Honda to launch all-electric battery car in China next year: executive

Honda to launch all-electric battery car in China next year: executive

Foreign automakers have always been building cars in China to meet surging demand in the world's most populous nation.

Those two joint ventures accounted for about 16.5% of the Chinese passenger vehicle market previous year, compared with just 1.3% share for SAIC's own brands.

Sales were boosted past year by the government's temporary halving of a 10-percent purchase tax on small-engine cars in late 2015.

"It's hard for someone with an EV to come and take away market share from SUVs", stated Ben Cavender of China Market Research Group.

The announcement at the Shanghai auto show adds to a flurry of plans by major automakers to roll out electric models in China, their industry's biggest market.

More than 600,000 people attended the Seoul Motor Show this month to see the next big thing in the auto industry. "Various factors such as a worsened market condition and issues related to Thaad led to the drastic fall in sales [for Hyundai and Kia] in March", Lee Jae-il, an analyst from Eugene Investment & Securities, said in a recent report. SUVs made up 40% of sales, while sedan purchases fell 4.9%.

-Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, plans to launch its first pure-electric auto in China next year as Beijing steps up pressure on the industry to promote alternatives to gasoline. General Motors Co.'s Buick unit and Ford Motor Co. also have announced new electric vehicles for China this year.

The ix35 SUV will be sold in China in two versions later this year: one with a 1.4-liter gasoline turbo engine and the other a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter petrol mill, Hyundai said. Lynk & Co cars should sell for up to 250,000 yuan - in the heart of the mainstream segment that accounts for about 45% of Chinese passenger vehicle sales and that is now dominated by foreign brands such as Volkswagen, GM, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd.

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In the wake of its diesel emissions scandal, VW is focusing much more on electric vehicles and software-based technologies - strategies also being pursued by its Chinese joint venture partners, which include SAIC and First Automotive Works (FAW).

Electric cars have also seen hot growth, fuelled by green incentives from the government, which is mulling new quotas requiring carmakers to produce certain amounts of "new energy" vehicles.

NextEV, a Shanghai-based startup, says it will display 11 vehicles in Shanghai from its all-electric NIO brand.

With China's fast-expanding middle class adopting modern, mobile lifestyles, passenger-car sales have almost quintupled over the past decade. Kia, whose compact sedan K3 was listed as the 12th best-selling vehicle in China in February, also intends to introduce two new models designed for Chinese drivers.

Combining BorgWarner's eGearDrive transmission and the high-voltage hairpin electric motor, the company's eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for P4-type hybrid vehicles or pure electric vehicles. He said the brands plan to roll out a total of 10 new locally produced SUVs over the next two years.

China's stand-out EV success so far is BYD Auto Co.

SsangYong Motor, which is 72.85 percent owned by Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., plans to display four SUV models - the compact Korando C, the small Tivoli, and the Tivoli Air (sold as the XLB overseas) gasoline and diesel SUVs - at the show to increase its brand awareness and lure customers.

Heizmann said VW, which vies with GM for the title of China's top-selling automaker, expects annual sales of at least 400,000 "new energy vehicles" - the government's term for electric or gasoline-electric hybrids - by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025.

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