MEXICO CITY - The Mercedes-Benz A class will be sold through some Chrysler de Mexico dealerships.
The new head of Mercedes-Benz Mexico, Kristian Poll, said the plan is an example of how Mercedes can use Chrysler's infrastructure in Mexico now that DaimlerChrysler AG has been created. Mercedes will use Chrysler de Mexico's parts distribution to deliver parts anywhere in the country within 24 hours. Trucks that once dropped off Chrysler cars in Veracruz and returned empty to Mexico City now will carry Mercedes-Benz cars from ports back to Mexico City. The companies also will share a vehicle-preparation center in Toluca.
Poll spoke at this month's Mexico City auto show. He has taken over from the retiring Fritz Korte. Next year, Chrysler and Mercedes operations in Mexico will be combined under a new organization, Grupo DaimlerChrysler.
Other notes from the Mexico City auto show:
Honda plans to assemble four-cylinder engines for the Accords now being built in Mexico. Honda had built about 6,500 Accords in Mexico through November of this year and expects to build 10,000 in 1999. Honda closed the year with 40 dealerships in Mexico, twice the total from a year earlier. Sales have more than doubled, to 11,642. Honda expects a 50 percent gain in sales next year.
Jaguar surpassed its sales goal for 1998 well before the end of the year. The company had hoped to sell 60 cars in Mexico but had delivered 100 through November. It expects a 20 percent increase in 1999. The new S-Type, which goes on sale in spring, will become Jaguar's top seller, said Macello Leite, director general of Jaguar Cars in Mexico.
The Audi TT will arrive in dealerships in June and sell for about $45,000. The initial allocation is 140 cars. 'We can sell more, but Germany is not giving us more,' said Carlos Fernandez, general director of Audi's Mexico operations. Audi expects to sell about 1,050 cars in Mexico this year - more than a five-fold increase from 1997.
Nissan Mexicana trimmed production of the Sentra by 13,000 units during the fourth quarter as demand softened throughout Latin America and North America. Plants in Mexico were closed periodically to keep production in check. Similar cutbacks are possible in 1999, said a spokesman.
DaimlerChrysler AG is increasing truck production in Mexico and phasing out production of C-class and E-class cars. Mercedes-Benz Mexico has been building about four cars a day, from kits, in Santiago Tianguistenco. Production will end by the end of April. The DaimlerChrysler merger allows Mexico's local-production requirements to be met by the former Chrysler Corp. operations in Mexico; Mercedes no longer has to build cars there to sell there.
Output of Freightliner trucks will increase from about 65 daily to 100 next year. Most of them will be exported to the United States.