The Truth About Cars » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:12:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Back Home Again In Indiana: Mercedes-Benz To Move R-Class Production To Its Old U. S. Hometown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:13:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989242 As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up […]

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mercedes-benz-r-class-courtesy carnewschina.com

As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up until shortly before the closure of their South Bend operations in 1963.

Yesterday it was announced that Mercedes-Benz was returning to South Bend to build the R-Class crossover at the AM General plant, producer of the military Humvee and the late GM Hummer. Mercedes-Benz once moved their headquarters from South Bend to New Jersey and soon to the South (Atlanta) and now R-Class production is moving from the South (Alabama) to South Bend. Got it?

Slow sales of the R-Class in the U.S caused Mercedes-Benz to stop offering it here in 2012 but they continued to assemble the crossover in their Vance, Alabama plant for export to China. The cavernous R-Class is naturally a great fit for chauffeur-driven Chinese consumers.

Demand for Mercedes SUVs has put a strain on their Alabama factory so the automaker chose the AM General plant to build up to 10,000 R-Classes annually beginning this summer. The facility is also located a few miles from Elkhart, Indiana and its dozens of recreational vehicle factories so an experienced assembly-line talent pool is readily available. It took the UAW about 20 seconds after the Benz press release to announce that the AM General plant is already under their control, leaving the Alabama facility as the only non-union Mercedes-Benz factory in the world.

The only remaining question is: if Benz brings back the high-performance R63, will its AMG tag now stand now for AM General?

 

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Holden Retaining Name For Next-Gen FWD Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/holde-retaining-commodore-name-next-gen-fwd-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/holde-retaining-commodore-name-next-gen-fwd-sedan/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:02:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985650 Holden will retain the Commodore nameplate for its next-generation large sedan, even though the new “Commodore” will bear no resemblance to the large, rear-drive car currently sold in Australia. Just-Auto is reporting that the new Commodore will be a front-drive vehicle based on the next generation Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. While Holden previously stated that the […]

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Holden will retain the Commodore nameplate for its next-generation large sedan, even though the new “Commodore” will bear no resemblance to the large, rear-drive car currently sold in Australia.

Just-Auto is reporting that the new Commodore will be a front-drive vehicle based on the next generation Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. While Holden previously stated that the new Commodore would be built in Australia, the end of Holden’s manufacturing operations has now made it necessary to import it from another location. 

Some reports have suggested that China may be the location of the Commodore’s assembly. According to previous reports, the new, Chinese-made Commodore would have a standard 4-cylinder engine, with an optional V6. Though it would be close in size to the current car, it would look more European, with coupe-like styling rather than the current car’s brawny, slab-sided proportions. Holden is currently importing the Insignia VXR as a high-performance model, and perhaps as a test case for a future Commodore.

 

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Tesla Share Price Plummets After Musk’s NAIAS 2015 Visit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984225 Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s. Business Insider adds […]

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Elon Musk

Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s.

Business Insider adds that another bombshell dropped at the start of his presentation likely helped to take the wind out of the sails: sales of the automaker’s Model S in China were down in Q4 2014. Musk put the blame on perception among Chinese consumers regarding the charging infrastructure for Tesla’s sole model, explaining that not only had the issue been handled, but that the Supercharger network was expanding; the rate of said expansion, however, is slower than that of Europe or the United States.

Further into the presentation, Musk proclaimed that Tesla would sell “a few million” vehicles by 2025 by going for volume over being a niche luxury player, likely built on the back of the upcoming Model 3. Meanwhile, the Model X due sometime this year is already sold out for the entire year despite the company’s best efforts to manage demand, such as steering would-be X owners into the driver’s seat of the S.

Finally, Musk urged the majors in the audience to continue their investments into electrification, stating that they all need to do more to change the public’s perceptions on EVs and hybrids.

Since the plunge, Tesla shares have recovered some of their lost value, closing $191.87/share Thursday afternoon.

