Tag: China

By on October 13, 2020

With global economies suffering from pandemic-related lockdowns, there’s been just one question burning in the minds of economists: ‘When will Chinese automotive sales finally rebound so that the industry can once again feel comfortable enough to keep pouring resources into Central Asia?’

Now, apparently.

China’s car market just recorded its first quarter of year-over-year sales growth in two years, with last month’s volume rising 12.8 percent (vs 2019) to 2.57 million units, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). While its always wise to keep in mind that the nation has a history of obfuscating figures that might paint it in a bad light, CPCA has been slightly more consistent in its reporting than the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Both outlets also have a tenancy to showcase blind optimism for the local economy, but there appears to have been good reason for that over the last five months.

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2020

Cadillac told U.S. and Chinese dealers they will each need to invest at least $200,000 on electric vehicle chargers and staff training to continue selling the brand’s products after 2022. The message was communicated to dealerships on Wednesday via video messages from Rory Harvey, the luxury brand’s vice president of sales, service and marketing. Cadillac is moving on electrification (seriously this time) and plans to launch the Lyriq EV within the next two years, with more battery-driven models to follow. Update: Cadillac PR has responded, saying that what was communicated yesterday is for U.S. dealers only.

The brand says dealers must be ready for the transition, giving us flashbacks to Project Pinnacle  the Johan de Nysschen strategy that forced stores to spend money to provide a more premium sales experience that differentiated Cadillac as special. At the time of its implementation, many dealers wondered why they should bother taking on more overhead under the assumption that they’ll make extra money over time. While luxury-specific outlets don’t have much choice in the matter, those selling GM’s other brands in conjunction with Cadillac seem to be substantially less eager to implement the changes.

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By on September 8, 2020

While Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is supposedly taking the world by storm, some hot competition has been reported in China. The Hongguang MINI EV has eclipsed the offspring of Elon Musk to become the country’s best-selling electric vehicle. Though at just 28,800 yuan ($4,200), it hardly seems a fair comparison. Tesla’s minimalist sedan is larger and costs roughly 10 times what SAIC Motor, General Motors, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors decided the MINI EV was worth.

That’s right, it took the combined strength of three automakers to birth this baby and we’re wondering what it would take to get you to drive one home if they were offered here.

(Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

The General Motors name might be synonymous with SUVs and pickups in North America, especially after the automaker’s recent passenger car cull, but the Chinese market mostly associates it with SUVs and a bevy of cars. GM apparently wants that to change.

Government documents reveal The General is interested in getting the go-ahead for a Chinese-market pickup. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2020

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Xpeng announced Thursday a decision to increase the size of its U.S initial public offering (IPO) by more than a third after realizing Wall Street can swallow anything so long as it promises a greener tomorrow.

Co-founded in 2014 by two former executives from China’s GAC Group, the EV startup has already managed to produce around 20,000 vehicles for the Asian market. It also became engaged in an intellectual property dispute with Tesla (which claimed Xpeng stole its Autopilot source code) in 2019 and ran afoul with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles after failing to submit disengagement reports on its self-driving test vehicles in 2018.

Such hurdles don’t seem to have slowed the company’s rise to prominence, however. Xpeng is adept at fundraising, amassing well over a billion dollars through strategic partnerships in just the last two years. Meanwhile, the adjusted IPO filed on the New York Stock Exchange this August now targets a cool $1.5 billion USD. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

When we last checked in on the Volkswagen Passat, the manufacturer was rumored to be considering removing the model from its production lineup. Jetta’s bigger brother failed to garner much attention after its last update, and it just so happens to exist within a vehicle segment that has has seen far better days. Combine that with VW heaping added importance on a lineup of fresh new EVs, and there was good reason to think the family sedan was living on borrowed time.

Despite some company brass eager to kill off the model, it has been decided that the Passat will stick with us a while longer. Autocar recently reported the car has been approved for another generation, expecting it to launch in Europe in 2023. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2020

Keen to sweep as much attention away from the 2020 Democratic National Convention as possible, President Donald Trump campaigned in Old Forge, PA while Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination at a largely virtual event. You’ll be forgiven for not having watched either, as both amounted to little more than bashing the opposing side with nary a hint of actual policy. But Trump came the closest to offering something truly substantive, reiterating threats to companies to bring factory jobs back to the U.S. or suffer the consequences.

The president insisted that manufacturers would soon find themselves in a situation that benefits America whether they complied or not. “We will give tax credits to companies to bring jobs back to America, and if they don’t do it, we will put tariffs on those companies, and they will have to pay us a lot of money,” Trump said during the event. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2020

Kandi America

Interested in a new electric vehicle with an after-tax credit price of $9,999? What about a larger model stickering for $19,999? Hmmm… doesn’t seem to be that many of you.

You can be forgiven for not knowing about Kandi America, the U.S. subsidiary of Kandi Technologies Group — a Chinese battery and electric vehicle manufacturer. Earlier this week, Kandi revealed two models it plans to bring to America in the hopes of cleaning up at the low end of the EV market. Having seen its share price skyrocket after announcing a U.S. market entry last month, the company’s stock fell back to earth when Wall Street gauged the public’s enthusiasm. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2020

Chinese automaker Nio is planning to allow customers to lease vehicle batteries independently from the cars themselves, and has involved Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) in the venture.

