A (hecho en Mexico) Cadillac SRX costs between $67,700 and $91,000 once it’s sold in China. It doubles its price compared to the U.S. because of a monster tariff in China. Soon, there will be a more affordable version. A much, much, much more affordable version. Except that it won’t be from GM. (Read More…)
Christmas is over so we go back to war. This is the newest kill-machine of the Chinese army. It is a 4×4 armored vehicle based on the Dongfeng EQ2050 (thank you America!). The new car seems designed as a hit-and-run fast attack vehicle with a big turret on the roof for a big fat machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade launcher. (Read More…)
Fuelled by Nissan’s decision to move the HQ of it’s Infiniti brand to Hong Kong, rumors of an impending Chinese production of the upscale marque would not end. In November, while not denying the story out of hand, spokespeople in Yokohama indicated that announcements of Chinese production of Nissan’s luxury brand were premature. Today, China Daily has an interesting twist on the story: A trucks-for-luxury cars swap. (Read More…)
We have been following this phenomenon for a while. Joint ventures in China create faux Chinese brands. Because? Because it’s the right thing to do, at least as far as the Chinese government is concerned. Officially, the reason for those fake Chinese brands is to make cars more affordable. Off the record, automakers roll their (slanted and round) eyes at this reasoning. A new brand doesn’t miraculously make a car more affordable. In the contrary. To establish a brand costs money. To establish dealer networks costs money. To build new cars costs money, even if they are on passé platforms. But you’ve got to do what China’s bureaucrats think you’ve got to do. Possibly, all these joint venture brands, from GM’s BaoJun on out, will end up in nice statistics that prove that homegrown Chinese brands are selling, and that exports are up.
Why the rant? Nissan and Dongfeng show the first production model of the faux Chinese Venucia brand at the Guangzhou auto show. (Read More…)
China’s Dongfeng makes a lot of cars with several joint ventures. It also makes its own cars. In a way. It’s ode to the Hummer is legend. Now, Dongfeng found inspiration in another legend: The Unimog. At a show in Shanghai, Carnewschina found the Dongfeng v-Tiger, or EQ2070FQJ, which it says is a spitting image of Daimler’s inconic Unimog workhorse. Well, that’s up to debate. One thing isn’t: (Read More…)
Last week, we brought you the news that the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture will build an EV in China, that it will be ready by 2015, and that it will not be the Nissan Leaf. The Made-in-China plug-in will be offered by Nissan-Dongfeng’s “Chinese” brand, Venucia. This most likely in compliance with yet-to-be-released, but much-rumored regulations which will shower Chinese EV subsidies only on indigenous vehicles.
Barely a week after the news, there already are pictures of the future Chinese EV. (Read More…)
In fulfillment of my paparazzo duties, I stalked Nissan’s and Renault’s CEO all the way to China today. Easy for me to do: I could walk from where I live in Beijing. The walk was worth it. In the Grand Ballroom of the China World Tower 3, Ghosn and his Chinese joint venture partners announced an aggressive five year plan. Nissan and Dongfeng want to nearly double Nissan sales in China from 1.3 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2015. (Read More…)
At a press conference in Beijing’s tallest building, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn announced today that the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture will build an EV in China, and that it will be ready by 2015. No, it will not be the Nissan Leaf. It will be a plug-in that will sail under Nissan-Dongfeng’s “Chinese” brand, Venucia. Said Ghosn: (Read More…)
China’s Gasgoo says that “Dongfeng Nissan has already begun preparations for domestic production of the Nissan Leaf pure electric hatchback.” Domestic as in Made-in-China. They quote Dongfeng Nissan CEO Fumiaki Matsumoto, who allegedly said: “We have already finished preparatory work for the Leaf. We hope that we can cooperate with the government and suppliers to bring over the Leaf as soon as possible.” That of course piqued our interest. After some calls, we can say with certainty: Instead of millions of Leafs roaming the streets of China tomorrow, we have a case of Lost In Translation with a French-Japanese-Chinese cast. (Read More…)
It becomes immediately clear why the Chinese government did not want an upstart manufacturer of bridge pontoons to buy HUMMER: Unnecessary duplication of what is has been available at state-owned Dongfeng for ages. They even have a Chinese version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Read More…)
In another case of unthought-through consequences, the cheered-on push for a stronger Chinese currency and higher wages strengthens the competitiveness and quality of Chinese products through increased automation of assembly lines.
Bloomberg reports that Nissan, together with the joint venture partner Dongfeng, is building a 5 billion yuan ($732m) plant in Guangzhou with the newest in automation. The factory is scheduled to open in 2012. In addition, Nissan spent about 1 billion yuan ($147m) on a second production line with the latest equipment at their Zhengzhou factory.
This is not an isolated incident. “The automation rate in China is on the rise,” said Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa. “We need to boost productivity in China,” COO Toshiyuki Shiga said. “Just because labor costs are higher in China, we won’t be leaving.”
Did we say that Japanese brands have to do something to stop the erosion of market share in China? Nissan took the advice and said today that they started construction of their second factory in China’s southern Guangdong Province. According to The Nikkei [sub], the factory will open in 2012 with an annual capacity of 240,000 vehicles. (Read More…)
France’s PSA wants a bigger slice of the growing Chinese pie. They agreed to set up a joint venture with government-owned Changan. Peugeot already has a joint venture with Changan’s rival Dongfeng, while Changan has a joint venture with Ford. Nevertheless, the new JV will “not compete directly with other partnerships,” the companies said in a statement published by Bloomberg. (Read More…)
Western auto makers in distress are in the cross-hairs of Chinese auto makers that are riding one of the largest car booms in history. When Geely closed its deal with Ford over Volvo, we wrote: “Government owned companies like FAW, SAIC, Dongfeng, or BAIC will watch closely how privately owned Geely will digest the Volvo purchase. If successful, western car companies will be on their shopping list again.” They already are. (Read More…)