Though makers of all sorts of luxury goods had been flocking to China to take advantage of a growing affluent class there, last year the Communist Party started cracking down on what it called extravagant and conspicuous consumption. McLaren Automotive’s regional director for China said that the British maker of supercars hasn’t seen any recovery yet. “The visibility that used to be an asset — we used to be okay just a few years ago — now it’s not really a plus,” Mirko Bordiga, said at the recent Guangzhou auto show. “There are many issues that are in the market that doesn’t really let us hope that the market is growing that much.”
The automotive industry lobby group China Association of Automobile Manufacturers is at loggerheads with Beijing over a rule change proposal that would ease restrictions on foreign ownership of auto manufacturing ventures. The fear, according to CAAM Secretary General Dong Yang, is that should the restraining bolt be removed, the local industry would lose control of the joint ventures they currently hold, if not the Chinese auto industry itself.
China is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and on Thursday the Obama administration announced that the United States will help the Chinese government implement stricter emissions standards on cars and trucks. The announcement was made at the end of Vice President Joe Biden’s state visit to China. Under the agreement, the U.S. promised to provide China with technical assistance in implementing particulate regulations known as China VI.
“These standards, when implemented, will have significant air quality and climate benefits and reduce vehicle fuel use,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House. Using bilateral and multilateral diplomacy is a key part of Pres. Obama’s Climate Action Plan, aimed at controlling greenhouse gases, of which the U.S. and China are the world’s two biggest emitters.
Contributing to China’s pollution issues is the rapid growth of the country’s vehicle fleet. At the end of 2012, there were 120 passenger cars in China and according to the Chinese government, that figure will grow to over 200 million by 2020. To address increased pollution some of China’s larger cities have restricted new vehicle sales. The capital city of Beijing will have as many as 6 million private cars by 2015.
China is currently implementing the country’s fourth stage of emissions standards, which reduce sulfur content in diesel fuel down to 50 parts per million, compared to the U.S. standard of 15 ppm and the European Union’s 10 parts per million limit.
An unnamed U.S. official said that it is significant that China wants help jump starting the sixth stage of standards while it is still formulating implementation of the fifth stage. “The United States is interested in moving to China to six as soon as possible,” the official said. “It is a clear signal that China wants to move forward in an accelerated way that will have far-reaching impacts on air quality and public health.”
The U.S. EPA and Dept. of Energy will help their Chinese equivalents with modeling, testing and research aimed at developing the standards.
Also part of the agreement will be a reduction in the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerants, and a joint study aimed at phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in both countries.
Remember when Lincoln had cars with names such as Mark, Continental, Zephyr, Town Car and Versailles? Alas, unless you want to own a body-on-frame SUV from the newly renamed Lincoln Motor Company, your choices begin with MK, and end with a letter that somehow corresponds to the model in question.
Should Ford’s VP of Global Marketing Jim Farley have his way, however — and you happen to also be a resident of China — the next Lincoln to be sold may have a real name upon its backside once more.
Is the future of motoring in the global marketplace in the good hands of the Golf, Forte and Fiesta? Not if you’re Ford’s vice president of Global Marketing, Jim Farley. In his mind, it’ll be a page from the 1991 Explorer’s successful playbook that will help his employer gain market and mind share the world over.
McLaren, like many makers of luxury goods, is having a difficult time moving their fine wares in China as of late, all thanks to a crackdown against lavish spending begun last year by the country’s Communist government.
Fiat debuted the Ottimo at the 2013 Guangzhou Auto show. The five-door hatchback is based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart and Fiat Viaggio sedan and it will be assembled alongside the Viaggio by the joint venture between Fiat and Guangzhou Automobile Group, doubling production at that plant in southern China.
Bottlenecks are bad things to experience. Around 70,000 years ago, the Toba supervolcano eruption reduced humanity to anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs — thus creating a genetic bottleneck — alongside a global cooling event concurrent with the Last Glacial Period.
For automakers in the United States and their North American supply chain, their Toba event is coming.
In our last installment of this particular ‘slap, a reader had a question about aftermarket wheels. The solution was rather simple, the wheels discussed were not hub-centric. But I also mentioned a horrible “death wobble” problem with my aftermarket reproduction SVT Cobra wheels on my Fox Cougar, solution TBD. It was a big problem until… (Read More…)
Remember the Fiat Viaggio, the Dodge Dart clone that was supposed to be the brand’s breakthrough product in China? The compact sedan has missed its sales targets by as much as 60 percent, and now Fiat is hoping that local production of the Jeep Cherokee can help fill some of their plant’s capacity and capitalize on China’s insatiable demand for crossovers.
When one thinks of General Motors’ relationship with China, Buick flashes into the mind like a brake light in the Beijing smog. Sometimes, Cadillac comes up, as well. However, with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony Stewart, CEO Dan Akerson is planning to aggressively push Chevrolet through the choking air, and into as many Chinese garages as he can find.
Just in time for Halloween, NBC News’ China-centric news blog “Behind the Wall” is running a piece on the removal of a Chinese “Zombie car.” The car, actually a small blue van, was left in a roadside parking lot just over a year ago and has since been consumed by a voracious ivy plant. When photos of the plant covered car became an internet sensation earlier this year, the police became involved but had little luck tracing the current owner. Eventually the decision was made to impound the vehicle, but by then the vines were so thick that local authorities determined it would be easier to haul the entire mess away in one fell swoop. The end result makes an interesting photo. (Read More…)
China has renewed government subsidies for three more years for private buyers of electric vehicles and plugin hybrids, but contrary to some observers’ predictions, incentives for the purchasers of conventional gasoline-electric hybrids have not been renewed. The national government in Beijing said that it would provide up to 60,000 yuan ($9,800) towards the purchase of an all-electric vehicle and as much as 35,000 yuan for each “near all-electric” plug-in vehicle. The purpose is ostensibly to reduce air pollution but the policy is also expected to benefit Chinese car makers like BYD. (Read More…)
PSA, parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, is said to be exploring a partnership with China’s Dongfeng, as Peugeot looks for ways to strengthen itself amid weak sales and a perpetually sputtering European car market.
What you see above is a picture of the Chinese “Dong Feng 21D,” or “DF-21D.” A new Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile being produced and fielded by the People’s Republic of China.