GM announces China version of hybrid Volt

Automobiles of brand MG and Roewe from SAIC Motor are seen at SAIC's Lingang factory in Shanghai
Automobiles of brand MG and Roewe from SAIC Motor are seen at SAIC's Lingang factory in Shanghai
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20 April, 2017

At this year's Shanghai Auto Show, global brands were eager to show their adherence to Beijing's calls, while still catering to customers of the world's largest vehicle market.

When it comes to the global vehicle market, no single event quite reflects the change in auto manufacturers' global emphasis than Auto China, the motor show that alternates annually between Beijing and Shanghai and this year takes place in the country's financial capital.

PICTURED: People gather around the Audi e-tron Sportback concept vehicle at the Shanghai Auto Show during its media day, in Shanghai, China April 19, 2017.

GM is also offering a $5,233 discount to Chinese buyers on its the Velite hybrid auto when it goes on sale in the country later this year.

Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and other global brands also have announced plans this year to launch electric or gasoline-electric hybrids in China, where the market is dominated by lower-cost Chinese brands led by BYD Auto, the world's biggest seller of electric models by units sold.

Volvo said in a press statement on Wednesday that its new electric auto will be based on its Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which is the platform the carmaker is using for its smaller 40-Series vehicles. Volvo will export the sedan to global markets including Europe and the US from its factory in Daqing. "So it is built from the start to work all over the world", said Henrik Green, Volvo's senior vice president for research and development.

Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Car USA, said in March that he was pushing for its first electric car to fall in the $40,000 range. The two are SUV models tailored from the outset to satisfy the needs of Chinese consumers, the companies said in statements.

Even Great Wall Motors Ltd., which became China's most profitable auto brand by making nearly nothing but SUVs, has unveiled an electric compact sedan, the C30 EV, which looks nearly comically small next to its hulking other vehicles. They range from family-friendly SUVs to futuristic-looking, premium-priced electric muscle cars from Chinese startups such as NextEV and Qiantu.

In most displays they were flanked by up to a dozen SUVs able to carry as many as seven passengers. But with the Chinese SUV market steadily on the rise, prospects look promising for the Korean SUV maker to take its flagship Tivoli, the No. 1 subcompact SUV in Korea, into the Chinese market.

With the economy slowing and air pollution is at the top of the political agenda, the buzz these days in China is less in the luxury market - although there will be plenty of expensive motors on display in Shanghai - and more focused on new-energy vehicles. "Electrification is a major trend in China, with pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles forecast to grow rapidly for many years".

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Volvo Cars, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, has announced plans to produce a pure-electric auto in China for sale worldwide starting in 2019.

When fully charged, the vehicle will have a range of 250-miles.

. It is due to go on sale next year.

In the latest draft policy released in September, Beijing proposed a requirement that they generate credits equivalent to 8 percent of automakers' sales next year by selling battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, rising to 10 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Automakers say they may be unable to meet those targets and regulators have suggested they might be reduced or postponed. The Cabinet's planning agency has said it hopes to have 100,000 public charging stations and 800,000 private stations operating by the end of this year.

Electric cars also are exempt from sales tax and limits on the number of license plates issued in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to curb congestion and smog. Customers are steering the other path: First-quarter SUV sales skyrocketed 21 percent from a year previously to 2.4 million, while electric vehicle purchases sank 4.4 percent to simply 55,929.

"That will create a market pull rather than the government forcing action", he said.

Volvo's status is unusual. Our joint venture partners, in particular SAIC, are even more committed to transformation. But Geely chairman Li Shufu has said he wants its Swedish managers to operate independently.

Mizuno added that plug-in hybrid models would likely follow, but did not say when that vehicle might hit the market in China.

Heizmann said foreign manufacturers also are no longer required to hand over electric technology to Chinese partners. Here's everything we know about the vehicle so far.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. We will use their technology.


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