Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

China emerges as electric battleground for top carmakers

Car exhaust fumes The Chinese government is cracking down on internal combustion engines
Sherri Watson | 07 February, 2018, 15:06

According to the President of Nissan's China operations, the automaker plans to increase vehicle deliveries by 1 million units every year by 2022, with electric cars dominating its revenue across the region.

Nissan joins global automakers including Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co that are looking to China to propel future revenue and are investing billions of United States dollars to develop electric vehicles that will appeal to Chinese drivers. Nissan, the biggest Japanese vehicle manufacturer across China, has also reportedly entered into joint ventures with the Dongfeng Motor corporation and Renault SA to manufacture electric cars for the Chinese customers. For comparison, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and Honda each only sold around one million cars here previous year. The German automaker plans to steadily build on its strength in China with such new assets as electrification and autonomous driving, said Jochem Heizmann, head of Chinese operations. Revenue in China is expected to hit 300 billion yuan ($48 billion) in the same year, Nissan said.

"In the last seven years, DFL undertook ambitious plans to grow sales and revenue - which it succeeded in doing through significant investment, a dynamic workforce and the introduction of 32 models for the Chinese market", said Jun Seki, president of Dongfeng Motor Co.

Nissan and Dongfeng said they plan to develop 40 new models-half of them all-electric or gasoline-electric hybrids-over the next five years.

Overall, Chinese sales of sedans, SUVs and minivans rose 1.4 percent previous year from 2016 to 24.7 million units. Infiniti, one of Nissan's luxury brands, will see one quarter of its output devoted to electric models by 2022 and 100 per cent by 2025.

In 2019, Nissan for example plans to launch three such lower-cost EVs under the Venucia name.

"Technically we are ready, but we still need government support", said Seki.

Second-ranked GM, which sold 4.04 million vehicles in China previous year, is preparing to roll out more electrics there, including under the Cadillac luxury brand. Late last year, Volkswagen said it planned to invest over €10 billion ($12.5 billion) in building electric and hybrid cars in China over the next few years.

Seki said Nissan wants to boost Venucia's annual volume by more than 400,000 vehicles to be able to sell as many as 600,000 vehicles a year by 2022.