Automotive Industry Annoyed China Gets to Decide What Engines It Offers

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
automotive industry annoyed china gets to decide what engines it offers

With the possible exception of the United States in the near future, emission regulations are getting harsher everywhere. Nowhere is that more true than China. Not only does Asia’s most populous country have some of the most stringent emission requirements for new cars, it also has the strictest sales quotas for electrically powered vehicles on the planet. Too strict, according to some automakers.

A Chinese draft regulation issued last week stipulates automakers must sell enough electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to comprise 8 percent of total volume by 2018, 10 percent by 2019, and 12 percent by 2020. This comes after talks between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that hinted China might have mercy on Germany manufacturers.

While Volkswagen has pleaded for China to reconsider the timeline, it has specified that it would adhere to the 2018 standards if forced to do so. Meanwhile, BMW flat-out said it couldn’t.

“Just like all the others, we were below 6 percent last year, and I mean significantly below,” BMW China chief Olaf Kastner told Automotive News China in the country where the carmaker has a joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

However, it’s not just German automakers that should be concerned. Most major manufacturers are trying to establish strong global sales while targeting China as a part of that endeavor. But the rules are different in China. Not only do companies have to get into bed with a Chinese firm just to do business inside the country, the stiff regulations are shaping the type of cars they can sell. The only way to stop this from influencing the sort of vehicles automakers sell worldwide is to have region-specific models, abandon the Chinese market, or play ball and offer more BEVs or plug-ins immediately.

According to Reuters, the most recent legislative draft by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is open for public comment until June 27. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at the start of the month that China had agreed to concessions on the timeline of quotas, but the most current draft does not reflect that. It’s unchanged from one issued in September, with no alterations relating to the proposed Merkel rescheduling.

Dominik Declercq, China’s representative for the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, said the new draft indicated China definitely had not changed its mind on the issue. “That’s what it looks like: no compromise, no concession,” Declercq explained.

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3 of 20 comments
  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Jun 21, 2017

    China gets the majority of its electric from coal, so I'm not sure mandating electric vehicles is all that helpful in fighting pollution or carbon emissions.

    • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Jun 21, 2017

      China is proactively moving off coal faster than any other coal-intensive country. They are also instituting more aggressive emissions regulations for coal plants that they will keep. Overall, their coal fleet is newer, more efficient and less polluting than the US'. Plus they've cancelled over 100 planned coal power projects. Emissions standards for plants in use in 2020 will be stricter/lower than anything in the US or Europe, and plants that fail will be retired. So, realizing that they need to move off coal but cannot turn that ship on a dime, they are building renewables generation at a massive investment clip, greening coal to the best extend they can, and arresting then slashing future dependency on coal. Here's an interesting overview barely a month old: China is playing a long game at an accelerating pace. Over the life of a new electric vehicle, the power generation behind it will be cleaner by the year. 1969 was our year of tipping into serious environmental action. For China, it was 2011 and they are moving with alacrity. Phil

  • Ydnas7 Ydnas7 on Jun 21, 2017

    firstly, we should all be grateful for the Chinese consumer, otherwise you would be stuck with s...y little eurohatchs or cramped little USA barges. Chinese come with added length. stretched Nissan Altima check stretched Hyundai Sonata check Malibu that aren't cramped at the back check it took China style to get Americans decent rear leg room in mid range cars. China like their cars longer than Americans. now the changes that China are proposing are big, basically USA federal CAFE and CARB state ZEVs all rolled together. basically China jumps to CARB level ZEV next year, for the companies not prepared, too bad, they can stop production until they buy enough credits or sell enough NEVs. This will be tough on the Germans and the Japs, GM should be OK. Also expect a lot of 48V mild hybrids, a lot. and just like CARB the percentages are crap, they are actually nominal so a PHEV is about 2 units and a EV is about 4 units, so roughly divide by 3 to get approximate requirements, so 12% is really about 4%. not hard for many Chinese car companies.

  • ToolGuy "What really made the 1979-1985 Eldorado Biarritz distinctive was this stainless-steel roof panel"• It is not possible to manufacture automotive parts from stainless steel. It must be true because I read it on TTAC.Also, Debt is Amazing and never causes any problems, ever. (Also read this on TTAC)
  • Kcflyer How about, "Fancy VW"?
  • Kcflyer Would be very interested, despite the 4 banger, if not for the direct injection garbage.
  • Wayne back in 55 when I was 10 Grandpa started with 'back her out' of the garage, then on day he crawls into the passenger side and say's take her to the post office. teach them early as you can
  • 28-Cars-Later Another: How does Stellantis plan to leverage the EV experience of PSA and Opel (?) against the former FCA operation?