It is half a century since Zhang Jing’s father impressed the neighbours with a mark of his family’s rising fortunes. He was the first in the village to acquire a bicycle; like Ford’s Model T, the Forever came in any colour you liked, as long as it was black. Though America was deep in the golden age of the automobile, those days lay so far ahead for China that small boys would loiter on street corners in Beijing, waiting until a car drove by and the exotic tang of petrol fumes filled their nostrils. Even by the early 1980s, glimpses of imported Soviet Ladas or stately Chinese Red Flag saloons were rare outside the capital.
“We never dreamed we would have a chance to have our own car… and not only one,” Zhang’s husband, Wang Junfang, says.
China’s love affair with cars began late, but it has more than made up for the delay. In 2000 there were 4m cars for the 1.3bn population and experts predicted that the number would be six times higher by the end of the decade. Instead, it soared 20-fold. Two
Two years ago, I sat across a table from a high-level Chinese official discussing the country’s then embarrassing foray into electric cars. China had promised to sell 500,000 such cars by 2011 and lead the world’s transition away from oil. Instead, that year it sold exactly 2,338. “What would you do?” he asked. Surprised by his candor, I gave my two cents: Study successful policies in California. Then I tucked away my files and headed back to Washington.
I wasn’t especially optimistic. Over the next 18 months, however, China transformed its sputtering electric vehicle industry into a global juggernaut, surpassing the United States as the world’s largest market for this critical 21st century technology. At the end of 2015, China was on track to sell 180,000 electric cars, nearly 300% more than the year before and 20 times more than in 2013.
What happened? I claim no credit for this decision, but China did in fact look to California for inspiration.
Until recently, EVs were enormously expensive to build. Bringing the cost down would require technological innovation and mass production, which wasn’t going to happen without a little coaxing from the government. In
China’s car sales in 2015 reached a new high but growth slowed and demand in the world’s largest auto market is expected to cool further this year.
Vehicle makers sold 21.1 million passenger cars—sedans, sport-utility vehicles and minivans—last year, up 7.3% from a year earlier, government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Tuesday. The growth compares a 10% rise in 2014 and a 16% gain in 2013.
The association projected passenger-car sales this year would grow 7.8% to 22.76 million vehicles, helped by government purchase incentives for small cars, which make up nearly 70% of new-car sales.
The auto manufacturers’ group warned that a halving of the 10% purchase tax in October could prompt car shoppers to buy now, leading to lower sales in 2017 in the absence of any new source of growth as the domestic economy cools.
The manufacturers’ group also forecast total vehicle sales, including commercial vehicles, will rise about 7% to 26 million units this year from 24.6 million in 2015.
In December, China’s car sales rose 18% from a year earlier, said the industry group, following a 24% rise
DANA POINT, Calif. — Cadillac’s new XT5 midsize crossover eventually could be sold in the U.S. with a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, brand boss Johan de Nysschen says.
When the 2017 XT5 hits showrooms next month as a replacement for the SRX, it will come only with a 3.6-liter V-6. The new engine is a redesign of the 3.6-liter long used in the SRX. It will produce 310 hp and connect to an eight-speed transmission and a stop-start system for improved fuel economy.
A 2.0-liter turbo that generates an estimated 258 hp will be offered — but only in China. De Nysschen said it’s possible that Cadillac would add that engine to the U.S. lineup, without discussing potential timing.
“I actually think we would do well to consider that for the U.S.,” de Nysschen said on the sidelines of the XT5 national media drive here this month.
Several other luxury midsize crossovers are offered with smaller engines, including the Audi Q5 (a 2.0 turbo), Lincoln MKX (2.7-liter EcoBoost) and Mercedes-Benz GLE (2.1-liter diesel).
Cars will become ‘personal companions,’ Krueger says
MUNICH — The futuristic autonomous, highly connected Vision Next 100 concept car shown last week hints at BMW’s future direction into increased connectivity, says its CEO.
Our car keys have an uncanny ability to get lost inside coat pockets or underneath couch cushions — or to disappear altogether. Prior to the 1990s, this wasn’t a big deal. You could get a spare key at any hardware store or locksmith shop, not to mention at the car dealership, of course. But because it was easy to copy a key, it was also easy for a thief to steal your car. These days, advances in key technology have made vehicles more difficult to steal, but the price has been costlier key replacements.
Here’s a rundown of what you’ll face in the way of cost if you have to replace your key, along with some alternatives that could lower the bill. The prices quoted here are for Santa Monica, California, and West Los Angeles, an area where an hour of labor at an auto dealership can cost more than $100. Labor costs in your region may vary.
Basic Keys and Fob
A basic car key, which was common up until the mid-to late-1990s, has no security feature other than its unique cut. The shank, which is the long metal part of the key, has cuts
en or 15 years ago, choosing the oil for your car was simple. All you needed to know was the viscosity — 5W-30, for example — and you could get a few bottles at the local auto parts store. But this simplicity is starting to go away.