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China-Only Ford Taurus Emerges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/china-ford-taurus-emerges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/china-ford-taurus-emerges/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 20:47:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=970465 Back in the spring of 2013, our sources told us that a CD-based Taurus was under development, but promptly sent to the garbage dump after its design bombed its consumer clinics. Marketing brass at Ford decided to kill the Taurus, due to dissatisfaction with the way it looked, and the shrinking mid-size car market. But […]

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Back in the spring of 2013, our sources told us that a CD-based Taurus was under development, but promptly sent to the garbage dump after its design bombed its consumer clinics. Marketing brass at Ford decided to kill the Taurus, due to dissatisfaction with the way it looked, and the shrinking mid-size car market. But the large sedan will live on in China.

The sedan, shown above, is said to be exactly that car. Ford is already planning a large Lincoln flagship,codenamed GOBI. Based on the CD architecture and targeted at Chinese business consumers by emphasizing rear seat comfort and amenities, GOBI will replace what we know as the Lincoln MKS in both China and the United States. A Ford with the same attributes would serve as a flagship for the Blue Oval in a way that it never could in America.

The full-size sedan market in America is heavily weighted towards fleet sales. With the Fusion outselling the Taurus by a roughly 4:1 ratio, it’s understandable that Ford would not want to renew the Taurus for another model cycle.

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Changan-Ford Introduces New Edge For Chinese Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/changan-ford-introduces-new-edge-chinese-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/changan-ford-introduces-new-edge-chinese-market/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969281 It’s official: This is the Chinese-made Ford Edge Sport and Edge Limited. CarNewsChina reports the new crossover for the Chinese market will be leaving for the showroom from Changan-Ford factories beginning in May 2015, arriving just before the Everest SUV. Power for the seven-passenger Limited and five-passenger Sport will come from either a 2-liter turbo-four […]

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It’s official: This is the Chinese-made Ford Edge Sport and Edge Limited.

CarNewsChina reports the new crossover for the Chinese market will be leaving for the showroom from Changan-Ford factories beginning in May 2015, arriving just before the Everest SUV.

Power for the seven-passenger Limited and five-passenger Sport will come from either a 2-liter turbo-four producing 252 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, or a larger 2.7-liter turbo V6 making 300 horses and 370 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will send their power through a six-speed automatic to all four corners, with the 2-liter offering FWD as standard.

Price of admission begins at ¥280,000 ($45,000 USD), topping off at ¥450,000 ($72,400). The Limited will be limited to China for the near-term.

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Baidu Buys Major Stake In Uber http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/baidu-buys-major-stake-uber/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/baidu-buys-major-stake-uber/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962882 Chinese Internet overlord Baidu is buying a major stake into everyone’s favorite transportation network company, Uber. According to CNBC, neither company stated how much the stake cost Baidu, nor how large the stake is. The tech company joins Google and Goldman Sachs in the big-name-investor group backing the TNC, which is currently valued at $40 […]

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Chinese Internet overlord Baidu is buying a major stake into everyone’s favorite transportation network company, Uber.

According to CNBC, neither company stated how much the stake cost Baidu, nor how large the stake is. The tech company joins Google and Goldman Sachs in the big-name-investor group backing the TNC, which is currently valued at $40 billion.

As for what will happen as a result of this pairing, Baidu wants to help Uber gain a foothold into the Chinese car-hailing app market — expected to jump to 45 million users next year, from 18 million in 2013 — which is dominated by Alibaba’s Kuaidi Dache and Tencent Holdings’ Didi Dache. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said his company would integrate with the Baidu Maps app, in the hope of helping users get to where they need to go.

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Tesla Losing Chinese Chief After Less Than Nine Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961289 After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind. Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, […]

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Veronica Wu

After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind.

Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, who currently is in charge of Tesla’s charging network development in China.

Wu’s last day with Tesla is unknown, nor are her plans upon leaving the company.

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Chinese Internet Company Sets Sights On Tesla In Chinese EV Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957953 Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game. Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls […]

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Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game.

Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls the “Super Electric Eco-System.” Jia and his representative in Los Angeles, Luo Qimei, both said the results of the program — which has been in the works since the early days of 2014 — will best those of Tesla and other western companies.

Leshi is entering the game amid weak demand for EVs in China, linked to a lack of sufficient infrastructure and local protectionism barriers. The Chinese government are attempting to build-up demand by providing tax breaks for consumers who buy from local automakers such as BYD, along with ordering government officials to use more EVs. That said, Leshi believes it will stand out among the competition, though Luo won’t say how much her company will invest into making it so.

