By Andrew Ganz
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 @ 8:53 am
 
Mercedes-Benz's global sales chief says that he hopes the automaker's well-established United States dealers will look to the rapidly-growing Chinese market for their next showrooms.

The automaker's top sales executive, Joachim Schmidt, told Automotive News that the automaker is opening a new showroom in China every week, a pace dealers in other markets cannot fathom. The Chinese market is so strong, in fact, that Mercedes' sport-oriented AMG division opened its first standalone showroom in Beijing earlier this month.


While Mercedes-Benz itself would like to get in on the action with a few corporate-owned dealerships, Schmidt says that regulatory roadblocks are unsurmountable for the German automaker.

"It is too strange, and it is quite complicated. That's why we decided not to become a dealer."

However, the automaker's most successful North American dealers are finding similar challenges.

Penske Automotive Group CEO Roger Penske told the industry journal that his firm, the second-largest dealership in North America, is having a hard time making a business case in China.

"We haven't found the scale," Penske said. "Mercedes would be a great brand to go to China with, or any luxury brand for that matter, but at the moment we have not found it would meet our capital."