The latest from the Shanghai auto show

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20 April, 2017

SAIC-GM unveiled its Buick Velite 5, an extended range electric hybrid auto.

The days when the event was a glitzy showcase for poorly-designed rip-offs and copycat models, with leering rubberneckers ogling scantily dressed women on the stands, are well and truly over.

"Buick is committed to expanding its portfolio of new energy vehicles", said a GM statement.

As it now stands, China is the world's largest sales market for electrified cars, with ambitious targets to expand sales of fully electric and hybrid vehicles in order to address congestion and air quality issues in its cities. China is the world's biggest auto market by far, and growth is set to continue this year, albeit at a slower 5 percent, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Carmakers in China are scrambling to develop and sell so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs) in anticipation of tougher new rules expected to be implemented as early as next year. "The Chinese market is the biggest market in the world and it is still growing", said a Hyundai Motor spokesperson.

Ford is really going after the NEV market and this week is showcasing the Mondeo Energi, a plug-in hybrid which will feature an electric drive range of up to 50km and will be manufactured by its joint venture Changan Ford.

Industry executives expect Beijing to ask automakers operating in China ultimately to generate green auto credits equivalent to 12 percent of annual sales volume with NEVs by around 2020, with each green vehicle getting a different number of credits depending on the level of electrification and driving range.

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"We are prioritising our electrification efforts in China to reflect its importance as a global electrified vehicle market and to make lives better, simpler and more cost-effective for Chinese consumers", Ford president and chief executive Mark Fields told the China Daily. Industry officials and experts reckon tightening fuel efficiency regulations through 2020 will compel auto makers to rely more on electrification to boost average fuel efficiency despite the drop-off in subsidies.

BYD Auto says last year's sales rose 70 percent over 2015 to 100,183 vehicles. The two models will be mated to either a seven-speed dual clutch transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. The debut is scheduled for April 19th.

Germany-based consultancy Roland Berger forecasts car-sharing will grow annually by 45 percent.

Though originally aimed at the Spanish market alone, the BMW M4 CS will also be offered in other markets as it is included at the Shanghai appearance.

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. It's a spectacular upgrade on the C5 saloon, a family SUV which shares the Peugeot 5008's DNA.

The automaker hasn't specified the name of the EV it plans to produce, but we do know it's an all-new model based on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). It was previewed as a concept a year ago.

Volkswagen has produced two groups of SUV and will introduce their third, which they called the Skoda Vision E concept. But Geely chairman Li Shufu has said he wants its Swedish managers to operate independently.


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