DailyKanban Behind The Great Firewall of China

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DailyKanban’s Bertel Schmitt is headed to Beijing for the auto show, and will not be posting daily news briefs for the next few days while stuck behind the Great Firewall. While he is away gathering the latest news from the world’s largest car market, you can stay up to date on the latest by following E.W. Niedermeyer on Twitter.

Ghosn Hints At Very Low Cost EVs: “People Want Them To Be Cheap.”

Ghosn in Wuhan - Picture courtesy Forbes

The western world may be fascinated by electrified luxury cars carrying the marques of Tesla, BMW, Audi and a number of exotic upstarts, but the true EV revolution seems to be finally happening in the developing markets of Asia, where zero emission vehicles are needed the most. French automaker Renault SA wants to be part of the real EV revolution, if reports in UK media are correct.

At the inauguration of Renault’s new Chinese plant, built together with joint venture partner Dongfeng in Wuhan, a city in China’s central Hubei province, Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn hinted at a future line of “cheap and frugal” electric vehicles targeted at the Chinese market in big numbers.

More in Forbes

How Volkswagen Really Blew It: The Lost Low-Cost Roots

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The first installment of the “How Volkswagen Really Blew It” mini-series was a dissection of the convenient myth that dieselgate prevented Volkswagen from finally becoming world’s largest automaker. As the center of its “Strategy 2018,” Volkswagen had targeted that title since 2009, and in the first part of 2015, it looked as good as won. Six months later, the strategy has been scrapped, and VW appears to be farther removed from world domination than ever before.

The true reason for the defeat wasn’t dieselgate, but that Volkswagen dropped the ball in China. This episode will try to connect many dots for a true picture of what happened, and what did not happen, in China, and in Germany.

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Large Number Of Chinese EV Sales Fake, Investigators Say

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Sales of electric vehicles in China made headlines last year after the world’s largest car market China supposedly also became the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. According to news coming out of China, many of these sales were as real as a Gucci bag in Beijing’s notorious Yashow Market before it was cleaned up, and then killed.

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No, There Won’t Be A Made In China Tesla Anytime Soon

tesla-china-picture courtesy carfanaticsblog.com

To my unmitigated amazement, I read today a report that Tesla Motors will have a factory in China by “Mid-2016.” Amazed am I, because anywhere in the world, going from idea to full factory can take a few years more than what separates now from “mid-2016.” In China, it can go a little faster. Unless you are a foreign carmaker. Then, it can take forever. My interest piqued, I looked into the story.

More in Forbes.

Autonomous Car Core Technology A State Monopoly in China

Baidu car - Picture courtesy Wired.com

Baidu Inc., often called “China’s Google, is once more following in the footsteps of the real Google. Baidu is entering the field of self-driving cars, Bloomberg says. The company has been testing the technology for a while. Late last year, a modified BMW 3-series with the telltale rotating “coffee-grinder” RADAR units on its roof, and Baidu logic under the hood, drove an 18.6-mile route through Beijing all by itself without an accident, in itself a major feat that taxes the capabilities of the average human driver, let alone those of an adolescent robot.

More in Forbes

The secret history of GM’s Chinese bailout

baojun-630-sedan-picture courtesy quartz.com

When US taxpayers footed a $50 billion bill for the bailout of General Motors in 2009, few could have guessed that the biggest of the Detroit “Big Three” (GM, Chrysler, Ford) would go on to import Chinese cars to the United States. Yet just seven years after its publicly-funded and highly-politicized rescue, GM says it will do exactly that: early next year the automaker will begin shipping Chinese-made Buick Envision crossovers across the Pacific for sale at its US dealerships, with a plug-in hybrid version of Cadillac’s CT6 flagship sedan to follow. Anyone who believed that GM’s bailout would create a bulwark against a long-feared flood of Chinese cars might be puzzled to find the very same automaker championing Chinese imports. In fact, this move is just the latest in a pattern that dates back to 2009, when GM received a secretive Chinese “bailout” that appears to have turned America’s largest automaker into a Trojan horse for its Chinese partner.

More in Quartz

#dieselgate could cause serious collateral damage in China

Audis in China - Picture courtesy germancarforum.com

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung raises an interesting point: Dieselgate could hurt Volkswagen big in a country sought immune, and in a market Volkswagen cannot afford to have problems in: China. The recall of 2,000 imported diesel cars in China is not the problem. Diesel is not a factor in China. There are much bigger dangers. [Continue Reading]