Chang'an steers into hybrid car market
By Gong Zhengzheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-11 08:55
Chang'an Motor Corp, the Chinese partner of Ford Motor and Suzuki Motor, said
it will enter the increasingly popular hybrid sector in the world's No 3 vehicle
market by offering its own-brand petrol-electric cars.
fourth-biggest auto group based in Chongqing Municipality told China Daily that
it plans to embark on commercial production of hybrid cars in 2008.
company expects hybrid cars will contribute 10 per cent of its own-brand sales
annually by 2010, it said.
Hybrid cars twin a conventional engine with an
electric motor to improve fuel efficiency and mileage.
Chang'an said it
will spend 250 million yuan (US$31 million) on hybrid cars as part of its total
investment of more than 5 billion yuan (US$620 million) to develop own-brand
cars in the years to 2010.
It began petrol-electric car development in
the late 1990s.
The group said hybrid cars would also be available for
its overseas expansion.
It announced last month that it aims to lift
overall sales from 630,000 vehicles in 2005 to 1.5 million units by the end of
the decade, with more than half from its own nameplates. It said it hoped
overseas sales would account for 25 to 30 per cent of own-brand sales by
The group's hybrid car push comes after a slew of foreign auto
giants and other domestic producers began, or announced they would start, making
petrol-electric cars in China, where oil is in short supply and fuel prices are
Japan's Toyota Motor began production of its 1.5-litre
Prius hybrid sedan at the end of 2005 with another Chinese auto group, First
Automotive Works Corp. The move made the world's No 2 carmaker the first
producing hybrid vehicles in China.
Maple, the Shanghai-based unit of
China's biggest privately owned carmaker Geely Automobile, also plans to enter
the hybrid car sector in 2008 with an initial output of 5,000 to 10,000 units a
However, analysts said there are many obstacles in China to the
growth of hybrid cars, despite huge potential in the long term due to their
capacity to save fuel.
The biggest hurdle is that hybrid engines are
still much more expensive, which drives up the cost of petrol-electric
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