General Motors’ transition to a new oil specification for all its 2011 and newer vehicles is bringing new attention to the issue of manufacturer oil specifications. GM isn’t the first to require such a specification, but its move signals a change in the car-maintenance landscape.
A manufacturer’s oil specification is a unique blend that an automaker creates and mandates for use in its vehicles. GM’s new oil product, Dexos, consolidates its five prior recommended oil specifications into two blends: Dexos1 for gasoline-powered vehicles and Dexos2 for diesels.
GM and other automakers warn that failure to use their factory-specified oils could void a car’s warranty. These new oil specifications can also create confusion and cost issues for consumers who change the oil themselves or take their cars to local mechanics who may not be aware of the changes.
Oil Has Changed
The oil inside a modern engine might
Gasoline is expensive and you’re looking for every way possible to save money at the pump. You already shy away from premium fuel, knowing that your car doesn’t require it. You’d like to save a few pennies per gallon more by going to an off-brand gas station. But you can’t get rid of the nagging fear: Is the cheap gas going to damage your car’s engine?
Edmunds.com put this question to experts in several fields, including an automotive engineer at a major carmaker, gasoline manufacturers and two engineers with the American Automobile Association (AAA). It boils down to this: You can stop worrying about cheap gas. You’re unlikely to hurt your car by using it.
Because of the advances in engine technology, a car’s onboard computer is able to adjust for the inevitable variations in fuel, so most drivers won’t notice a drop off in performance between different brands of fuel, from the most additive-rich gas sold by the major brands to the bare-bones stuff at your corner quickie mart.
Still, spending a few extra pennies per gallon might provide peace of mind to someone who just purchased a new car and wants to keep it as long as possible. People with older
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited and state-owned SAIC Motor Corp. are set to launch the first Internet car next year, the Global Times reported on March 12, Thursday.
According to Alibaba’s press statement, the car will feature Alibaba’s Yun operating system, which will provide drivers with real-time traffic information, route options and music through the company’s Internet services, cloud computing and big data technology.
The two companies also announced that they will set up an open fund of 1 billion yuan ($160 million) for companies who will be interested to incorporate their own innovations for the development of the country’s Internet car industry.
Zhang Yi, CEO of Guangzhou-based iiMedia Research, said that the creation of an open fund will entice more companies to participate and fast-tract the development of China’s Internet car industry.
He added that the Internet car is one way to draw consumers’ attention away from foreign auto brands, which are often preferred by Chinese consumers due to brand value and advanced technology, and help increase sales of local manufacturers like SAIC.
Data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers
Over the coming weeks, a few Volvo cars will begin a historic journey from southwestern China to the US. The Swedish company’s S60L sedans will be transported by truck to Shanghai’s port, loaded on to car carriers for shipment across the Pacific, and finally rolled off in Los Angeles.
Manufactured at Volvo’s new plant in Chengdu, the first made-in-China passenger cars purpose-built for export to the US are a reminder of how far the country — like Japan and South Korea before it — has come in global manufacturing terms.
China has evolved from a supplier of low-cost, labour-intensive products to an exporter of what Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, calls “the most complex consumer product on earth”.
“China will probably follow the path we have seen with Japan and Korea but will do it faster,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s chief executive, said at this week’s Auto Shanghai, one of China’s two annual premier car shows. “I would say 2020 is realistic to see Chinese cars on the global market.”
Unlike Volvo, a unit of Chinese carmaker Geely, most multinational car executives are reluctant to talk about China as
Jaguar Land Rover said sales in 2015 rose 5 percent to 487,065 vehicles, missing the half-million delivery target the British manufacturer set a year ago, as a decline in China offset gains made from record demand in Europe and North America.
The luxury unit of India’s Tata Motors Ltd. posted its sixth consecutive year of gains, with Land Rover sport utility vehicle sales rising 6 percent to 403,079 deliveries on demand for the new Discovery Sport compact SUV and the more expensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. The Jaguar brand sold 83,986 cars, an increase of 3 percent, the Whitley, England-based division said in a statement.
The carmaker posted a 24 percent sales drop in China, in the world’s largest vehicle market, where a sharp economic slowdown and a government crackdown on extravagant official spending have tempered expectations for growth. The luxury-vehicle maker, which contributed 80 percent of Mumbai-based Tata’s revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30, outlined plans last month for a $1.5 billion auto factory in Slovakia, part of an effort to expand lineups at the Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates.
“With China slowing even further, 2016 may be a difficult
HORIBA – a world-leader in automotive test systems – is expanding its operation through the purchase of the global advanced vehicle engineering, research and product testing business operated by MIRA.
The investment, which was completed today (July 14 2015), will see HORIBA expand its current portfolio, with a move into vehicle engineering and testing consultancy.
