Ford Cancels EV Joint Venture With China's Zotye

Ford Motor Co. has decided against its plan to launch an electric vehicle joint venture with China’s Zotye Automobile. The American manufacturer confirmed the decision on Thursday, stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had made sweeping changes to its policies since the deal was initially agreed to in 2017.

Few specifics were given beyond that and Ford hasn’t indicated the move might suggest a retreat from the one-party socialist republic. Ford recently confirmed its plan to build Chinese versions of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and maintains numerous joint ventures necessary to continue doing business inside Central Asia.

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GM Will Begin Offering Full Sized SUVs in China

General Motors intends to start selling its full-size SUVs in China and is currently showcasing the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, and GMC Yukon Denali at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. That means these vehicles will be imported rather than being manufactured in-country as part of their government-mandated partnerships with Chinese automotive firms.

Why would GM do this in a nation that’s supposed to be prioritizing hyper-efficient electric vehicles? Well, China is currently the world’s largest car market and is on track to be the only major economy on Earth that will grow during the pandemic the yuan has already hit a 28-month high against the dollar after the U.S. presidential election started skewing in favor of Joe Biden. Meanwhile, General Motors happens to be one of the region’s largest automakers and competition is stiffing between it and the likes of Volkswagen, Geely, Honda, and Toyota.

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Don't Bet on Seeing Chinese Brands in the U.S. Anytime Soon

Over the past decade, regular reports that Chinese automakers were readying a major push into the North American market became commonplace. We started seeing them move out of trade show basements to take up some of the most desirable real estate on the main floor. While some of the product clearly wasn’t yet up to snuff, one could imagine budget-focused products flooding the U.S. and Canada after a few years of polish. However, the last time that seemed like a likely scenario was 2018.

Chinese brands are still trying to break into the untapped North American market; some even have physical office space set up within the United States. However, Sino-American relations have soured dramatically over the past few years, and new financial hurdles have made wrangling a new market extremely difficult.

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Report: Chinese EV Subsidies May Be Coming Back

It could be argued that a large portion of the Chinese economy has been propped up by government programs, with electric vehicles making one of the best examples. With a vested interest in battery technology, China did everything it could to encourage industry players to focus on EVs while subsidizing their purchase by consumers. The end result was a country with the highest number of alternative-energy vehicles in the world — and more automotive automotive startups than it knew what to do with.

While the plan was always to force accelerated competition by getting new manufacturing firms to duke it out for supremacy, EV sales were also supposed to remain sky high. Yet they didn’t. China’s auto market began running out of steam far earlier than everyone assumed. When the country nixed electric-vehicle subsidies over the summer, the segment went into a tailspin, with every successive month returning negative growth.

China would like to see things turn around, so it’s mulling the prospect of reintroducing incentives to get EVs into more driveways.

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China Making Moves to Improve Its Crippled Auto Market

While you’ve heard the media prophesying a global recession for months now, one that will effectively obliterate the younger generation’s purchasing power for the rest of their lives ( or so they say), the United States is actually in relatively good shape vs other markets. The People’s Republic of China already appears to be in a recession, and it’s no state secret that its automotive market is hurting.

Part of that is due to the ongoing Sino-American trade war, but there are other factors at play. We’ve previously covered how China’s overzealous adoption of increasingly rigid efficiency mandates upset auto sales. As it turned out, the nation’s commitment to zero-emission vehicles and swelling emission rules scared off a subset of buyers. Others simply couldn’t rationalize making such a large purchase during a period of economic uncertainty.

This all resulted in China’s automotive market experiencing more than a full year of consistently negative growth — something the PRC would like to see fixed posthaste. On Tuesday, the Chinese State Council announced a tentative plan to fix its struggling economy.

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  • Ajla I don't take any calls unless I'm off the street and parked. Before Carplay/Android Auto I would keep my phone in my pocket when driving but with those additional features I do plug it in now before I'm underway if I need to use an electronic map. However AA reads your text messages to you and I have used the voice reply feature a few times.
  • Mike Beranek In my state, it's completely illegal to hold a phone in your hand while driving. I'm not sure why other states have not passed similar laws.That being said, I don't check notifications while driving. The one exception is if it rings, which is pretty rare. In that case I will glance at it to see if it was one of my family members, who would only resort to a phone call if there was an emergency (otherwise text).
  • Cprescott Never answer a phone call that comes in while in the car; if I must make a call, the vehicle is stationary and off the road.
  • Statikboy Are we expecting a continuation of the LX platform series any time soon? I don't remember it reaching the Magnum.
  • Analoggrotto The facelifted front end with the narrow headlamps was a major improvement. Always liked these.