walker said, and to exceed 300,000 units by 2015, when it is expected to be Mercedes-Benz' largest market globally.

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