Newsflash: Porsche onder vuur in China


+++ The auto industry expects CHINA ’s efforts to build a unified domestic market to further strengthen its production line and satisfy customers’ demand, China Youth Daily reported on Thursday. In April, China released a guideline on accelerating the establishment of a unified domestic market that is highly efficient, rules-based, fair for competition and open. The guideline underscored promoting the interconnectivity of market facilities, including building a modernized circulation network, improving the exchanging channels of market information and upgrading transaction platforms. This means the synergy among industries and between the upstream and downstream of an industrial chain will both be greatly strengthened, industrial experts stated, adding the key now is to unblock circulation based on domestic demand and gradually lift all unreasonable restrictions. The guideline also stressed the establishment of unified market regulatory rules and breaking down on local protection and market segmentation. “Some local governments used high subsidies and credit support or direct investment to promote the development of new energy vehicles, thus forming an industrial advantage”, Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University’s International Business School, said to China Youth Daily. “Accelerating to build a unified domestic market means this phenomenon should be eliminated in the future and all cities should attract new energy vehicle companies on a more equal level”, Pan said, adding local governments should reduce competition in financial subsidies and provide services for enterprises on an equal footing. Without financial subsidies for new energy vehicles, the industry will speed up their return to the unified domestic market, industrial analyst Yang Xiaolin told China Youth Daily, warning it should still be vigilant against non-market barriers and let consumers have more choices. +++

+++ Skeptics say that far from helping save the planet, ELECTRIC cars are a liberal pipe-dream whose environmental benefits are exaggerated. But even if there is no such thing as an all-green car, studies show that battery-powered ones cause fewer harmful greenhouse gas overall than their petrol-driven ancestors. AFP Fact Check examined 3 common claims about them. “Coal Powered Electric Cars…. Helping liberals pretend they are solving a make-believe crisis”, reads a text shared on Facebook, with a photo of cars plugged in at a charging station. The humorous meme implies that electric cars do not help lower climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions because coal is burned to feed the electricity grid. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a calculator tool on its website to compare a petrol car’s emissions with those of an electric one depending on where it is charged. It calculates that an electric car charged in St Louis, Missouri (part of the subregion that relies the most on coal) on average will produce 247 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, lower than the average 381 grams of a gasoline vehicle. Experts at Carbon Brief agree an electric car’s emissions depend on what region or country it is charged in. They would be higher in Poland or in an Asian country where more coal is burned than in France, where most electricity comes from nuclear power. Overall, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found electric cars are lower-emitting than their petrol-driven equivalents across their life cycle, from mining components to recycling. An electric car is also much more efficient in its use of energy than a petrol-powered one, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources. Making the vehicles’ batteries is an energy-intensive process that includes mining and trucking raw materials, assembly in factories, and shipping worldwide. Recycling them is costly. Another viral text shared on Facebook claimed that 227.000 kilos of earth are dug up to extract the metals for one electric car battery. The estimate appeared to originate from a 2020 analysis by the Manhattan Institute, a climate-sceptic research group. Several experts consulted by AFP said the figures were misleading. Peter Newman, professor of sustainability at Australia’s Curtin University, judged it a “gross exaggeration” and said the quantity mined would vary depending on geography and the type of battery. Mining has other impacts not immediately related to the global climate. About 70 percent of cobalt (a battery ingredient) comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where use of child labour in mines has been documented. Access to the ingredients also raises strategic supply concerns, with many of the raw materials held by China, according to the International Energy Agency. Georg Bieker, a Berlin-based researcher at the ICCT, said the environmental damage from oil-drilling made gasoline production no better. The risk of devastation driven by greenhouse gas emissions, projected in recent reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, would be even worse. “It is correct to demand improvements, e.g. as considered by voluntary standards in the industry and