The Skoda Kamiq Is a Cool Crossover You Can’t Buy
Much like any mainstream automaker out there, Skoda also jumped on the SUV bandwagon, launching two crossovers over the last two years. Following the introduction of the midsize Kodiaq in 2016, Skoda unveiled the compact Karoq in 2017. Come 2018, and the Czech automaker is adding a third crossover to the lineup. It’s called the Kamiq, it was unveiled in China, and you won’t be able to buy it unless you move to the Asian country.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan
Unveiled as a concept car at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, the sedan version of the A-Class unveiled itself to the world in production form at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. As expected, the A-Class Sedan is pretty much a shrunken CLA, boasting a coupe-style roof and a short deck lid. Shown here is the longer wheelbase version developed specifically for the Chinese market.
Set to go on sale in the second half of 2018, the A-Class L sedan is produced at produced at Beijing Benz Automotive (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor. While the A-Class L won’t be sold outside China, a regular wheelbase model will follow in the second half of the year to take on the Audi A3 Sedan in Europe and the United States. And AMG variant is also likely, but until that happens, let’s find out what sets the A-Class Sedan apart from its hatchback sibling.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan.
Meet the Volkswagen Lavida - One of Volkswagen’s Most Important Models in the Chinese Market
With 3.2 million vehicles sold in 2017, Volkswagen is doing extremely well in China, and it’s not surprising that the company’s current strategy includes the introduction of nine new models in the said market in 2018. One of those cars is the Arteon, which we already saw break cover in Europe and the U.S. But unlike these two markets, China is getting the Arteon with a CC badge. Another new model is the Lavida, which was redesigned after six years on the market and launched at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show.
BMW’s Electric Offensive Now Includes 80,000 New Public Charging Poles in China
Every automaker has ambitions to get a bigger piece of the electric car market in China, and since the segment itself is on the cusp of a game-changing boom, that’s exactly what we’re seeing from a company like BMW. The German automaker is announcing a massive expansion to its charging network in China with plans to install more than 80,000 charging poles in over 100 Chinese cities. The company’s goal is to have these poles up-and-running when its fleet of new electric cars hit the market in the coming years.
China Wants Half Of All New Cars To Come With AI By 2020
Chinese state planners have announced that the nation aims to have half of its new cars equipped with artificial intelligence by the year 2020. The announcement comes amid China’s plans to ramp up connected car and AI technology over the next decade.
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Chinese Businessman Pays for a BMW With Coins: Video
A Chinese man bought a BMW. That’s not exactly news-worthy, right? What makes this worthy of the news is that the man paid for the first installment for the Bimmer entirely with coins that added up to almost $11,000. Our parents did say that the loose change from our piggy banks would come in handy at some point in time.
Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV?
We already know that the Audi Q2 is here because it was launched in 2017. We also know that a long-wheelbase version of the Q2, dubbed the Q2 L, will go on sale in China in 2019. Now it seems that the small crossover family is getting another member in the form of an all-electric Q2 L that’s tipped to make its debut in the next few years.
There’s a New Porsche Design Studio Inside a Chinese Mall!
If you’re a company that’s raking in the big bucks in a market like China, you can get creative in how you want to offer your vehicles in that market. Take Porsche, for example. The German automaker considers China as its biggest market and it has 100 sales locations throughout the country to show for it. The newest of these locations is a studio the company just opened inside a shopping mall in Guangzhou, China. Yep, that’s how Porsche rolls in China these days.
China Government Bans 553 Cars Because Pollution
It’s no secret that China has some of the worst air pollution in the world even with a huge improvement over the last year. And, the Chinese government thinks it can make it even better. It all starts with the banning of 553 vehicle models that don’t meet fuel consumption standards. We have yet to see a full list of specific vehicles that have been banned, but we do know they include models from Chevy, Audi, and Mercedes Benz – models like the Audi FV7145LCDBG sedan (Audi A1,) Mercedes BJ302ETAL2 sedan, and Chevy’s SGM7161DAA2 sedan (Similar to a Chevy Aveo). The production ban will commence on January 1st, 2018 according to the China Vehicle Technology Sevice Center and is the first official ban on specific vehicles in the country.