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Holden’s Loss Is Ford’s Gain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/holdens-loss-fords-gain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/holdens-loss-fords-gain/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 21:26:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956962 With Holden set to lay off hundreds of engineers as it shuts the doors of its Australian factories, Ford is looking to grow its ranks. The Blue Oval is set to hire 150 ex-Holden engineers to help develop cars for the Chinese market. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Ford will grow its vehicle development […]

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With Holden set to lay off hundreds of engineers as it shuts the doors of its Australian factories, Ford is looking to grow its ranks. The Blue Oval is set to hire 150 ex-Holden engineers to help develop cars for the Chinese market.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Ford will grow its vehicle development headcount from 1050 to 1200 employees. By contrast, Holden will retain roughly 10 times fewer engineers when they end Australian production in 2017.

While Ford is also closing its Australian plants in 2016, Australian will serve as a regional hub for vehicle development. Holden’s engineers have experience working with small cars built in Korea by GM Daewoo, as well as premium large cars like the Falcon and Territory. The broad range of experience will serve Ford well, as it looks to adapt everything from compacts like the China-only Ford Escort to an all-new range of Lincoln products.

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Volvo To Build Future Flagship In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volvo-build-future-flagship-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volvo-build-future-flagship-china/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:17:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945121 With the Chinese-made S60L set to hit the United States next year, Volvo is taking the next step in building luxury cars in China, with plans for a new flagship to be built at a factory in Daqing. The enhancements to the factory will allow it to build vehicles on Volvo’s new modular architecture. The […]

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With the Chinese-made S60L set to hit the United States next year, Volvo is taking the next step in building luxury cars in China, with plans for a new flagship to be built at a factory in Daqing.

The enhancements to the factory will allow it to build vehicles on Volvo’s new modular architecture. The first product will be an “all-new premium sedan”, expected to be the new flagship S90 sedan. Volvo is gearing up for exports of the S60L, a long-wheelbase S60 made in China, for the 2015 model year. The S60L will be the first Chinese car sold in the United States.

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Mercedes Vision G-Code Study Shows Off Possible Future For SUV/CUV Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940225 Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe. The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all […]

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Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe.

The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all other vehicle configurations. Thus, aside from its muscular coupe profile — measuring 13 feet long and 4.9 feet tall — and 21-inch wheels riding a 6.2-foot wide track, the G-Code offers a few technological wonders that may someday appear in Mercedes’ portfolio of SUVs and crossovers.

The first is the paint itself. The silver paint is a “multi-voltaic” coating that pulls energy from the sun and/or wind to help aid in the methane/hydrogen synthesis process; the G-Code is also an FCV. The driver can use their smartphone to start the vehicle, then place it in the docking station to access the study’s connected-vehicle system.

Moving both pairs of wheels, a turbocharged hydrogen mil delivers power to the front, while an electric motor selectively moves the rear wheels via a dual multi-disc clutch. Power regeneration is carried out via the aforementioned coating, plug-in technology, and a suspension system that transmits energy into a compact current generator.

The grill adds still more flash to the G-Code by indicating the state its HYBRID system is in, from blue light moving toward the star in eDrive, to vivid red and reverse movement in sport.

Finally, the driver and their passengers can enjoy niceties, such as: GPS, 3D cameras, leather-upholstered seats with 3D body scanning for improved comfort, a pair of stand-up scooters in the back for additional mobility, and photosynthetic air conditioning for cleaner cabin air.

Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014

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Jaguar Land Rover Evaluating Locales For North American Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jaguar-land-rover-evaluating-locales-north-american-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jaguar-land-rover-evaluating-locales-north-american-plant/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934122 The United Auto Workers may soon need to add another transplant to convert as part of its Southern strategy: Jaguar Land Rover is considering setting up shop in the Southeastern United States as part of its global expansion plans. Autoblog reports the automaker is looking over potential real estate for a new North American factory, […]

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The United Auto Workers may soon need to add another transplant to convert as part of its Southern strategy: Jaguar Land Rover is considering setting up shop in the Southeastern United States as part of its global expansion plans.

Autoblog reports the automaker is looking over potential real estate for a new North American factory, honing in upon right-to-work states in the South such as South Carolina, where BMW already has a presence in Spartanburg assembling the X Series. The future plant would have a total capacity of 200,000 units produced per year.

