Tag: China

By on December 10, 2019

China’s car market, officially the world’s largest, is bracing for its second year of negative growth. November was the fourth consecutive month of declining year-over-year sales, representing an improvement from October despite volume dropping 4.2 per cent below last November’s tally. Unfortunately for China, the downward trend has not been the exception, but the rule.

According to the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) was hoping for better. “The market failed to live up to expectations of a strong rebound in November,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the CPCA. “Consumer demand remained weak as people are reluctant to spend on big-ticket items due to worries about a bleak economic outlook.”

This matters in the West because domestic manufacturers have bent over backwards to try and improve sales within the region, expending no small amount of energy or capital in the process. China’s citizenry are also changing their tastes to cope with a weakening economy, and it would be wise to look at the choices they’re making.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you’re undoubtedly aware that the United States is a region that hasn’t quite embraced automotive electrification on the same level as the rest of the developed world. Americans travel longer distances and have particular tastes, making EVs more popular in places like Europe and China. It also hasn’t passed the same sweeping regulations to ensure their advancement.

Whatever the cause, a new survey from London-based OC&C Strategy Consultants attempted to tabulate the disparity — asking 2,000 consumers (apiece) in the U.S., China, Germany, France and United Kingdom between March and April of 2019.

Their findings? Only about half of the surveyed Americans felt EVs were worth their consideration as a potential successor to their current ride. In China, 90 percent said they would seriously consider buying electric. Between 64 and 77 percent of respondents in Europe said the same (depending on country).  (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

The coming year isn’t just the first chapter in a new decade, it will also be the final year you’ll be able to purchase a new Buick Regal. For that matter, it’s the last year you’ll be able to buy a Buick car.

Confirmed by a brand spokesman, the 2020 model year will be the midsize Regal’s last in the North American market. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

A new report indicates that BAIC Motor Corp, Daimler’s primary Chinese joint-venture partner, wants to increase its stake in the company. Currently, BAIC owns 5 percent of the German automaker (purchased in July) with rumors swirling in October that the firm wanted to increase its investment. There were also claims that Geely was attempting to stand in the way of the prospective deal.

While not Daimler’s main squeeze in Asia from a production perspective, Geely actually owns 9.7 percent of the company — giving it quite a bit of leverage. As such, there were murmurings that Geely put the kibosh on any ideas BAIC had on investing further. Geely has rebuffed the accusation. “We are a long-term investor in Daimler. We do not react spontaneously to any volatility and we support Daimler’s management and their strategy,” the firm explained.

Be that as it may, there appears to be a minor power struggle between the two Chinese companies. Both seem interested in strengthening their influence and happen to find themselves in each other’s way.  (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

Lexus’ first production electric vehicle carries a name that should spur fond memories of a boxy Mercedes-Benz sedan. Yes, the 300E was a desirable German car. Even today, the E 300e is a compelling electrified midsize alternative to those other sedans on the market.

But we’re not here to talk about Mercedes-Benz, even though it’s hard not to when you name a new vehicle the 300e. In this case, it’s the Lexus UX 300e… and it’s not for you, as Corey would say. (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett reportedly confirmed that the new Mustang Mach-E we’ve been talking about all day may need to be manufactured in China. Since this is our third article on the vehicle, we’re immensely sorry and promise to keep this relatively short.

On Monday, Bloomberg quoted Hackett as saying the Mach-E will have to figure out a way around the trade war between the United States and China. “We need to determine whether the tariffs are settled. And it would be great [if they were],” Hackett said following the EV’s launch in Los Angeles. “We have a plan to build there if we have to.”

(Read More…)

By on November 7, 2019

China’s new vehicle market may not be as hot as it once was, but it’s still big. Very big. And pickup trucks, hungrily gobbled up by fleet operators, are a less volatile segment to do business in.

That’s why Ford’s mulling, for the first time, the idea of building Ford-branded trucks inside the country, rather than just importing them. However, before the automaker signs off on such an effort, China will have to do its part. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2019

Eager to minimize import costs, Tesla has made impressive progress laying down roots in China. The company secured a long-term lease on a 210-acre site near Shanghai in October of 2018. Ground was broken at the start of January, with the $5 billion facility estimated to begin producing cars as early as this November. While all of this effort was aimed at expanding the brand in Asia while minimizing costs, it’s not translating into a cheaper Model 3 for the Asian market.

