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Volvo will produce its first electric vehicle in China

Volvo will produce its first electric vehicle in China”

Japan's Honda Motor Co will launch an all-electric battery auto in China next year as demand for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) expands in the world's largest automobile market, a senior company executive said. Consumers are steering the other way: First-quarter SUV sales soared 21 percent from a year earlier to 2.4 million, while electric vehicle purchases sank 4.4 percent to just 55,929.

"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 Shanghai Auto Show, which opens for the public on Friday, is seeing electric and hybrid cars from all the participants from all over the world.

Automakers face a dilemma in China's huge but crowded market: Regulators are pushing them to sell electric cars, but buyers want gas-guzzling SUVs.

Global automakers unveiled new SUVs, electric vehicles, and futuristic concept cars at the Shanghai Auto Show on Wednesday, racing for an edge in the world's biggest auto market as growth slows after years of frenzied sales.

Unable to afford a vehicle, Shanghai university student Long Yi endured an expensive taxi commute across his vast city until he started using one of the car-sharing schemes quickly gaining momentum in China.

"We believe the future of driving will be autonomous driving and that is true for China as well", said Daimler's China CEO Hubertus Troska, adding the firm would push to bring the next-generation functions to the Asian giant. Honda Motor Co. will show its new NeuV, a futuristic concept vehicle the company has suggested might get an electric drivetrain.

SsangYong signed a letter of intent for a joint venture with Shaanxi Automobile Group in China in October in an attempt to build a production plant in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, a move seen as meant to locally manufacture cars to be sold in China.

The dominant players in China's electric vehicle market are local, including state-owned Beijing Automotive Group, and Warren Buffett-backed BYD 1211.HK 002594.SZ .

Jochem Heizmann, China CEO for Volkswagen, the country's top auto brand, told reporters in Shanghai VW would partner with Chinese car-sharing operator Shouqi in multiple cities, partly to boost electric-vehicle sales.

"You have to achieve cars which are competitive", he said.

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.

Hence the proposal, released in September, calling for electric or gasoline-electric hybrids to make up 8 percent of every automaker's output next year. He said the brands plan to roll out a total of 10 new locally produced SUVs over the next two years.

SAIC, Geely and other rising Chinese automakers such a Great Wall 601633.SS and Chery Automobile Co Ltd [CHERY.UL] have a long way to go to achieve the sales levels of the U.S., European, Japanese and Korean brands in China. Toyota has said it will locally build plug-in hybrids and sell them in China, starting in 2018, although it has not said when all-electric auto models would hit Chinese showrooms. The Czech carmaker describes it as an SUV coupé that has a range of up to 500km on a single charge, with a top speed of 180km/h.



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