Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC) plans to invest 6 billion yuan ($879 million) in researching of and making new energy cars starting this year and during the next two years, said group chairman Hu Maoyuan Tuesday.
The investment includes 2 billion yuan to support the research and development of new energy cars, 2 billion yuan for producing parts for new energy cars and 2 billion yuan for the building of car-making factories, Hu told an industry forum in Beijing.
He said SAIC plans to put to market a series of new energy cars next year that could save fuel as much as 30 percent; by 2012, cars that save more than 50 percent less fuel and purely electric cars would be rolled out.
China's automobile production hit 10 million units in October this year, making its the third country in the world to surpass the annual output mark, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
But experts worry traditional cars' reliance on fossil fuels would cause more serious environmental pollution, which requires "sustainable development", in Hu's words, for the auto industry.
He said electricity-driven vehicles would be China's major focus in the sector in the future, while more technological breakthroughs need to be made in car batteries, electric motors and other parts.