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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.


Infiniti Inspiration QX Sport Concept Sets Stage for Upcoming QX70 Makeover

Inspiring a new look for the sporty SUV.

by on Apr.26, 2016

The Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept is a wee bit smaller than the QX70 it's expected to replace.

Officially, it’s just a concept car, but one doesn’t have to work hard to imagine that the new Infiniti Inspiration QX Sport Concept is little more than a thinly disguised version of the next-generation QX70.

True, there are a few of the classic concept details, like the undersized mirrors and oversized tires. But the grille features the latest Infiniti touches, as do the LED headlamps and vertical air scoops. So, too, the “floating” roof, supported by blacked-out B and C-pillars.

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“The QX Sport Inspiration is a statement of intent from Infiniti, showcasing a daring design philosophy and a demonstration of our capabilities in the mid-size SUV segment, said Infiniti President Roland Krueger.


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.


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.


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.

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“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.


Lexus Teases New IS Ahead of Beijing Debut

New model will "bring exciting breakthroughs," maker claims.

by on Apr.20, 2016

The teaser image suggests the new Lexus IS will adopt the brand's L-finesse design language.

Lexus is the latest automaker to tease its upcoming announcement at the Beijing Auto Show, where it will reveal an all-new version of the entry-luxury IS line.

One of the oldest models in its line-up, the fourth-generation Lexus IS will “bring exciting breakthroughs,” the maker suggested in a terse statement. Among other things, it is expected to adopt a more dramatic design than the current model based on the maker’s new L-finesse styling language.

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“The bold evolution of design with greatly enhanced visual impact will absolutely ignite people’s desire to put their hands on the steering wheel,” declared the breathless release.


VW Teases “Advanced Luxury” Battery SUV Ahead of Beijing Debut

Show car would get 31 miles per charge.

by on Apr.18, 2016

VW hints the Beijing SUV Concept will be sportier, more performance-oriented than its other SUVs.

Volkswagen will take another step in its apparent shift from diesel to battery-electric propulsion when it pulls the wraps off a new “advanced luxury SUV” at the Beijing Auto Show this coming week.

While the German maker is holding many of the details for the official unveiling, its offering some teaser images and a few intriguing details. Among other things, it notes the Beijing Concept will deliver more than 30 miles of range in pure battery mode. It also will feature a high-tech, “lounge-style” interior reminiscent of the BUDD-e minivan concept introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last January.

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While Volkswagen officials insist the company is not about to abandon diesel technology – with oil burners still accounting for about half of VW’s European sales – the ongoing emissions scandal seems to be encouraging a more rapid adoption of alternative propulsion, with an emphasis on electrification.


Infiniti Inspired with New Midsize SUV Concept

QX Sport Inspiration Concept set for Beijing debut.

by on Apr.15, 2016

A hint of what's to come: the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept will likely replace the QX70.

Now that it has its naming structure down pat, Infiniti has been working on filling up its line-up with an assortment of new cars, trucks and crossovers, and the next big entry into the family is scheduled to take a bow at the Beijing Motor Show later month.

While it isn’t much in the way of details, this teaser image of the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept gives us a good idea of what will follow in the form of a replacement for the Japanese luxury brand’s current QX70 model.

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“The QX Sport Inspiration expresses a power and purpose that is uniquely Infiniti,” said Infiniti executive design director Alfonso Albaisa. “With a flowing, natural aesthetic, this concept demonstrates how Infiniti can offer something new and exciting with future QX SUV models.”


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…)

Chinese Auto Market Continues Losing Steam

U.S. likely to outpace China for 2012.

by on Sep.11, 2012

The Geely Gleagle at the recent Beijing Motor Show.

It’s been the engine that helped prop up many an automaker through the industry’s recent hard times, continuing to help European manufacturers overcome their problems at home. But there are growing signs that China’s once booming auto industry is fast losing momentum – like much of the rest of that nation’s economy.

China remains the world’s largest automotive market but data released today by the China Association of Auto Manufacturers suggests it won’t even keep pace with the U.S. market this year.  After an unexpected dip during the first quarter and a tepid recovery during the late spring and early summer, August automotive sales rose a meager 3.7%.

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That’s well below what most analysts had been forecasting – and the equivalent of a major downturn considering that for much of the past decade China’s car market grew at well into a double-digit pace, some years topping 70%.


Lincoln Heading to China

Ford takes first step towards going global.

by on Aug.28, 2012

CEO Alan Mulally is targeting big growth in China for both the Ford and Lincoln brands.

Hoping to give its long-troubled luxury brand some new momentum – and much-needed economy of scale – Ford Motor Co. will launch Lincoln into the Chinese market in 2014.

The announcement – which confirms a report on earlier this month – will come as a critical step for Lincoln, once one of the most powerful luxury nameplates.  Even though the century-old Lincoln has never been sold in China, Ford research suggests it has significant potential in what is rapidly coming to rival the U.S. as the world’s largest high-line automotive market.

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“Lincoln’s introduction to China represents a significant step forward in Ford’s aggressive growth strategy for the country,” Dave Schoch, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, said during an event at a converted temple in Beijing.