GM announces China version of hybrid Volt

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

Customers are steering the other path: First-quarter SUV sales skyrocketed 21 percent from a year previously to 2.4 million, while electric vehicle purchases sank 4.4 percent to simply 55,929.

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Electric vehicles accounted for just 1.8 percent of China's auto sales previous year.

New auto sales in China jumped 15 percent last year to 24.4 million units from a year earlier helped by solid sales of luxury sedans and crossover SUVs.

At the Shanghai show, the industry's biggest marketing event this year, nearly every global and Chinese brand plans to display at least an electric concept vehicle, if not a model ready for sale, alongside its latest SUVs and sedans.

Kia also plans to launch the K2 Cross small crossover in the neighboring market later this month. The company says it plans to develop plug-in hybrid versions of all its models.

To that aim, it signed a letter of intent with Shaanxi Automobile Group in October to study the feasibility for a joint venture in China. "The time is right for Ford to expand our electrified auto line-up and investments in China".

Volkswagen holds the overall sales lead in the Chinese auto market. Honda Motor Co. will show its new NeuV, a futuristic concept auto the company has suggested might get an electric drivetrain.

Chinese auto brands, which accounted for 41% of cars sold past year, made up just 1% of recalls, prompting suggestions from some observers that AQSIQ, the country's quality management institute, is not enforcing standards evenly, although others believe local brands prefer a more low-key approach.

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.

Manufacturers failing to meet those targets could buy credits from companies that produce more electrics, helping to subsidize development.

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Regulators have eased some regulations in an effort to encourage foreign companies to play a bigger role in developing the Chinese industry but manufacturers say they are waiting to see the final requirements.

Volvo's announcement about the EV confirms Automotive News Europe's report last week about the model.

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

A total of 1,400 complete vehicles were displayed, including 159 new energy vehicles and 56 concept cars. Prices start at 265,800 yuan ($38,600).

With the economy slowing and air pollution is at the top of the political agenda, the buzz these days in China is less in the luxury market - although there will be plenty of expensive motors on display in Shanghai - and more focused on new-energy vehicles.

The government also is spending heavily to increase the appeal of electrics by expanding China's network of charging stations to reduce "range anxiety", or buyers' fear of running out of power.

High start-up costs and other hurdles in the fledgling car-share industry mean no one is making money yet, analysts say.

A BYD Dynasty electric concept vehicle is displayed at Shanghai Auto Show during its media day, in Shanghai, China April 19, 2017. It also plans to bring an all-electric sport-utility vehicle to China over the next five years.

Electric cars are exempt from sales tax and quotas on license plates ssued in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to curb congestion and smog. If so it would see the now Chinese-owned MG taking on the Tesla Model S.

"There's a legal framework, but our view is that there is a business framework that probably for us is even more important", he said.

"The industry has to prepare for the worst case", said Zeng.

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