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Dongfeng Motor sets sights on being top electric car maker

By Li Fusheng | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-12 13:24
The new Nissan Xmotion crossover concept vehicle is debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. [Photo by Bill Pugliano/For China Daily]

Japan's Nissan Motor Co is planning to develop its joint venture with China's Dongfeng Group into the largest electric vehicle maker in the Chinese market in five years, according to a plan released last week in Beijing.

In one of the most ambitious plans by any international brand to tap into China's fast-growing new energy market, the joint venture, Dongfeng Motor Co, said it would introduce at least 20 electrified models across its Dongfeng, Nissan, Venucia and Infiniti brands by 2022.

Of them six models will be introduced by the end of 2019.

The joint venture said it expects sales of such cars will account for 30 percent of its estimated annual sales of 2.6 million units in 2022.

"With our new midterm plan, we have the roadmap to guide us through the shifting terrain ahead," said Jun Seki, president of the joint venture.

Dongfeng Motor's blueprint comes at a time when new energy cars are gaining popularity in China.

China has been the world's largest market for such cars since 2015, with more than 1.7 million on its road as of the end of last year. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimated that their sales will reach at least 1 million this year.

The Chinese government expects new energy cars to account for 20 percent of all car sales in the country by 2025.

Dongfeng Motor's electrification plan constitutes part of its goal to become a top three carmaker in the next five years. It ranked fifth by sales in 2017, with 1.52 million cars in the country.

The carmaker said the growth was primarily fueled by strong demand for the Nissan Sylphy series, X-Trail, Qashqai and Teana; the Venucia T90 and D60; and the Infiniti Q50L and QX50 in the passenger vehicle market, as well as the Nissan Navara and the Dongfeng Duolika and Captain in the light commercial vehicle market.

Over the next five years, it will invest 60 billion yuan ($9.48 billion), introduce 40 models and expand its sales network to include 2,000 dealerships.

Of the new models, at least 15 will be Nissan-branded, 10 will come under the Venucia brand and five will bear the Infiniti logo. Seki said the carmaker will also deploy advanced driver assistance systems and connectivity technologies in all brands in the Chinese market and plans to introduce Levels 1 and 2 autonomous driving technologies in the country starting in 2019.

"Harnessing the power of zero-emission technology, e-POWER, intelligent driving and intelligent integration, we're well-positioned for the competitive and rapidly changing motoring landscape in China," Seki said.

He added that in the last seven years, Dongfeng Motor Co introduced more than 30 models for the Chinese market, including the creation and growth of the local Venucia brand.

"Our expectations for the next five years are no less ambitious," Seki said.

"We'll work to become the most respected company in China and the premier automaker for intelligent mobility in the country."

Dongfeng Motor Co was established in 2003. Since then it has made and delivered more than 15 million vehicles in China, which is Nissan's largest market worldwide.

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