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China’s BYD Ready to Launch into U.S. Market – Really.

Long-delayed debut could come in 2015, maker insists.

by on Jan.07, 2014

One of BYD's latest models, the F3R.

A New Year and an old promise.  Once again, China’s BYD says it is ready to finally enter the U.S. market.  It’s the same thing the maker has been claiming since showing off its products at the North American International Auto Show in 2010. But while the company will be notably absent from the Detroit show this year, a senior executive claims it is finally ready to make the jump across the Pacific.

The Chinese maker, which has the backing of U.S. mega-investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, plans to introduce four models into the U.S. by the end of 2015, according to Stella Li, who oversees operations in the States.

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But don’t expect the maker to simply come in and undercut the competition, notably “value-priced” brands like Hyundai and Kia, she told the Bloomberg News Service.

“BYD has become more fashionable and we have improved our design and safety. We don’t want to compete on price anymore, but on quality and innovation,” Li said, during an interview of Shenzhen, China.

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GM China Chief Kevin Wale Stepping Down

Supply chain boss Socia to take on Asian assignment.

by on Sep.12, 2012

GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale will retire after nearly 40 years with the maker.

General Motors’ China chief is stepping down – and at a time when an unexpected economic slowdown in the massive Asian market threatens to throw the Chinese auto industry into turmoil.

No specific reason was given for 57-year-old Kevin Wale’s decision to retire though he has been working for the maker for nearly four decades, starting out in his native Australia with GM’s Holden subsidiary at the age of 20.

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Wale will be succeeded by Bob Socia, who has been serving since 2009 as GM’s director of global purchasing and supply chain.

“Kevin has been instrumental in strengthening our foundation in the largest vehicle market in the world,” Tim Lee, GM vice president for global manufacturing and president of GM’s International Operations, said in a statement.

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Ford Plans to Double Capacity in China

Will invest $760 mil in new factory.

by on Apr.19, 2012

Ford showed the Start Concept at Beijing, last year.

Hoping to catch up after a late start in what is now the world’s largest automotive market, Ford Motor Co. plans to invest $760 million to build a new assembly plant in China.

The new facility will boost the maker’s total capacity in China to 1.2 million vehicles a year and bring its total investment in the world’s most populous nation to $4.9 billion.  Even so, it will leave Ford significantly short if its eventual goal is to catch up to Detroit rival General Motors – which last year set an all-time sales record of 2.5 million vehicles in China.

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“So far, Ford’s investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in fifty years,” said Joe Hinrichs, the maker’s president of Asia, Pacific and African operations.

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GM Sets Another Record in China

But there are signs pace of growth in world’s largest car market is slowing.

by on Jul.05, 2011

The Chevrolet Captiva is one of GM's newest offerings in the Chinese market.

General Motors set another record in the booming Chinese market, selling 1.27 million vehicles there during the first half of 2011.

That’s good news for the Detroit maker, which last year became the first to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China during a single year.  But GM’s 5.3% sales increase for the first half of 2011 marks a significant slowdown from much of the past decade, when annual sales jumps regularly measured well into the double-digits.

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Analysts warn of new restrictions on vehicle ownership in traffic-snarled cities like Beijing, as well as the Chinese government’s decision to end subsidies for minivans – and increasing fuel prices.

On the positive side, the boom in automotive demand that has largely been limited to the Pacific Coast of China is now beginning to spread into the nation’s less economically advanced interior.

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Car Sales Unexpectedly Sliding, China Opts for U.S.-Style Cash-for-Clunkers Program

Incentive program includes buses and trucks.

by on Jun.08, 2011

China has become the world's largest automotive market, cities like Shanghai choked with traffic.

With the nation’s automotive market showing some unexpected signs of weakness, nervous bureaucrats have rolled out an incentive effort loosely modeled upon America’s controversial Cash-for-Clunkers program.

After years of double-digit sales gains, what is now the world’s largest automotive market posted 14% decline in sales last month compared to April.  But whether that was a temporary aberration or signs of a longer-term slowdown remains to be seen.

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Either way, it is creating deep worries in a country where automotive demand has helped fuel a booming economy.  And industry leaders are fretting about the billions they are spending to expand capacity to match earlier sales expectations.

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