The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has been blowing a lot of smoke, so to speak, over its ambitions to produce alternative fuel vehicles for several years now. Having partnered with Tongji University's engineering faculty in 2005, SAIC invested nearly $300 million in a new division dedicated towards developing alternative propulsion systems. Now the Chinese automaker is finally tipped to launch its first hybrid as early as next year.

SAIC purchased the Rover brand from BMW several years ago, but not the name, resulting in old Rovers being produced by the Chinese automaker under the name Roewe. It's the old Rover 75, now called the Roewe 750, that will debut SAIC's fuel-efficient initiative. It will feature a mild hybrid system, which assists the existing internal combustion engine under acceleration but is incapable of propelling the vehicle on its own. Having partnered with GM on hybrids built in China under a joint venture, this a decent first step on its own for an automaker in a country behind the curve on green transportation. SAIC's next target is to launch an all-electric vehicle sometime in the near future.

[Source: Automotive News Europe – subs. req'd]

Share This Photo X