by mandatory due diligence requirements that are foreseen in the upcoming EU battery regulation”, he said. “In any case, it’s clear that the social and environmental impact of global warming is catastrophic, at a different scale than the mining of battery raw materials.” After a snowstorm stranded hundreds of motorists in Virginia in January, users on Facebook shared posts warning that electric vehicles would run out of power and make the traffic jam even worse. “All those people would be stuck in freezing temperatures without a heated vehicle. And all the cars would be stuck unable to move because you can’t bring a charging station to them”, read the text. “All those electric cars would become roadblocks to the gasoline powered vehicles”. Several fact-checking organizations scrutinised the claim. They found there was no evidence that electric cars would fare worse in a storm. Studies such as one published in 2015 by the American Chemical Society have found that electric vehicles do consume energy less efficiently when driving in the cold. However, various experts said that if stuck in a storm, an electric vehicle would consume less power than a gasoline one, which would have to keep its engine running to power the heating. British consumer affairs magazine Which? tested an electric SUV by simulating a traffic jam, with the car’s radio, air conditioning, seat-heating and headlights on, plus a tablet device plugged in playing a film. That used up a negligible two percent of the battery, or eight miles’ worth of range, in an hour and a quarter, admittedly in summer conditions. +++

+++ On JAPAN ’s slow road to embracing electric vehicles, one type of car promises to help accelerate the change above all others: the humble minicar. A common sight on the nation’s streets (they accounted for roughly 40% of new vehicle sales last year) producing a truly successful electrified version would likely be a big contribution to promoting the adoption of EVs. Now Nissan and Mitsubishi have launched their electrified takes on the tiny cars. The Sakura minicar model by Nissan and the eK x EV model by Mitsubishi (both unveiled Friday) were developed by NMKV, a joint venture funded by the 2 companies, and will debut this summer. The prices start at around ¥2.3 million to ¥2.4 million, but by using government subsidies for environmentally friendly cars, they can be purchased for around ¥1.8 million, the firms said. “Nissan Sakura and eK x EV symbolize our alliance and will be a game-changer for Japan’s EV scene”, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said at a news conference. The basic specs of the Sakura and eK x EV models are nearly the same, as both are equipped with 20 kWh batteries and can drive about 180 kilometers on a single charge . Nissan and Mitsubishi are part of a 3-way alliance with Renault. Electric minivehicles are expected to play a key role in accelerating Japan’s slow shift to EVs, but their development also comes with various challenges, industry observers say. Minivehicles whose engine is smaller than 660 cubic centimeters and body size is limited to 3.4 meters in length, 1.48 meters in width and 2 meters in height, known as “kei cars” in Japan, have been a favorite choice of domestic consumers, as they are generally more reasonably priced and their running costs are lower than standard-sized cars. While hybrid vehicles have been popular as environmentally friendly cars in Japan, battery-based EVs have been a niche choice, accounting for just 1% of new cars sold last year. Major Japanese automakers are looking to bolster investment in EVs to strengthen their competitiveness in the field and increase EV lineups, including by adding electric minicars. Daihatsu, which boasts the largest share of the domestic minicar market, and Suzuki, the second biggest player, will also introduce electric models by 2025. “Since kei minicars are the main vehicle category in Japan, I think the electrification of such vehicles is a quite big issue”, said Tomohide Kazama, partner at the Nomura Research Institute. Given that making hybrid minivehicles is technically challenging because it is difficult to install all the necessary parts in their small bodies, simple battery-based electrification makes more sense, Kazama said. Also, shorter driving ranges are often seen as a disadvantage of EVs, but minivehicles are usually used for shorter trips than regular cars, so consumers can be more relaxed about the issue, he added. Although the debut of Nissan and Mitsubishi’s new minivehicle models will likely add impetus to the push toward EVs, automakers still face some hurdles. One major challenge is the lack of charging spots, said Hisashi Yoshitake, senior consultant at the Nomura Research Institute, adding that many places such as urban parking lots and parking spaces for condominium residents are not equipped with such systems. According to the Chademo Association, there were 7.700 fast EV chargers in Japan as of May last year. That figure is still quite small compared with the number of gas stations nationwide, which stood at about 29.000 in March last year. Maiko Hara, senior associate at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group, said