The latest from the Shanghai auto show

Brittany BishopApr 20, 2017

The country's biggest automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), wants to double sales of its fully owned domestic brands this year - albeit from a low base - executives told a group of reporters on Monday.

Another highlight was the number of new-energy vehicles, with 159 models on display this year.

Volkswagen holds the overall sales lead in the Chinese auto market. China is the world's biggest auto market by far, and growth is set to continue this year, albeit at a slower 5 percent, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Its Roewe RX5, a compact SUV, had sold more than 140,000 units by March since its debut last July, driven by its appeal to younger consumers with regard to cost, performance and Internet-connectivity.

The company also displayed a concept version of its first full-size SUV, the Navigator.

SHANGHAI (AP) — Volvo Cars, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, announced plans Wednesday to manufacture electric cars in China for sale worldwide starting in 2019 amid pressure by Beijing for global auto brands to help develop its fledgling industry in alternatives to gasoline. Established in conjunction with Volvo, it aims to provide models with quality engineering at Chinese production costs, Geely President An Conghui said.

The Chinese auto market soared past the United States eight years ago to become the planet's top market and in 2016 set a 26th straight annual sales record.

Also eying expansion overseas is GAC, which is planning a USA debut in 2019, according to General Manager Yu Jun.

China's sixth-largest automaker GAC, by contrast, reportedly is still set to begin selling cars in the US under its Trumpchi brand - which some might remember from Season 18 of "Top Gear" - no later 2019.

Sales of electric and gasoline-electric hybrids fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 55,929 vehicles while sales of SUVs rose 21 percent to 2.4 million.

As that moderates, manufacturers are focusing on still fast-growing segments like sport-utility vehicles, which are expected to overtake China sedan sales possibly this year.

The push for electrification in China is an extra stress for auto manufacturers at a time when sales growth is falling and competition is on rise in a market they are depending on to drive worldwide income.

The VW model will be the first in a range of electric vehicles in China, said Jochem Heizmann, head of VW's China unit.

Volkswagen plans to launch its first purely electric auto in China next year and 13 new-energy vehicles by 2020.

The vehicle is also equipped with an intelligent infotainment system and fully internet-compatible, which MG believes will position it perfectly for the younger market.

MG Motor has unveiled an all-new electric supercar concept at the 17th annual Shanghai International Automotive Show (19 April) - the MG E-motion. It features a battery that can be charged to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes.

Volvo has previously declared its electric ambitions to be one million EV's and hybrids sold by 2025. It has lithium ion batteries which allow a range of up to 500 kilometers.

Details of the plug-in electric drivetrain have not been released but MG says that it makes the E-motion capable of a sub four-second 0-62mph time, while having a range between charges of more than 310 miles.

"Buick is committed to expanding its portfolio of new energy vehicles", a GM statement said.

GM said its Velite 5 hybrid will be sold not as a Chevrolet but by its Buick unit, which has modest sales elsewhere but is GM's main brand in China.

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