Elsewhere, JLR welcomed all to its new factory in Changsu, China, where the real Evoque — as opposed to the “If you like Mrs. Beckham’s crossover, you’ll love ours” Landwind E32 — will roll off the line, with the new Discovery Sport to follow. Brazil will join the party with its own factory in 2016.

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China Auto Sales Slow To Lowest Rate Since February 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931362 Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools. Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent […]

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Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools.

Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent to 1.7 million units, commercial-vehicle sales fell 16 percent.

Meanwhile, purchase restrictions and declines in other parts of the nation’s economy also contributed to the slowdown in sales. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers lowered its 2014 forecast of vehicle sales growth in July, bringing it down from 10 percent to 8.3 percent. Economists add that overall growth will slow to 7.3 percent in 2014 — the lowest rate since 1990 — and 7 percent for 2015.

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BMW, Baidu Team Up For Automated Driving Trials In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bmw-baidu-team-automated-driving-trials-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bmw-baidu-team-automated-driving-trials-china/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921665 BMW has teamed up with the Google of China, Baidu, to begin work on automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai. According to Reuters, BMW says its group of research vehicles have already covered “thousands of kilometers” up and down the autobahns of Germany, and is now embarking “on a further research project which will […]

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BMW has teamed up with the Google of China, Baidu, to begin work on automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai.

According to Reuters, BMW says its group of research vehicles have already covered “thousands of kilometers” up and down the autobahns of Germany, and is now embarking “on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well.”

The cars for the Chinese project expansion will be tackling the nation’s multi-level highways and other infrastructural challenges in Beijing and Shanghai, relying upon Baidu’s map and cloud services on-the-go to aid in a given vehicle’s navigation.

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One Country, Two McLarens http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:33:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920386     The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, […]

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The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, luxury car makes can give owners a reason to keep trading in their current car for the latest and greatest thing, even if the new model is only superficially different from the base car.

Most of the time, these products offer a distinct paint job, added features, or a bump in power. For the first time, there’s a special edition designed to be less hardcore.

McLaren has created the 625C, a detuned version of the 650S with lower power, softer suspension tuning and apparently, minimal cosmetic differences between the two cars, so bystanders don’t know that you’ve gone for the less macho Macca. McLaren claims that the 625C was spurred on by customer demand. But when you’re stuck in congested Hong Kong traffic, it’s hard to imagine that reduced spring rates and 25 fewer ponies will make an appreciable difference.

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The Definition Of Insanity: Selling A Premium Volkswagen And Expecting Different Results http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/definition-insanity-selling-premium-volkswagen-expecting-different-results/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/definition-insanity-selling-premium-volkswagen-expecting-different-results/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:24:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916458 If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then Volkswagen has gone certifiably bonkers. Volkswagens unrelenting determination to have consumers accept the notion of a premium priced Volkswagen has led them down the path of insanity before: first, the Phaeton, then their planned, cut-price Phaeton […]

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If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then Volkswagen has gone certifiably bonkers.

Volkswagens unrelenting determination to have consumers accept the notion of a premium priced Volkswagen has led them down the path of insanity before: first, the Phaeton, then their planned, cut-price Phaeton for America, which is apparently on track despite Phaeton 1.0’s spectacular failure.

Now, VW is preparing a China-specific premium sedan based on the Audi A6L. Apparently not contend with its exponentially higher volumes, VW wants Audi’s profit margins too. And the best way to accomplish that is, apparently, by making an expensive sedan priced perilously close to Audi, with a badge that, even in China, will be difficult for premium consumers to swallow.

Apparently, a crackdown on luxury car spending by government officials has created a market for upscale vehicles without premium badges, but it seems difficult to understand how this niche will sustain planned volumes of 50,000 units annually, even in the booming Chinese market.

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Volvo Readying Chinese Made S60L For North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volvo-readying-chinese-made-s60l-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volvo-readying-chinese-made-s60l-north-america/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:41:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904393 Canada may have already received its first mass-produced Chinese car in the form of the outgoing Honda Fit. Now, it’s America’s turn. According to Automotive News, Volvo will introduced the Chinese-made S60L, a long-wheelbase version of the S60, sometime in 2015. The S60L will replace the slow-selling S80. The main change will be a 3.2 inch […]

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Canada may have already received its first mass-produced Chinese car in the form of the outgoing Honda Fit. Now, it’s America’s turn.