that the popularity of minivehicles would likely transfer to their electric counterparts going forward. Nonetheless, the low resale values of EVs is expected to be an issue, she said. EV resale values diminish quickly, mainly due to the degradation of batteries. For instance, the resale value of a 5-year-old used Nissan Leaf can be less than 80% of the original price. “It’s possible that electric minivehicles won’t be widely accepted unless the industry overcomes this resale value issue”, said Hara. While Nissan and Mitsubishi are looking to establish a lead in the domestic EV market, this is not the first time an electric minivehicle has debuted in Japan. In fact, Mitsubishi introduced an electric minivehicle called i-MiEV in 2009; the first mass-produced electric car. But the automaker struggled with sluggish sales and reportedly stopped production in March last year. “It was too early in several respects”, said Yoshitake. Electric minivehicles failed to become a compelling option for consumers, as price tags were higher, they had a shorter driving range and charging spots were scarce, while global and domestic momentum toward decarbonization was not as strong, he said. In addition, automakers have said making battery-powered minivehicles at a low cost is an arduous task. Price tags of gasoline minivehicles generally range from ¥1 million to ¥2 million, but when it comes to electric versions, the lithium ion batteries themselves cost some ¥800,000 to ¥900,000, Hara said. “High battery costs make it tough for carmakers to turn a profit”, she said. +++

+++ MERCEDES-BENZ has rolled out its Drive Pilot system in 2 of its models in Germany as the first Level 3 system available in the vehicle market worldwide. The European country is also the first in the world to allow Level 3 vehicles to hit the road. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, cars can be classified into 6 levels, from Level 0, which means no automation at all, to Level 5, or full automation. Many carmakers including Tesla, Mercedes-Benz as well as China’s startups are expecting such functions to be a new source of revenue besides selling the cars. The concept of autonomous vehicles is not new, but automation in any form did not become a reality until Tesla offered such hardware in its vehicles in 2014 and corresponding software in 2015. So far, Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are both considered Level 2 systems. Mercedes’ Level 3 Drive Pilot will offer users the ability to take their eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel, until the system signals the driver to reassume control. Currently, the Level 3 system is confined to only certain roads in Germany, and a top speed of 60 kph, which means it’s presently restricted to situations with slow-moving traffic, but its functionality is expected to be expanded in the future. “Responsible handling of future technologies such as conditional automated driving is the key to acceptance among customers and in society”, said Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz, responsible for marketing and sales. The automaker is currently working on certification in the US states of California and Nevada and would like to introduce the system into China as well. Drive Pilot features radar, lidar, cameras, ultrasound sensors, and moisture sensors to read the road. It also relies on a three-dimensional high-definition map, calculated down to the centimeter, which is stored in backend data centers and is constantly updated. “With Drive Pilot, we have developed an innovative technology that, thanks to redundancies with many sensors, enables safe operation and gives the valuable asset of ’time’ back to the customer”, Seeger adds. In Germany, Drive Pilot will be offered in the S-Class at an additional price of €5.000 and in the electric EQS flagship at €7.430. A number of other automakers, including Polestar, are also getting ready for the launch of their own Level 3 systems. China has not yet allowed Level 3 vehicles to hit the public roads, but Level 2 functions, or ADASs, are fast becoming standard in new vehicle launches in China, especially in electric models. China’s Arcfox launched the Alpha S HI sedan earlier this month, which is the world’s first model with Huawei’s Harmony operating system and smart driving solutions. The model sports 34 sensors including cameras and radar, and Huawei’s Kirin chip that has a computing power of 400 tera operations per second. Among other things, the model can maneuver itself on expressways and downtown roads, almost as human drivers do, said Yu Chengdong, head of Huawei’s smart car business unit. He added the vehicle can improve its driving capabilities as it hits the road and gathers more information about traffic. Analysts said the model’s rivals will include SAIC’s IM L7 and Nio’s ET7, both of which have autonomous driving as one of their selling points. The ET7 sedan has 33 sensors, including cameras and radar, and four Orin chips designed by US company Nvidia for vehicles with a high level of automation. Nio President Qin Lihong said that the survival of carmakers in an increasingly competitive market depends on their ability to produce smart vehicles, especially autonomous ones. Global market intelligence firm IDC said vehicles with Level 2 functions accounted for 23.2 percent of passenger vehicles sold in the first quarter of this year in the Chinese market. The vehicle market as a whole is moving from Level 2 to Level 3 functions, it said in an April 27 report. +++

