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China auto news this week(2007.07.16-2007.07.21)

Jorvan From www.gasgoo.com| July 21 , 2007

In recent days, auto manufacturers are saying that they are ready to launch new models and modified ones, such as BYD F8, JAC sedan, Mazda 5, SVW new Passat, new Honda model and so on. So in the next half year, the Chinese auto market will become more and fiercer. This week, let's have a close look at these to-be launched models.

The followings are top news this week:

BYD Auto to launch F6, F8 within 2007
By Ally   From:www.gasgoo.com July 20 2007

BYD Auto's sales has gone up tremendously in the first half of this year, hitting a growth of 101% year on year, but according to BYD Sales Company's General Manager, Xia Zhibing, BYD has to make more efforts to explore new car segment and will launch new models to boost sales.

BYD plans to sell 100,000 F3 sedans in 2007. In the first six months, sales of the F3 have reached 51,758 units, up 101% year on year, making BYD a fruitful automaker whose sales were among the highest in the country.

In the coming years monthly sales of BYD F3 are expected reach 20,000 units, said Xia, and he believe the model has the growth potential to achieve this goal in the light of its already very strong scale economy and production effectiveness. In addition, the F3 AT will go on sale next January, which will make further contributions to F3 sales target.

The automaker is also planing to launch a 1.5-liter hatchback sedan, the F3R, The model is equipped with a Mitsubishi 4G15S engine and Delphi electronic injection management system, providing higher fuel efficiency. The model also has larger room than other models of the same kind. "The model will be priced less than 100,000 yuan (US$12,937) and we will offer two specifications with a Mitsubishi or an independently-developed engine," Xia said.

The BYD F6 will be going into production in August and is sure to be a hit in both domestic and foreign markets. Design wise, BYD is certainly trying to take the BYD more upmarket and aim to a crowd who maybe swayed from buying smaller foreign brands but can afford a much bigger vehicle

The F6 will be packing a 2.4l engine and will be priced very competitively at 120,000rmb to 140,000rmb. The model's rivals will be Toyota Camry and VW Magotan, according to Xia.

The F8 has a definite Mercedes-Benz SL look to it. Scheduled to be launched at the end of this year, the hardtop convertible is the first one in China with independent intellectual property rights. BYD says that the F8's hard-top can be lowered in 25 seconds with the touch of a button.

The key role of F6 and F8 is to boost BYD's brand image instead of triggering much sales, said Xia. At the mean time BYD has built an engine production line in the hope of developing its own engines. BYD will commit on developing new engines using up-to-date technologies and make break through in environmental protection, fuel-efficiency and low emission and promote mass production of engines, according to Xia.

FAW budgeted 13 billion Yuan to develop own brand
By Ally   From:www.gasgoo.com July 19 2007

China's First Automotive Works Corp (FAW) announced it would pour 13 billion yuan into innovation in the next eight years.

"Some 8.8 billion yuan of the total investment will be used in developing new products. Another 2.5 billion yaun will go to facilities for production including software and hardware, and the remaining 1.7 billion yuan will go to 229 key technologies," said Zhu Yanfeng, general manager of FAW, talking about the car maker's mid-long term plan.

According to the plan, FAW will put more focus on developing own brand vehicles including the A00, A0, A, B, C, D-range in the next eight years. Based on the corporation's eleventh five year plan, FAW will launch a certain amount of new models each year. It is also revealed that the top-level Hongqi 1 is expected to go on sale in 2009.

Zhu also said FAW will fulfill a total of ten missions in roughly ten years through technological upgrades and innovations to better extend presence in the world auto market. Talking about the listing plan, Zhu said the automaker is preparing for a listing currently, but listing is not that important when it comes to improve technologies.

FAW at the same time is attaching great importance to cooperation with its partners in attempt to forge a quality national brand. Already deeply rooted in the mainland, the auto maker is set to explore the overseas market, Zhu added.

Guangzhou Honda to develop new brand in China 
By Jorvan   From:www.gasgoo.com July 19 2007

Guangzhou Honda will research and develop a brand-new brand and begin its sales in 2010 in the Chinese market. Said Honda CEO in a press conference in Tokyo on 18th July.

Honda's JV in China, Guangzhou Honda will set up an auto R&D center covering 6,000,000 square meters in Guangzhou, and Guangzhou Honda had gained government approval, the engine production is underway. Honda is the second biggest automaker in Japan, and it has two partners in China, Guangzhou Honda and Dongfeng Honda.

New Vios to be China-made next March
By Jorvan   From:www.gasgoo.com July 18 2007

Vios, entering the Chinese market for nearly five years, will be replaced by Toyota Belta in March next year, and its equivalent model in the North American market is notchback Yaris. That means the Yaris to be made in Guangzhou Toyota is a pure speculation. Toyota has to think twice about its production distribution in China.

Tianjin FAW Toyota will produce this model in March next year, but it is likely to remain the brand Vios rather than Belta, by then, old Vios production will be halted. Sources from franchised dealers said.

theToyota Belta is substitution for Vela, called Platz in Japan, Echo in U.S.. In the end of 2005, Toyota launched Belta in Japan to replace Platz. While Yaris brand remained in Europe, new generation of Vitz and Belta launched in North America were renamed Yaris; in March of this year, Toyota Thailand introduced Belta as a replacement of Vios, but the Vios brand remained the same.

The annual production capacity of Belta is expected to be around 6,000 units, which is far from that of Corolla 14,000 units' capacity. However, the two models are in different segments, Belta aims at the Chinese compact family sedan market, with a market price at about 90,000 yuan to 120,000 yuan.

Vios, as the earliest Toyota model made in China and launched ever five years ago, still keeps a monthly sale of 4,000 units.

Toyota Yaris will be produced in the mid of next year in Guangzhou Toyota factory, and is expected to be launched into the Chinese market ahead of the new Belta.

GM Opel likely to be produced in China
By Ally   From:www.gasgoo.com July 17 2007

General Motors (GM) revealed recently that it will start production of Vectra and Astra, from its Opel family, in China as of 2008. But the two will come under the Buick and Chevrolet brands respectively. The decision is an indication of the auto giant's confidence in the Chinese market, according to company officials.

The Opel brand ranks second in terms of market share in the European auto market. Last year 438,000 Opel Astra were sold in total, surpassing that of Renault Clio, Ford Focus and VW Golf to become the best-selling small car in Europe. The Astra series include five-door, three-door and coupe editions. Moreover, the Opel Zafira, sold as imported unit in the Chinese market, shares the same platform with Opel Astra.

On sale in 2008, the new Vectra is expected to make its debut at the 2007's Frankfurt Motor Show. The new Epsilon 2 platform, on which the new Saab 9-3, Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and the new Vectra are produced, comes in a wider and taller body and this translates to more space inside for passengers – something that's vital in order to compete with competitors such as VW's Passat, which have upped its standard. The wider stance should also mean an even more composed driving experience.

Currently, GM's joint venture in China is lacking in GM's global platforms, and most products like Buick, Chevrolet Epica are based on Korea Daewoo platform. The local production of Opel is expected to help SGM improve its production line and to launch more competitive models in China.

The Opel Astra may be priced between RMB100, 000 – RMB150, 000 in the Chinese market, having the potential to rival Magotan, Camry, new Mondeo and 08 Accord. The new Vectra is expected to replace Regal and be sold between RMB150, 000 to RMB200, 000.

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