The Changan Automobile Group Co. is no stranger to working on hybrids, but it is going to look for help from PSA Peugeot-Citroën to develop more hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Changan is also working on EVs with LG Chem, so the signs are pointing to a strong commitment to plug-in powertrains in China.
China is filled with lots of people and things – including lots of bizarre laws and regulations. One child per family is perhaps the most well known, but did you know you have to pay homage by bowing to the elderly on the street, or that you're actually prohibited from stopping your car at crosswalks? This next one may seem sane by comparison, but has got automakers vying for a piece of China's growing car market jumping through hoops.
Ford Motor Company might be looking to its joint venture ally – Changan Automobile Group – to manufacture electric vehicles in China. Bloomberg cites Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally, in China for a groundbreaking ceremony, as the source of this intel:
China's Changan Automobile Group announced that it will open a research and development (R&D) center in Detroit, MI. By setting its sights on the Motor City, Changan will become the first Chinese automaker with a R&D facility in the Detroit area.
Early last month, China's Changan Auto reportedly pulled the plug on its hybrid Jiexun. The cancellation was claimed to have stemmed from the hybrid's abysmal sales. Therefore, it came as somewhat of a surprise to discover that on Tuesday, Changan and LG Chem, a South Korean chemicals company, signed a strategic supply partnership for lithium-ion batteries for the automaker's alternative energy vehicles.
According to Ford, 70 percent of the company's growth in the next decade will come from the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. The Blue Oval had only planned to have 310 dealerships in China at the end of 2010, but having sold nearly half a million cars this year and expecting the boom to continue, the number has jumped to 340 dealers. This is part of Ford's larger plan to add 100 new dealerships in China, mostly in smaller cities and inland provinces where new car demand is high.
PSA Peugeot-Citroën already sells its wares in China and has a joint-venture with Dongfeng, but has now added another joint venture partner in a €395 million ($499M U.S.) 50-50 tie-up with Chang'an Automobile Group. The union will eventually have cars like the Citroën DS3 and the company's engines and light trucks built in the country, using two current Chang'an factories, renovating one more and building another.
Changan is coming to America, just not yet. Aiming to establish a base in Mexico with which to move into the U.S. market, the Chinese automaker signed a deal last year to build a plant south of the border. The familiar story of planetary financial catastrophe has encouraged Changan to tap the brakes on its plans, however.
Chana Auto, otherwise known as Changan (that's their Benni Sports pictured), has entered into an alliance with China Mobile "to develop a smart vehicle based on 3G wireless technologies." In actuality, however, it sounds like it's not the vehicle that will be smart, but what you can do with it.
Let us introduce the Tiger Champ. One of the truck models gets 37 mpg with a three-cylinder diesel engine from Caterpillar. The design is Chinese, by Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., but it's assembled in Oklahoma by Tiger Truck LLC and available at 70 dealerships nationwide. The only problem is that the truck is really, really slow and it does not meet federal safety standards, so it must be off-highways in most states, although it can run everywhere in the Sooner State.
As is the case with so much of the pre-Beijing Motor Show news, details on Changan Automotive's new hydrogen concept are sparse, but rest assured that the automaker's display will be headlined by the green vehicle. Weighing in at 750 kg (1,653 lbs) with a drag coefficient of 0.28, Changan promises a car offering performance comparable to a world-class gasoline engine, only emissions-free and more fuel efficient. Whether an actual production vehicle is anything more than a pipe dream is still to