Tesla, being Tesla, has decided to launch the Model 3 with a starting MSRP of $50,000. According to Bloomberg, that’s only 3 percent less expensive than the versions it had to ship across the ocean. Rather than attempting to build more budget-conscious variants, the automaker decided to offer all vehicles sold in China with Autopilot and additional standard content.  (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

The founder of Faraday Future, Yueting Jia, has filed for bankruptcy and restructuring under Chapter 11 in the United States, according to a statement released by the company. The decision allows Jia (known within the company as “YT”) to address his debts in China, which can be measured billions, so his ownership of FF can be transferred to creditors.

Due to Faraday’s repeatedly broken promises and clandestine way of doing business, we’ve never had an overabundance of faith in the company. While that view hasn’t changed, the corporate statement frames Jia’s U.S. bankruptcy as a positive.  (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

The issue of China’s totalitarian government intimidating American businesses into silence over protests in Hong Kong and human rights violations in China has come to the fore, with three nearly simultaneous incidents. The National Basketball Association didn’t quite censure the Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey for tweeting “fight for Freedom” and “stand with Hong Kong,” but league commissioner Adam Silver’s attempts to mollify Xi JinPing’s regime, to preserve the NBA’s profitable ventures in China, have been described as craven. E-gaming company Blizzard Activision, which is 4.9-percent owned by the Chinese Tencent company, stripped a tournament champion of his title and winnings and banned him for a year for expressing support for Hong Kong in a post-event broadcast. When the animated South Park comedy show satirized censorship in China, the Chinese government simply erased South Park from the Chinese internet as though it never existed. On that side of the great firewall of China, South Park has become like Nikolai Yezhov.

To their everlasting credit, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, South Park’s creators, unlike the NBA and Blizzard Activision, didn’t kowtow, instead releasing an “apology” that mocked both Chinese government censors and the NBA.

It’s abundantly clear that China will use the threat of punishing American companies by restricting access to the Chinese market in order to exert intimidating influence here in the United States.

What does that have to do with cars? (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2019

Despite assuming the role of one of China’s most promising electric vehicle startups, NIO is struggling. The first quarter of this year was a mess. Worried about bad publicity stemming from battery fires, NIO recalled 4,800 vehicles ⁠— more than it sold in Q1. It also endured a noteworthy sales decline, a drop in share price, sold off its Formula E racing team, and announced it would cut around 10 percent of its workforce.

The situation has not improved for Q2. According to reports from the manufacturer, losses expanded 83.1 percent from the previous year to about 3.3 billion yuan ($463 million). Despite NIO’s recent addition of the ES6 crossover, Q2 sales were down 7.9 percent from Q1 ⁠— resulting in a grand total of 3,553 deliveries. NIO now believes it will have to sheer 20 percent of its workforce to save costs. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2019

This could be case of a holster-sniffing wannabe of an exotic variety, or it could be an international incident.

You’re probably aware of folks who like to drive around in former police cruisers carrying as much cop-car equipment as the local officials will let pass without issuing a citation for impersonating a police officer. It’s not a trivial issue to law enforcement because some folks do go over the line into actually impersonating authorities, including committing crimes under cover of fraudulent authority.

What, then, to make of the man arrested by the California Highway Patrol who was driving around Irvine in a black Audi sedan with very authentic-looking decals for China’s People’s Armed Police? (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

With a 25-percent import tariff looming like a hanging blade over U.S.-built vehicles in the Chinese market, Tesla has managed to side-step another sales-sinking levy: the country’s purchase tax.

At 10 percent, the purchase tax applies to most vehicle sales in that market, though the state exempts various domestic “new energy” (electric) vehicles from the added cost. As of Friday, Tesla vehicles, despite being manufactured in California, will join the ranks of these privileged automobiles. However, buyers hoping to realize the full benefit of the tax cut are out of luck. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

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.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

BMW Spartanburg Assembly Plant Factory

The trade war between the United States and China heated up again Friday, with the People’s Republic pulling a U-turn on its treatment of U.S.-built vehicles. Come mid-December, China will hit inbound U.S. vehicles with a 25-percent tariff. Auto parts will see a 5-percent tariff.

The new — well, resurrected — auto tariffs are a reactionary measure, coming after U.S. President Donald Trump proposed, then delayed, the levying of a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods. While some import taxes will hit in September, the full range of tariffs is expected to come into effect on December 15th. China’s auto tariffs, first levied last year and lifted earlier this year as an olive branch gesture, are part of a larger raft of tariffs impacting $75 billion of U.S. goods. A 5- to 10-percent tariff hits non-auto U.S. goods on September 1st.

It’s no wonder every automaker wants to build Chinese-market vehicles within that country’s borders. (Read More…)

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