China To Automakers: “Make EVs, Or Die.”

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China is putting a gun to the heads of its automakers. “By 2018,” the Wall Street Journal reported today, electric vehicles “must account for 8% of the maker’s production, and the percentage will rise from there.” Before the news are tweeted around the world, please note that the Journal is a bit ahead of its times. Currently, the rules are still in draft form, and a lot can change before the final regs are handed down. One thing is clear however: China’s government is forcing the electrification of its own auto industry, and quite literally so, as the bulk of China’s auto manufacturers are state-owned, in one way or the other. Message from Beijing: Make electric cars, or die. “Chinese state media has trumpeted the regulations as essentially barring car makers that don’t have new-energy capabilities,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.

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Apple Invests In Didi, Gets A Share Of My Chinese Driver Matthias

Matthias

“You have didi?”

That was asked by Matthias, my driver of many years during my times in Bejing, China. A few weeks ago, Matthias picked me up at Beijing’s airport, and I was shocked. During my times in China, locals of the female persuasion had taught me that in Beijing slang, “didi” stands for the male appendage, and now my formerly trusted driver wanted to know whether I had one?

“Excuse me? Shenme?

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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.

1 second analysis: Who is most exposed to the Chinese contagion?

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The Chinese new car market, good for rapid growth for nearly a decade, suddenly went negative. Early indicators show that the decline continues. Who will be most hit if/when the China market turns real sour? [Continue Reading]

The Chinese car market, explained for mere mortals. By Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn Yokohama 051315 -14- Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt.

It has become fashionable to talk about troubles in the Chinese car market, and it is done so unhindered by the fact that a formerly red-hot Chinese car market simply turned into a cozily growing car market. 5 percent growth still will turn 23 million into 24 million. Today, I finally met an expert who was able to explain the Chinese car market to mere mortals. The expert’s name was Carlos Ghosn, and I met him today at Nissan’s annual results conference. “The numbers coming out of China are confusing,” Ghosn conceded. “They are confusing for you, and they even are confusing for us.”

Then, Ghosn took the time to deconfuse the Chinese car market: [Continue Reading]

Is China Merging Its “First” and “Second” Auto Works Into A Car Kaiju?

Preparing for the storm?

Preparing for the storm?

Consolidation has been the law of the auto industry ever since Ford’s assembly lines unlocked the brutal logic of scale, but fears that the US and Chinese markets may be cooling have automakers even more anxious to grab quick growth by merging. Last week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne gave voice to the industry’s building anxiety by all but apologizing for his industry’s low rate of return on capital and threatening to explore mergers with Silicon Valley firms if no automaker wanted to acquire it. Marchionne’s position may be more desperate than some of his better-established competitors, but his basic logic is resounding across the auto industry.
When trading in shares of the Chinese automakers First Auto Works and Dongfeng (known until 1992 as “Second Auto Works”) were halted this week, the market’s initial read was that a merger between two of China’s biggest automakers was in the works. Dongfeng issued a swift denial of any merger plans but the Chinese state council shook up leadership at the two state-owned automakers, replacing the chairman at each with a man who had previously served at the other. With its automakers outmatched even in their home market, China appears to be pushing two of its “big four” manufacturers closer in hopes of creating a national champion with the scale to take on the global majors.

[Continue Reading]

2015 Shanghai Auto Show: First, no babes. Now, no babies

Those were the days

Those were the days

This year’s Shanghai Auto Show, to be held from April 20 through 29 somewhere in the boonies behind the Hongqiao airport, will be a very exclusive affair. First, scantily clad models were excluded. Now that the show is a family-friendly affair, children aren’t allowed either, writes Carnewschina. After the prohibition of babes, there is a ban on babies. There were babes and babies galore at previous shows in China. Now, no more. [Continue Reading]

Tesla’s China Syndrome: Who knew what, and when did they know it?

Waves of cancellations caused Tesla sales crash in China

Waves of cancellations caused Tesla sales crash in China

Last weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “speculators and scalpers misled the company” to believe that demand for the cars was “extremely high” in China, as China’s government-owned news agency Xinhua reported. Cars were ordered, and shipped to China. When the cars arrived in China, many people canceled their orders, and thousands of Model S ended up unsold in warehouses. Let’s try to find out who was misled by whom. What did Elon Musk really know, and when did he really know it? [Continue Reading]