By now, it's clear that the Chinese auto industry has shown us a demonstrated will (if not necessarily the complete ability) to copy something that another automaker has made. In this case, the subject appears to be the Local Motors Rally Fighter.
This could be big. It looks like Coda Automotive's follow up to its Sedan might have an especially desirable quality: a low price tag. The California company's cooperative effort with Great Wall Motors has moved on from its LoI (Letter of Intent) status to the official we-are-really-going-forward-with-this stage. As well, the concept behind the vehicle itself has been fleshed out a bit and contracts have been signed, using the Beijing International Motor Show as backdrop.
Coda Automotive, the California-based developer of lithium-ion battery systems and maker of the Coda Sedan, has inked a deal to develop electric vehicles with China's Great Wall Motor for distribution across the globe. The partnership calls for Coda's purpose-built lithium iron phosphate battery systems to be installed in select Great Wall Motor vehicles, which will then be sold worldwide. Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motors, says:
Earlier this morning came word that Saab's deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai had fallen apart. While in discussions with Hawtai, parent company Spyker was evidently also talking with another automaker located in China – Great Wall Motors. According to Reuters, those talks have apparently never ended, and, in light of today's news, we're going to speculate that it's time to escalate the discussion or officially turn off the lights at Saab assembly plants.
China's Great Wall Motor has big plans for expansion outside its home country, and rumor has it that the marque plans to launch an entire vehicle line based on its popular Hover CUV. While it's true that many Chinese automakers tend to crib designs from other manufacturers, Great Wall takes it a step further and borrows the entire chassis from an older Toyota 4Runner model. The exterior styling for the current Hover is based on the unloved Isuzu Axiom from 2002, and the engine is supplied by Mit
Fiat's Panda is the best selling minicar in Europe, and has been for four years. When China's Great Wall Motor -- Chrysler's Chinese partner -- decided to make a minicar called the GWPeri, it borrowed from the best. That is, if by "borrowed" you mean created a car that differs only from the Panda in it's headlamps and bumper details.
It would seem that a green theme will be present when Auto China 2008 kicks off in Beijing on Saturday. We've already seen BYD's e6 concept, and next up is an electric version of the Great Wall Peri. The Peri is the car that raised the ire of Fiat due to its strong resemblance to the Panda. Copycatting arguments aside, the Peri EV concept is pretty self-explanatory: it's an electric Peri driven by a 50 kW electric motor. With lithium-ion batteries supplying power, the Peri EV is claimed to have