BAIC to Develop New Car Models Using Old Mercedes Benz Platform
China's BAIC Motor Group has gained approval from partner Daimler to develop new models using an old Mercedes-Benz E-class platform.
BAIC's first model would likely be the production version of the midsize sedan D80, which is set to hit the market in 2018, Automotive News reported citing Beijing-based website Internet Info Agency. An SUV and multipurpose vehicle (MPV) models are also in the pipeline.
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The new Mercedes-Benz models will feature powertrains made by Daimler thanks to its passenger vehicle joint venture with BAIC in Beijing, Car Scoops reported. It will also include a 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, a 3.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
BAIC's old Mercedes-Benz models will be offered under Senova brand, while the MPVs will be marketed under the Weiwang brand.
BAIC sold 232,000 light vehicles in the first seven months of the year, up 43 percent from the same period in 2015.
Furthermore, last month, BAIC also established a sales division in Mexico and started selling cars imported from China. The Beijing-based firm targets to sell at least 5,000 vehicles per year by 2018.
With the initiative, BAIC has joined a slate of foreign mobile makers who have started operating in Northern America's southernmost nation to enter the United States and Latin America. It also plans to produce gasoline-powered cars and electric vehicles in the country.
So far, there will only be three models available in the Mexican market including the D20 (both hatchback and sedan models) and the X25, which is a small crossover based on the D20. Three other models are set to be launched by the end of this year.