Wang Liushend, an analyst at China Merchants Securities, said, “To emphasize a cut back on energy consumption, such documents will surface frequently in the future. It’s an essential move to ensure the healthy development of the industry in the long run.”
As far as the number of vehicles actually produced in China, your guess is as good as ours, but according to the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, Cui Dongshu, those 553 models account for a “very small” percentage. Of course, vehicles are a very small part of China’s pollution problem, with air quality typically getting much worth in the winter months, as such, the country has worked tirelessly to switch homes from coal to natural gas heating and it has even reduced steel production by as much as 50 percent in some areas.
In the end, this ban might help the country a little bit, however, it’s a long road to travel, and you can surely expect the country to initialize more bans in the future. It has even said that it would like to jump on the wagon of banning vehicles powered by fossil fuel at some point – much like France and the U.K. have aimed to do by 2040. Is this what we can expect in the future. Will more countries, including the U.S. begin strong-arming automakers to quit producing certain vehicles? Is the move away from fossil fuels happening too soon? Are we really ready to go fossil fuel free in the next 20 years? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
BMW Is Poised To Become Best-Selling Luxury Car Brand in China
BMW is in the last stages of taking victory in China as the top-selling luxury brand in 2017, narrowly edging out rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Through November 2017, the Bavarian automaker has sold 542,362 units in China, barely a hair over Mercedes, which has sold 539,728 units in the same time frame. For its part, Audi fell from being the top-seller in China to third on the list with 528,706 sold units in 2017.
Geely Looking To Acquire Daimler AG Stock
Geely is plucking assets left and right. First, it was Volvo. Then it turned its attention to Lynk & Co, the London Taxi Company, and, most recently, Lotus. Now it looks like the Chinese auto conglomerate is looking to dip its hands into one of the world’s most prestigious auto brands. A report from China Central Television revealed that Geely is looking to acquire a small take in Daimler AG, the parent company of a certain German automaker that calls itself Mercedes-Benz.
Something New: Ford will use Alibaba to Sell Cars Online in China
Ford is making a push to become a direct seller in China after a Reuters report revealed that the American automaker is in the final stages of negotiations with Alibaba to sell cars directly to Chinese customers through the tech giant’s online retail arm Tmall. The report further claims that an announcement surrounding the joint venture is expected to take place today. In addition to plans of selling its cars online, Ford is also looking into developing a brick-and-mortar “Automotive Vending Machine” store concept with Alibaba.
Meet the Jeep Grand Commander - A Jeep Built Just for China
It’s no secret Jeep has big plans for the Chinese market and these leaked plans of a seven-passenger SUV confirm the automaker’s future goals. It’s called the Grand Commander, and it’s basically the production version of the Jeep Yuntu Concept seen at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The news comes by way of China’s National Trademark Office where the patent images were lifted.
Reports around the web indicate the Grand Commander will utilize Jeep’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that debuted with the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. The engine will likely produce the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Wrangler’s future plug-in hybrid powertrain is also expected in the Grand Commander. Expect Fiat Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic and an AWD or 4WD system, as well.
Information on the Grand Commander’s debut date and its first model year is still absent, however, it’s expected Jeep will reveal the three-row SUV at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show in April. If that’s true, the Grand Commander could be on track for the 2019 model year. Jeep will most likely build the Grand Commander in China.
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Polestar Production Plant Underway in China
Polestar is taking a big step in its reinvention as an independent automaker with the announcement of a new production facility in China. Called the Polestar Production Center, the state-of-the-art facility is expected to be completed sometime in the middle of 2018. It’s already being billed as the most eco-friendly car plant in China and one of the most efficient ones in the world. Once its up-and-running, the facility will become the production home of the automaker’s line-up of vehicles, including the 600-horsepower Polestar 1 coupé.
China’s Elevated Bus Project Was A Scam After All
It seemed like a good idea at first, maybe even revolutionary, but like most good ideas with no follow through, the elevated bus that was being developed in China appears to have been nothing more than a scam. According to local newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, Chinese authorities have opened up an investigation on the people behind the “Transit Elevated Bus” for alleged illegal fundraising.
