Cliff Banks - The Banks Report

Chinese Retailer Goes International

June 30, 2015 — Lei Shing Hong recently acquired 15 Mercedes Benz dealerships in Germany following its purchase of two Mercedes stores in Australia outbidding other groups including one from the U.S. looking to establish a presence there.

The world’s largest Mercedes Benz dealer is Lei Shing Hong Ltd, a Chinese company with approximately 180 Mercedes dealerships in Asia, Germany and Australia.

Last week, Stern Auto, a division of Lei Shing Hong acquired 15 dealerships in Germany from Daimler AG. Last year, Lei Shing Hong acquired a Mercedes store in Erfut. Lei Shing officials say they acquired the stores in order to learn how to operate in a mature market preparing for when the Chinese automotive retail industry begins to rely more on fixed operations and used car sales.

In March, the Chinese automotive retailer also acquired two Mercedes dealerships in Sydney Australia outbidding an Australian firm and a U.S.-based dealer group looking to establish a presence there.

Meanwhile, the German sale is part of a plan announced by Daimler AG last year to sell anywhere from 40 to 56 of its nearly 160 dealerships that it controls in Germany in order to increase profitability.

The move is another in a long list in which manufacturers have learned selling cars direct to consumers is a losing a proposition.

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