BEIJING -- Top executives at Daimler AG have signaled growing confidence that the automaker's blistering growth in China will continue.
Daimler can expand production capacity at its Beijing plant to 350,000 vehicles a year if customer demand calls for it, said Rene Reif, head of manufacturing at Beijing Benz Automotive Co.
Daimler is expanding the plant before it starts making a long-wheelbase version of the Mercedes-Benz C class, a new car tailored to China.
The factory built 120,000 Mercedes cars in 2013. It makes mainly E- and C-class sedans and soon will add the GLA compact SUV.
By the end of 2014, production capacity in Beijing will be about 140,000 units, Reif said.
For the first three months of 2014, Mercedes sales soared nearly 48 percent year on year to 67,058 units.
In March, Daimler's joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. announced plans to spend $1.4 billion to expand the Beijing plant.
At the time, the company estimated that it would be able to produce 200,000 vehicles in 2015.
The China push forms part of Daimler's global expansion plan.