Considering EVs are useless without their battery, leasing an essential component seems to serve little purpose on its face. But Nio intends to sell its ES6 crossover for 273,600 yuan ($39,500) in China with the option to lease the battery for 980 yuan a month. Customers can also choose to purchase the entire vehicle outright for 343,600 yuan ($49,600) if they haven’t tricked themselves into believing a better battery is less than a year away.

This is a weird one, because the stated purpose is to lower the vehicle’s upfront costs. But it’s just a paperweight without an energy source, forcing customers to lease the power pack if they want to use the vehicle — and at no small cost. The companies announced the new program in Beijing on Thursday with Nio CEO William Li stating his company plans to enter Europe in the second half of 2021. Hopefully they’ll be dumb enough to accept the batteries-as-a-service premise. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2020

GM

Sales of General Motors vehicles sank 15 percent in 2019 —  the automaker’s second straight year of annual sales pullback in that once promising market.

Maybe the product was the problem?

That seems to be GM’s thinking. On Wednesday, The General revealed its plan to capture market share in the world’s mos populous auto market with a raft of electric vehicles underpinned by its new modular electric vehicle platform, all powered by the company’s low-cobalt Ultium battery technology. (Read More…)

By on August 18, 2020

China’s Geely Automobile Holdings reported a first-half net profit drop of 43 percent on Monday, a tumble that forced it to reduce end-of-year targets. As you may have expected, the coronavirus was named as the biggest obstacle it had to overcome, especially in its home country. That left Geely (parent to Volvo, Lotus, Proton, Lynk & Co, Emerald Automotive, London EV and more) revising 2020 volume estimates by 6 percent to 1.32 million vehicles against the 1.36 million deliveries it enjoyed through 2019.

While enduring a bad financial year in 2020 is hardly breaking news for any major automotive manufacturer, Geely is one of many Chinese firms with global aspirations. Its role as Daimler’s second-largest stakeholder and ownership of Volvo Cars (with which it is planning a full merger) arguably makes it the corporation that’s closest to achieving that goal, too. Yet the current economic and geopolitical situation served to undermine its ultimate goal of becoming Asia’s answer to Volkswagen Group.

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By on August 10, 2020

China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has its fingers in a lot of pies. Having purchased Volvo Cars from Ford a decade ago for $1.8 billion (a fraction of the price the Blue Oval paid), the brand has focused on scooping up troubled brands with global appeal or creating its own. In 2017, Geely purchased majority stakes in Malaysia-based Proton and UK-based Lotus Cars while attempting to turn its own Lynk & Co into a global brand.

Those are supplemental to its cadre of Asia-focused subsidiaries but no less important to its broader aspirations.

Geely has been exceptionally clear that its ultimate goal is to increase its presence around the world while improving its production capabilities. Its latest strategy involves utilizing new platforms developed for Volvo (which was already sharing architecture with Lynk) for vehicles manufactured in Asia under the Proton banner. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2020

Jaguar Land Rover has increased its savings target for the year to $3.3 billion (£2.5 billion) following a $540 million (£413 million) pre-tax loss for the quarter ending in June. Losses are hardly uncommon within an industry shaken by the pandemic, but JLR went into this year already confronting an uphill battle.

In 2019, the company was deep in the midst of a restructuring plan aiming at $2.5 billion in life-sustaining savings. Unfortunately, the move required the elimination of thousands of positions as it tried to imagine the effects of Brexit and contend with falling sales in its largest markets. That includes China, which the firm assumed would offer continued growth in the months leading up to coronavirus’ big debut and increasing political tensions between the Communist Party of China and United Kingdom. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2020

BMW revealed the production version of the iX3 crossover this week, adhering as closely to the 2018 concept as possible. More aerodynamic than your standard X3 and adorned with visual cues hinting at its status as a zero-emissions vehicle, Bavaria’s newest electric seems adequate transportation for those with modest expectations.

But this is supposed to be the first vehicle in the brand’s upcoming product offensive, a strategy aimed at helping it transition into the next Tesla or whatever fantasy scenario corporate leadership has deluded themselves into. Forget the i3 — this is what it looks like when BMW gets serious about electrification. That’s the marketing line being used to stir interest, at least. However, it starts to unravel a bit when you look at the vehicle’s capabilities and planned trajectory. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2020

Chinese electric car startup Byton will reportedly idle production next month as it attempts to reorganize itself. While the coronavirus emerged as a villain in this play, the issues confronting Byton actually seem pretty dire. The company isn’t just idling factories to address a health crisis, it’s shutting things down for six months while it engages in more fundraising and tries to pay what’s owed to employees.

That’ll be tough with no normal income. Byton has already furloughed a large portion of its staff in California and plans to cease all production in Nanjing. While we knew the PRC’s approach to electrification would ultimately result in countless EV startups going under, we didn’t expect Byton to be among them. Slick products, good marketing, and interesting designs made it seem like it could go the distance — now it seems wholly preoccupied with survival. (Read More…)

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