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Ford Wants to Go Green in China

US maker says 25% of Chinese vehicles will be battery-based by 2020.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Ford plans to launch the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid in China sometime in 2017.

One in four of the vehicles Ford Motor Co. hope to sell in China by the end of the decade will use some form of battery-based powertrain, company officials said during the Beijing Motor Show.

Ford has already announced plans to invest $4.5 billion in its electrification program, CEO Mark Fields saying the goal is to have 13 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles in the Blue Oval and Lincoln line-ups by 2020.

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But China could become the maker’s largest market for these green vehicles, a shift that reflects government pressure at least as much as consumer demand in the world’s largest automotive market. Hoping to deal with endemic smog problems, Beijing regulators are using both carrot and stick – incentives and new mandates – to get the auto industry to ramp up production of battery-based vehicles.

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VW Electrifies Beijing with T-Prime Concept GTE

Show car hints at full-size SUV, and battery-based models to come.

by on Apr.25, 2016

The Volkswagen T-Prime Concept is the automaker's take on a battery-powered full size SUV.

At a time when the long-booming Chinese market is taking an unexpected tumble, two types of vehicles are propping up sales: SUVs and battery-electric vehicles. So, it’s either a mark of good planning, or an instance of especially good luck, that Volkswagen has driven into Beijing with a new concept vehicle that is both.

The Volkswagen T-Prime Concept is, at first glance, a large SUV, a likely hint as to what the German maker is getting ready to add to its ute-deficient line-up. But the Beijing Auto Show car is also a plug-in hybrid that underscores VW’s ongoing shift in focus from diesel to battery-electric technology.

Electrifying!

For the Chinese market, the combination could prove especially fortuitous. After long focusing on sedans and other traditional body styles, Chinese consumers have fallen madly, passionately in live with utility vehicles, their sales rising by more than 50% last year. Meanwhile, the leaders of the People’s Republic, desperate to deal with endemic smog problems, have decided to embrace electric propulsion with incentives that run as high as 114,000 RMB, or $17,500 per vehicle. (more…)

Lexus Debuts Third-Gen IS in Beijing

Latest iteration of the brand's entry-level car gets styling upgrades.

by on Apr.25, 2016

The next generation Lexus IS gets a substantive exterior update from its predecessor, but designers stopped just shy of a complete makeover.

It appears that the folks at Lexus know a good thing when they see it because the brand’s newly unveiled IS entry-level model gets an exterior makeover that borrows heavily from its predecessor and that was by design.

“Because the original styling of the current IS has proved so popular, Lexus has kept the essence of car’s exterior appearance intact,” the company noted at the debut of the new model at the Beijing Auto Show.

Auto Show News!

That said, the words “borrow” and “unchanged” aren’t the same. The third-generation model sees upgrades to the front fascia with new headlamps, large air intakes and a new take of the brand’s “spindle” grille. (more…)

Celebration Low-Key as Beijing Auto Show Opens

Chinese sales plunge, prices and profits under pressure.

by on Apr.25, 2016

Chinese biggest auto show of the year opened to international media on Monday.

Dozens of cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers are making their debut at the Beijing Auto Show today, everything from locally made battery-electric vehicles to Ford’s big F-150 Raptor pickup.

But the tone at the event is decidedly lower key than in the past, and for obvious reasons. This year marks the first time since the Chinese automotive market shifted into high gear at the beginning of the Millennium that sales are expected to grow at a single-digit pace.

Perspective!

And, after years of struggling to keep up with booming demand, even as they spent tens of billions of dollars opening up new plants, automakers now face the very real possibility that China could soon face a very different situation, something more common in Europe and North America: over-capacity.

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China’s LeEco LeSEE Could Hint at Upcoming Faraday Future EV

New battery sedan making debut at Beijing Motor Show.

by on Apr.22, 2016

Chinese EV start-up LeEco unveiled its LeSEE concept electric vehicle that will make its debut at the Beijing Auto Show next week.

Chinese battery-car start-up LeEco has given a first look at the new electric concept vehicle it plans to debut at the Beijing Auto Show this coming week. The show car, dubbed the LeSEE offers a strong hint of the production model to follow – but it may also offer a hint of what U.S. EV start-up Faraday Future will bring to market in 2018.