According to Automotive News, Volvo will introduced the Chinese-made S60L, a long-wheelbase version of the S60, sometime in 2015. The S60L will replace the slow-selling S80. The main change will be a 3.2 inch extension to the S60’s wheelbase. Like the S80, the car will be similarly low volume, though it will function as a gauge of the overall quality and level of acceptance that consumers will have for Chinese cars.

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Volkswagen Shows Off CLA Competitor In Chengdu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volkswagen-shows-cla-competitor-chengdu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volkswagen-shows-cla-competitor-chengdu/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:50:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903378 Volkswagen’s latest MQB-based vehicle is another challenge to Mercedes-Benz – the last time they threw down the gauntlet against Daimler, we ended up with the Phaeton. This should fare a bit better. Dubbed the “Lamando”, the vehicle in question is based on the MK7 Golf and its MQB chassis, and uses both the 1.4L and 2.0L […]

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Volkswagen’s latest MQB-based vehicle is another challenge to Mercedes-Benz – the last time they threw down the gauntlet against Daimler, we ended up with the Phaeton. This should fare a bit better.

Dubbed the “Lamando”, the vehicle in question is based on the MK7 Golf and its MQB chassis, and uses both the 1.4L and 2.0L TSI 4-cylinder engines, along with a 7-speed DSG gearbox. The Lamando will be built in China, for the Chinese market only, with a starting price of about $29,000. This puts it in direct competition with the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Live shots of the car can be seen here.  Sales of the Americanized Jetta have slumped recently, despite a strong (but price-driven) introduction. A car like this would do a lot to add some pizzazz to Volkswagen’s compact sedan, and given its MQB bones, it could likely be built in Mexico easily. How about it, VW?

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Buick Envision Spied On The Eve Of Its Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/buick-envision-spied-eve-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/buick-envision-spied-eve-debut/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:18:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901778 Right before its debut at the Chengdu Auto Show, the Buick Envision was spied outside an exhibit hall as it prepares to make its debut in China, a crucial market that is hungry for both crossovers and Buick brand vehicles. Although the Envision is almost certain to make its way to North America, GM has […]

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Right before its debut at the Chengdu Auto Show, the Buick Envision was spied outside an exhibit hall as it prepares to make its debut in China, a crucial market that is hungry for both crossovers and Buick brand vehicles.

Although the Envision is almost certain to make its way to North America, GM has made no formal announcement of its arrival. Reports indicate that a Q2 2015 launch is likely, with the GM 2.5L 4-cylinder joining alongside the corporate 2.0T engine powering the Chinese version.

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Current Volvo XC90 Will Keep Trucking Along http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/current-volvo-xc90-will-keep-trucking-along/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/current-volvo-xc90-will-keep-trucking-along/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:58:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901642 If you like your Volvo XC90, you can keep it – as long as you live in China. This spyshot from Carnewschina.com shows the newly dubbed “XC Classic“, while Just-Auto reports that the XC Classic will be built in China, at first using imported components, with local content ramping up over the life of the vehicle. […]

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If you like your Volvo XC90, you can keep it – as long as you live in China.

This spyshot from Carnewschina.com shows the newly dubbed “XC Classic“, while Just-Auto reports that the XC Classic will be built in China, at first using imported components, with local content ramping up over the life of the vehicle.

The current-gen XC90 was once Sweden’s most valuable export, with a value of close to $6 billion during the peak of its 636,000 unit production. Given the investment in a Chinese production facility, it’s not unreasonable to expect the XC90 to be built for another decade or so, including a Geely badged spin-off. That should give the car a two decade production run, making it one of the longest-running Volvo vehicles in recent years.

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Chinese-Market Chevrolet Cruze Makes Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899546 As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale. CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and […]

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As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale.

CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and will be marketed like its North American cousin as a low-cost model.

On-board the new Cruze, a 1.5-liter with 112 horsepower/108 lb-ft. of torque or 1.4-liter turbo with 148 horses/173 lb-ft. of torque will send power to the front through either a five- or six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed DSG depending on engine chosen. GM’s MyLink 2.0 infotainment system is also available, accessible via the Cruze’s 8-inch touchscreen.