The report also says that over 30 people connected to the capital-raising platform Huaying Kailai have been detained and are under investigation. This comes after 72 investors in the project filed lawsuits against the company, which was able to raise over 9 billion yuan, or roughly around $1.3 billion, since the project’s highly publicized debut in Qinghuangdao last year. Apparently, the promise of a technological revolution on Chinese roads quickly devolved into suspicion about the company’s real agenda. Design firm Autek learned quickly about the veracity of the company after having to foot the bill for the millions spent working on the bus. Things got worse when the test track that was used in the unveiling of the elevated bus was left on the road with seemingly no intention of getting packed up. Ultimately, the local government of Qinghuangdao ordered the tracks be destroyed and the test bus sent to a parking garage, presumably to collect dust for the foreseeable future.
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Renault Looking To Sell EVs In China On The Cheap
It’s no secret China has become the world’s largest market for electric cars and automakers from all corners of the world have taken notice and are gearing up to enter the lucrative market, all with the hope of biting off a big piece of that pie. One of these companies is Renault and part of its plan to get a chunk of the market is to offer electric vehicles in China that will cost as little as $8,000.
Yes, an $8,000 Renault electric car could happen in China, all thanks to the increasing amount of incentives the Chinese government is offering to get its citizens to buy electric cars. Right now, these incentives are nearing $20,000, and that’s per vehicle. That provides a company like Renault plenty of wiggle room to develop electric cars while not squeezing itself out on a small budget. Renault-Nissan big boss Carlos Ghosn made the prediction of sorts at the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris last week and while he didn’t dive into the specifics on how the company plans to navigate itself around those price points, he did say that the company is embracing the challenge of making this breakthrough because, in his own words, “it’s going to change the game.”
So how exactly can Renault accomplish this goal? For one, it already has a local partnership in place with Chinese automaker Donfeng. Together, the two companies have created a local joint venture, Dongfeng Renault Automobile Co., to develop electric vehicles together with testing for a self-driving EV already set to start this month. In addition, Renault has already indicated plans to move away from traditional engines like diesels and focus more on zero-emissions vehicles. On that note, it also has some technologies in place to help aid it in its development of electric cars, including those that are earmarked for the massive Chinese market. One such technology is the Z.E. 40 batteries that was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show with the 2017 Renault Zoe.
Considering the stakes that are involved in breaking into the Chinese market, Renault looks to be making a push to be one of the first global brands to make its market on the growing market. Offering an electric car that could cost as little as $8,000 after government incentives is one way to do that.
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Chinese Startup Gets $1 Billion Funding To Build Four-Door Sports EV
A Chinese startup company named LeEco has raised a staggering $1.08 billion in its effort to put its LeSEE electric car concept into production. In a statement, LeEco’s parent company, Le Holdings Co., was able to secure the funding through investments made by a handful of companies, including Legend Holdings Corp., Yinga Capital Management Co., and China Minsheng Trust.
The funding is expected to be used in the development of the LeSEE, a concept that was first brought into our attention in 2015 as a four-door sports coupe that will be powered by electric technology. No details have been bared about the car other than its prototype looks and its purported top speed of 130 mph.
LeEco founder Jia Yeuting has been spearheading the development of the prototype LeSEE with the objective of offering it to a Chinese market that has embraced the advent of electric vehicles in the wake of stricter emissions regulations in the country.
It’s unclear how LeEco will plan to use the funding it has received, but considering that Jia admitted that financing was the biggest problem the company had getting its EV venture off the ground, that won’t be a problem for the company anymore.
Expect to hear more about the LeEco and its LeSEE electric car concept in the near future. The company has already made bold proclamations with plans to sell 400,000 units per year and that its four-door coupe will be better than the Model S in "every area."
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Volkswagen And JAC Sign MOU For Joint Collaboration Of EVs In China
In the midst of all the issues plaguing the company right now, the Volkswagen Group is still finding time to wheel and deal with new partners in an effort to further expand its business empire. The latest example of this comes as the German auto conglomerate has signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, more commonly known as JAC in the auto industry, for a possible joint venture centered around developing electric vehicles for the Chinese market.
