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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…)

Ford Escort Makes its Return in Beijing

No plans for U.S. revival.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Ford revives the Escort for the Chinese market.

One of Ford’s most familiar – and longest running – nameplates is about to make its return, the Detroit-based maker unveiling an all-new Escort during the Beijing Motor Show.

For those who might have already forgotten, Escort was Ford’s once-popular compact, introduced in 1968 in Europe and 1981 here in the States. It continued in production through 2002, when it was replaced in Europe by the Focus which followed across the Atlantic a year later.


The new Chinese Ford Escort will serve to fill a gap in the compact, or C-segment of that country’s booming automotive market – which now accounts for 25% of Chinese car sales — and the automaker hopes Escort will deliver some added momentum in a bid to catch up to rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen. Ford was a latecomer to the Chinese market but has experienced spectacular growth there over the last couple years.


BMW Launching New Brand in China

But Zhi Nuo brand might eventually go global.

by on Apr.08, 2013

According to some reports, BMW may use the X1 as its first product for the new Zhi Nuo brand.

BMW is the latest global automaker to announce plans to create a special sub-brand for the Chinese market – but the German luxury giant is also eyeing its start-up as a possible source of exports.

We should hear more about the new Zhi Nuo brand at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month. BMW and its Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive are expected to introduced their first new model there, a version of the old 3-Series.

Your High Horsepower Source!

Since the Chinese automotive market began opening up a dozen years ago, it has been flooded by a Who’s-Who of foreign manufacturers. In turn, domestic makers have struggled to hang on, most of the successful ones by entering into joint ventures required by law of global manufacturers.  But under pressure from the government, these JV operations have begun creating special local brands of their own.


Despite Weakening Economy, Chinese Car Sales Still Solid

Chinese airline to start in-flight car sales.

by on Mar.12, 2013

VW and GM remain locked in a battle for dominance in the booming Chinese market.

Surging global stock markets slipped back this week as China released surprisingly weak economic data – but one sector of the vast Asian nation’s economy remains strong, Chinese car sales surging 40% for the first two months of 2013 after an unexpectedly weak performance last year.

For some carmakers, Chinese demand appears to be surging as they bring on new products, while for others, it is taking new discounts to help bolster sales.

But industry analysts continue to worry about what may happen as government regulators come under increasing pressure from both the public and a new cadre of Communist Party leaders to tighten environmental regulations in the wake of record pollution levels in the capital Beijing and other parts of the country. As recently reported, stricter automotive emission rules – possibly including a press for more battery cars – are being actively considered.

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The 40% year-to-date increase in overall Chinese car sales comes despite a drop in February as the Chinese celebrated the Lunar New Year, a week-long holiday during which little or no business is transacted across China.


Chinese Auto Exports Ramping Up

Canada to get Honda Fit, but nothing planned for U.S. – yet.

by on Dec.22, 2011

Honda plans to export the Fit subcompact from China to Canada -- at least temporarily.

The Honda Fit delivers the best value of any model on the market, declares Consumer Reports.

With the domestic market starting to show signs of a slowdown perhaps it should come as no surprise that China’s automakers are ramping up plans to export product to other parts of Asia, Europe and now, even North America.

Honda will soon begin shipping the subcompact Fit from its plant in southern China to Canada – though there are currently no plans to bring any of those products into the U.S.  That’s not necessarily surprising as that could generate a harsh response considering China this month said it plans to enact stiff no tariffs on American-made automobiles.

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Honda isn’t alone.  Mercedes-Benz and BMW have also announced plans to export product from China.  And some of that country’s local makers are openly laying out plans for a global assault – including the battery car maker BYD, which recently opened up an office in Los Angeles.


Daimler Earnings Jump 30%, While Nissan Minimizes Impact of March Quake

German maker hits new quarterly record - but investors worried by results.

by on Jul.27, 2011

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche promises a great year - but investors worry about a Chinese market slowdown.

Credit China.  That’s the message from two major automakers as they report earnings from opposite ends of the globe.  For Daimler AG, a worldwide resurgence in luxury car demand – especially in the fast-growing Chinese market helped it come in with an all-time quarterly record that was up 30% year-over-year.

The numbers weren’t nearly as good for Nissan, but that was no surprise considering the devastating hit the Japanese industry, overall, has taken since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 on March 11 and left the industry in a shambles.  If anything, the 10% decline in net income was less than many had anticipated, while revenues – also driven by China – were up markedly.

The Inside Story!

“Our rapid recovery from the natural disasters in March once again shows the power of Nissan in responding effectively and decisively to crisis,” said Nissan President and CEO, Carlos Ghosn. “Nissan’s performance in the first quarter, despite strong headwinds such as foreign exchange and rising raw material costs, demonstrates our potential to deliver the goals of our recently announced Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan.”