LeEco, which was cofounded by Chinese tech billionaire Jia Yueting, says that the LeSee is not only fully electric but that it also will be highly “connected,” and capable of “automated self-driving.”

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“When everyone is questioning us over our ability to develop a car like this and is laughing at us, we are still able to be here and show you this car,” declared Jia, during a preview of the LeSEE in Beijing. “I am so emotional,” he added. (more…)

Beijing Auto Show Puts Spotlight on SUVs

Demand for conventional passenger cars enters a rare slump.

by on Apr.21, 2016

Production of the new Jeep Renegade began this past week in Guangzhou.

It’s taken a little longer than in the U.S., but Chinese motorists are falling in love with the SUV – and that could be the salvation of a market suddenly in slowdown mode after more than 15 years of double-digit growth.

The Beijing Auto Show will serve as a showcase for an assortment of new vehicles this coming week, including a variety of sedans, coupes and minivans. But much of the attention is expected to be focused on the various SUVs – both in concept and production form – scheduled to debut there.

Auto Show News!

“The Chinese market is slowing down, with the exception of SUVs,” said Michael Dunne, a veteran Chinese industry analyst who now runs the strategic consulting firm Dunne Automotive.

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Bugatti Taps History Books for Latest Veyron

Maker revives “Black Bess” moniker for new supercar.

by on Apr.22, 2014

Bugatti unveiled the latest iteration of its Veyron supercar, the Black Bess, at the Beijing Auto Show.

China is the most lucrative car market in the world and it seems that more and more of the country’s wealthy are willing to plunk down huge amounts of money on an expensive vehicle.

So it’s not exactly a big surprise that Bugatti, which rumor has it preparing a whole new supercar for sale later in the decade, has elected to bring a new version of the Veyron to the Beijing Auto Show to entice a few customers to take a look at the car.

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The new version of the Veyron – dubbed Black Bess – is part of Bugatti’s Legends Series, and will be limited to three examples and is based on a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Takes Aim at BMW with New Concept Coupe

Beijing show car should reach production as the new Mercedes MLC.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Mercedes-Benz all-new Concept Coupe SUV is a “four-door coupe” that comes across, visually, as the love child of a Mercedes CLS and the ML sport-utility vehicle

It’s been a busy week for Mercedes-Benz. Fresh on the heels of introducing an all-new S63 AMG Coupe at the New York International Auto Show, the maker has yet another high-level model making its debut in Beijing this week.

And while it’s officially called the New Concept Coupe, you can be quite certain that this prototype will be returning in production form in the near future as a pretty much direct competitor to the likes of the BMW X6. It’s expected to be dubbed the Mercedes-Benz MLC.

Auto Show News!

It’s part of a full-on product assault from the tri-star brand which plans to roll out an astounding 30 new vehicles between now and the end of the decade, an average of one per quarter through 2020, according to Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. (more…)

Beijing Auto Show Swarmed by Makers’ Newest Designs

The 14th annual show reveals new vehicles, concepts, strategies.

by on Apr.21, 2014

The 14th annual Beijing Auto Show is underway, and it’s got plenty for everyone, from the return of the Ford Escort to the new Mercedes-Benz Coupe Concept, the plug-in Bentley Mulsanne to the 400 hp VW Golf R 400.

Here’s a handy guide to our complete coverage. Make sure to keep coming back as we add more stories! (more…)

VW Plugging Into Chinese EV Market

Maker promises to invest $27 bil over 5 years.

by on Apr.20, 2014

VW will launch the e-Golf and an assortment of other battery-based vehicles in China.

With Beijing’s traffic choked roads as a backdrop, Volkswagen announced a major initiative to put tens, perhaps 100s of thousands of electric vehicles on the road in China before the end of the current decade.

VW chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn said VW and its key Chinese partners were prepared to spend as much as $27 billion in the next five years on electric vehicles in China.

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“The Volkswagen Group is once again assuming a pioneering role in China and launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history”, s said. Martin Winterkorn,

The initiative gets underway with the launch this year of the Volkswagen brand’s electric Up! and e-Golf models in China.

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