Specific details surrounding the partnership, including the investment size and business model of the possible joint venture, have yet to be revealed because no formal deals have been signed. The MOU, as it stands now, is also not legally binding until a final agreement is signed and approved by relevant bodies. According to Automotive News Europe, a formal agreement isn’t expected for another five months.
The German automaker did say in a press release that both parties intend to enter discussions on partnerships involving a variety of avenues, including research and development, manufacturing, sales, and zero-emission mobility services.
The two companies also plan to enter into a joint venture to develop, build, and sell electric vehicles in the Chinese market, a potentially lucrative arrangement for both Volkswagen and JAC given the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the market – sales of electric and plug-in hybrid models quadrupled in the country in 2015 and has no signs of slowing down – and the Chinese government openly embracing the models and pushing for consumers to buy them.
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2017 BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance
BMW fired the first shot of a new war against Audi and Mercedes when it introduced the X1 in 2009 as its entry-level and resident mini SUV. Audi and Mercedes quickly returned fire, launching the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA. Fast forward to 2016 and we still find the Q3, GLA, and X1 duking it out, but the X1 evolved into a second-generation model for 2016. With China being a pretty big market for BMW, and let’s not forget the Chinese love for long-wheelbase cars, it came as no surprise that the 2017 model year comes with an X1 LWB. In base form, it is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder with a measly 136 horsepower, but it does come with a somewhat premium interior to go with some sport exterior looks – for a small SUV anyway. Like all other LWB models from BMW, the car was practically the same inside and out in comparison to is shorter brother, but that’s about to change a little bit as BMW has just announced an electrified X1 LWB that borrows a drivetrain from its cousin, the 225xe Active Tourer.
I know, that sounds like a mouthful, and let’s be honest, the name is ridiculously long, but it does speak to the electric nature of China’s latest plug-in hybrid model. While I advise you not to get your hopes up for any big styling differences, as there are none, the electrified drivetrain promises excellent fuel economy while the innovative battery location prevents any major loss to interior space or comfort. On top of that, it comes with a little extra power and technically it has all-wheel drive as well, thanks to the addition of that electric motor. So with that said, let’s revisit to overall styling of the X1 LWB and talk more about this hybrid drivetrain that turns the wheels and gets you from point A to point B.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance.
Tesla Drops "Self-Driving" Phrase On Chinese Website After Reported Autopilot Crash
The Chinese auto market is the biggest in the world and it just might also be the most influential. Tesla found that out the hard way when it was forced to acknowledge a mistake it made on its Chinese website describing its Autopilot system as a “self-driving” feature. The terminology has since been scrubbed from the website and replaced with a phrase that more closely translates to “self-assisted driving.”
The brouhaha started when Luo Zhen, a Chinese owner of a Tesla Model S, sideswiped a stopped car along the side of a road when his Model S’s Autopilot system engaged. Luo spoke with Reuters in the aftermath of the incident, calling Tesla and its local sales staff out for misrepresenting the technology’s capabilities by touting its functions using a phrase that translated to “self-driving.” Luo’s claims of misrepresentation were corroborated by other owners of Tesla models in the country, with some, including Luo, even saying that demonstrators took their hands off the steering wheel and then took their feet off the pedals to showcase the system’s capabilities.
Tesla admitted that the crash took place but the normally stubborn automaker was also forced to take the unusual step of acknowledging the mistake it made on its website. A Tesla spokesperson spoke with Reuters after the changes in the website to deny that Luo’s crash and the publicity it generated were the reasons behind the edits. According to the spokesperson, the change was simply part of Tesla’s “ongoing work in improving translations.”
Unfortunately, a spin like that is as obvious as it is blatant. That or the timing of the edits in the wake of the crash’s publicity can be chalked up to a happy coincidence. In any case, Reuters also learned that the electric car maker has reached out to its staff in the country retraining them to inform future customers that the Autopilot system is a “self-assisted technology” and that drivers must always have their hands on the wheel when engaging the system.
It’s unclear if Tesla if going to make a similar move in rephrasing the system’s capabilities in other markets, but the fact that it had to do it in China goes to show how important that market is for the company and any attempts at pissing it off would be bad for business.
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