Both HORIBA and MIRA – now known as HORIBA MIRA Ltd. – are set to benefit from the sale, which enables HORIBA to address the emerging areas of next generation mobility including electrified powertrain, intelligent vehicles and vehicle attributes technologies. By this integration, HORIBA can provide a comprehensive solution underpinned by a suite of test systems and advanced vehicle engineering capabilities. Collectively, the two companies have 140 years of experience in their respective fields, with both celebrating 70 years of operation in 2015/16.
The sale will allow MIRA to continue with its ambitious plans for growth by building on its unparalleled reputation in vehicle R&D, engineering and testing. The sale will also allow MIRA to invest in its current facilities and enhance its capabilities on a global scale.
Atsushi Horiba, Chairman, President and CEO of HORIBA, comments:
The Swedish car company – now under Chinese ownership – is flourishing under its new management and preparing to export vehicles made in its new Chengdu plant to the US
Drive the traffic-clogged streets of Shanghai, where red lights and stop signs are ignored rather than obeyed, and the horn is a life-saving device more likely to wear out before a set of tires, and it’s obvious why China is Volvo’s biggest market.
With a history of producing the safest cars on the road, the Swedish company’s premium vehicles are much in demand in China from drivers who want to protect themselves and their passengers. Last year Chinese motorists bought 81,221 Volvos – 17.4pc of the worldwide total of 466,000. The company’s home market of Sweden accounted for 13.2pc of sales, America 12.1pc and Britain 8.8pc.
It’s not just the fact that China is the world’s largest auto market – set to make up 28pc of the 89m vehicles sold this year, according to IHS – that makes the country so vital to Volvo. While most might see Volvo as being as Swedish as smörgåsbord, for many it’s a surprise to learn
Despite China’s cooling economy including the automotive market, South Korean suppliers are continuing to invest in that country to keep up with latest trends.
Automotive compounder Kopla Co. Ltd. is investing $45 million to build a production base in Changshu, China. The Siheung, South Korea-based company has recently signed an agreement on the project, according to an Oct. 14 announcement from the Changshu New & Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone.
Kopla will build a 25,000-square-meter facility in Changshu to produce high-performance composite materials for the automotive industry. It anticipates 1 billion yuan of annual sales from the plant once production starts.
The company also will set up a R&D center in Changshu and work on new product development projects with major OEMs including General Motors, Hyundai and Kia, the statement said.
Ulsan, South Korea-based automotive molder Hanil E-Hwa Co. Ltd. also is building capacity in China, with plans to invest $33 million in an interior parts manufacturing facility in Cangzhou, in Hebei province. The Cangzhou local government announced the project last month and expects the facility to reach capacity of 250,000 sets of interior parts annually.
Incheon, South Korea-based Top Metal Works Co. Ltd. is co-investing $13 million with Shanghai Yongli Belting Co. Ltd.
China continues to dominate the global auto sector as manufacturers here look to expand their overseas operations via joint ventures and alliances, according to KPMG’s thirteenth annual Global Automotive Executive Survey.
The survey, which interviewed 200 automotive executives globally, found that nine out of the top twenty manufacturers expected to increase global market share by 2016, are Chinese brands – including the likes of Geely, SAIC and Chery. They are setting their sights on the global car market with vehicles that are becoming technologically competitive, the survey notes
Andrew Thomson, Co-Head of Automotive, KPMG China, said: “The survey indicates huge potential for both domestic and international auto manufacturers in China. Key drivers of success in this market include the Government’s ambitious plans for new energy vehicles, as well as rising levels of disposable income.”
Additionally, Thomson sees a future in which increased cooperation between Chinese automakers and their joint venture partners will be critical. “Given the recently announced changes in investment policy in China, foreign OEMs will become increasingly reliant on their JV partners for market access and development. At the same time, Chinese OEMs have increasing aspirations to develop overseas.
DETROIT — General Motors global product chief Mark Reuss said that a large luxury sedan being developed for Cadillac will “define its brand” and is a prerequisite to competing against rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.
“If we’re a serious luxury carmaker, it’s really important to us,” Reuss said at an event here Tuesday.
“This is a car that Cadillac needs, that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence,” Reuss told reporters. “That’s the mission.”
Cadillac’s chief engineer, Dave Leone, told Bloomberg last week that the rear-wheel drive sedan would arrive sometime in late 2015. It was the first time a GM official has publicly given a timeframe for the long-rumored sedan, codenamed LTS for now.
Reuss declined to discuss specifics but said Cadillac’s entry in the large luxury sedan segment “has got to be a symbol of excellence.”
Engineering mules of the sedan have been spotted recently being put through the paces at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich. It’s expected to ride on a new rwd platform and compete against the Mercedes-Benz S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8.
Reuss downplayed Cadillac’s sluggish U.S. sales, which