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Daimler Launches EV Only Brand in China

POSTED BY admin ON 24 April 2012

Denza is the name of Daimler’s latest passenger car brand. Denza is an electric vehicle only brand jointly owned by Daimler and BYD under the Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) joint venture company, a 50:50 joint venture between Daimler and BYD.

Ulrich Walker, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BDNT and Chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia unveiled the car today at Auto China 2012. He said “Even before the birth of DENZA, Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) has created a very special ‘first’: When Daimler and BYD made their partnership official in the spring of 2010, they founded the first joint venture in China dedicated solely to New Energy Vehicle. The Joint Venture is making extremely positive progress with the first prototypes of the future production model already out on the streets. We are very much on track with the plans for our DENZA vehicle.”

The first Denza model is scheduled to be launched in 2013. The concept Denza car on display features business class airplane like seats, complete with reclining seats, reading lights and ambient lighting.

The one design feature that Ulrich Walker was keen to point out is the integration between the traction battery and vehicle, done in such a way that doesn’t intrude cabin space. The concept car features rear hinged rear doors for easy access.

After the launch, CBT caught up with Ulrich Walker. When asked if the Denza brand will be marketed overseas, Walker said no, as the Denza is meant for only Chinese domestic customers. On the question of where will the Denza be produced, Walker said it will be made by BYD, but he was keen to stress that this will be an all new production line, with Daimler production philosophy and quality standards.

Traditionally, Mercedes-Benz usually roll out their latest technology on the S-class, although the nature of EVs mean that a small car is a better candidate. When the new B-class was launched, Dr Thomas Weber, member of the board of management responsible for Mercedes-Benz passenger car development said “No model change in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop.”

It was only natural to expect Daimler to roll out a production version of the company’s EV on a new generation small car like that B-class. When asked why this was not the case, Walker said the Denza is a positioned upmarket, and is not a common car. Plus, it is built based on Daimler’s quality standards.

Again, it was a case of he answered the question, but at the same time didn’t really answered it.

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