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Infiniti Q50L Is Also “Coming With Length” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/infiniti-q50l-also-coming-length/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/infiniti-q50l-also-coming-length/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:44:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896882 Just weeks after Cadillac launched the ATS-L with their unfortunately composed tagline “Coming With Length“, Infiniti has launched their own rival, the Q50L. Rear seat space is a big deal in China, where having someone drive you around is a status symbol in itself. Long wheelbase variants of everything from the VW Passat to the BMW […]

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Just weeks after Cadillac launched the ATS-L with their unfortunately composed tagline “Coming With Length“, Infiniti has launched their own rival, the Q50L.

Rear seat space is a big deal in China, where having someone drive you around is a status symbol in itself. Long wheelbase variants of everything from the VW Passat to the BMW 5-Series are hot items, and Infiniti, which is looking to establish itself in China, is adding nearly two inches in wheelbase.

Power comes from a new Daimler-derived 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder making 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft, backed by a 7-speed automatic. Most significantly, the Q50L will be the first Chinese-built Infiniti.

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In China, ESQ Stands For “Rebadged Nissans With Mega Margins” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/china-esq-stands-rebadged-nissans-mega-margins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/china-esq-stands-rebadged-nissans-mega-margins/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895514 Infiniti is said to be expanding their model lineup in coming years, with a range of new passenger cars and CUVs. But the company is so hungry for a compact crossover, right now, that they aren’t even waiting for the upcoming QX30. Based on the Nismo version of the Nissan Juke, the ESQ will be […]

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Infiniti is said to be expanding their model lineup in coming years, with a range of new passenger cars and CUVs. But the company is so hungry for a compact crossover, right now, that they aren’t even waiting for the upcoming QX30.

Based on the Nismo version of the Nissan Juke, the ESQ will be a low-volume, China-only product, for Chinese consumers who are foaming at the mouth to get their hands on any small, two-box vehicle with a raised ride height and a premium badge. Evidently, there’s quite a few of them, and Nissan should profit handsomely off of this product.

Carnewschina is reporting that the Juke-based ESQ will be priced between $32,000 and $49,000 USD, and that this is the first in a sub-brand lineup of ESQ cars targeted at young luxury buyers. Given that Nissan is selling a vehicle that sells for $23,000-$26,000 in the USA for nearly twice the cost, you can hardly blame their motives – or wonder what other products are in store for the ESQ lineup.

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Chinese Government Investigating Quality Issues Among Volkswagen Sagitars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893458 Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem. Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and […]

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Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem.

Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and August 12 alone.

FAW-VW responded late last month by claiming the problems were isolated incidents (via expert analysis) and not anything on their end. The joint venture also vowed to sue anyone spreading “untrue” information about their products.

The investigation is taking place at the same time an antitrust probe by the government over price-cutting by seven transplants, including Volkswagen AG’s Audi.

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Analysis: China, USA Competing For Allocation As Luxury Crossover Sales Race Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:15:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889153 Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory. Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting […]

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Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory.

Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting allocation. While the United States was expected to be the biggest market or the NX, China would also be competing for volume. The fact that the NX could be sold at a much steeper sticker price in China meant more profit for Lexus, and a stronger case for allocating more units to that market.

Now, AN is reporting on a similar situation for the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The outlet reports that Mercedes CEO Steve Cannon said

“…the United States is competing for vehicle allocation with China, where demand is equally strong. The United States is Mercedes’ largest market, but China is likely to become No. 1 next year…”

While the GLA and its twin, the CLA, are built exclusively in Hungary, and the Lexus NX is built exclusively in Japan, the Audi Q3 is built in three factories, including one in China, while the BMW X1 is also built in multiple factories worldwide, with its own Chinese assembly location. Both the Q3 and GLA will have North American production in the near future, with factories in Mexico, but neither Daimler nor Volkswagen have completed building those plants.

The lack of diversity in assembly locations could lead to a bottleneck in supply for both the GLA and the NX. For dealers in the United States, this means a hot product that has little room for negotiation thanks to outsized demand and little supply. But you can be sure that the American sales and marketing arms of Mercedes and Lexus will be clamoring for every single unit they can get.

 

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