+++ The business plan that Elon MUSK wrote 16 years ago for Tesla goes like this: create a low volume car, which would sell at an expensive price; use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price; use that money to create an affordable, high volume car; and provide solar power. Now their major Chinese rivals are taking similar steps, or at least the first three of them, to be specific, to explore the vast potential in the volume car segment of the country’s new energy vehicle market. New York-listed Nio said last week it will roll out more affordable vehicles in 2 years to “take on international carmakers including Tesla and Volkswagen”. A core team has been set up, and research and development regarding the first models has entered into the critical stage, said the startup who saw its accumulated production hit 200.000 units in late April. These models will bear a new marque and their production is expected to start in 2024 at a plant located in East China’s Anhui province, said Nio. The Shanghai-based carmaker first mentioned the intention to launch a second marque in the second half of 2021. Tesla’s most popular model is the China-made Model 3, priced from 290,000 yuan. Volkswagen ID series electric cars’ starting prices are even lower, at around 200.000 yuan. Nio labels itself as a rival to premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The carmaker said the average price of its models sold is more than 400.000 yuan. Even the most affordable one, the ET5 sedan, has a sticker price starting from 328.000 yuan. Models under the new marque, whose project name is Alps, will be between 150.000-300.000 yuan, the China Business News reported. This price range is like the middle part of the dumbbell-shaped Chinese NEV market, according to Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association. So far the most popular models are affordable mini-sized vehicles like Wuling’s hit Hongguang Mini. They are followed by those from premium brands and local niche startups, while there are fewer choices in the volume car segment. Statistics from the China Passenger Car Association show NEVs accounted for 48.8 percent of Chinese carmakers’ sales, the figure was 5.5 percent for premium brands including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and it was only 3.7 percent for volume brands like Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota. Cui said that the middle part of the “dumbbell” will grow fast in the coming 2 to 3 years and turn the market into the oval shape, as these volume brands have started to launch electric models. Li Auto, a Nasdaq-listed Chinese startup, is planning to explore both upward and downward in the fast-changing NEV market. “We will adopt a product plan like Apple”, said Li Xiang, CEO of Li Auto, after the carmaker released its Q1 financial results. “You know, they have the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini. And we are going to launch models at different price ranges as well”, said Li. The carmaker now has only one model, the range-extended One, but its deliveries from January to March totaled 31.716 units, up 152.1 percent year-on-year. Li said the model accounted for more than 30 percent of the NEV segment priced between 300.000-400.000 yuan in 2021. “Our initial positioning was good, so we can move upward to the range of 400.000-500.000 yuan and also downward to 200.000 yuan,” said Li. The startup is planning to launch the L9 in the third quarter. Like the One, it is a range-extended SUV, but it has bigger dimensions and better technology. So it is expected to be more expensive, but the carmaker has not given any official information about its price so far. Besides range-extended models, Li Auto is planning to roll out electric vehicles as well. Electric cars have been seizing the lion’s share in China’s NEV market. Statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show that 1.53 million passenger NEVs were sold in the first four months this year, of which 1.21 million were electric cars. The association expects total NEV deliveries to reach 5 million this year. +++

+++ Only 2 of the world’s 12 top automakers plan to make enough electric vehicles by 2030 to stay in step with PARIS AGREEMENT CLIMATE GOALS , experts said earlier this week. Globally, more than half of all new vehicles coming off of production lines in 2029 would need to be electric for the sector to be compliant with the goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, according to Influence Map, a research NGO that evaluates corporate climate goals and policies. At the same time, 11 of the 12 carmakers (while publicly supporting the Paris Agreement) have actively opposed government policies that would accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, especially the phase-out of internal combustion engines, Influence Map said. Japanese auto giants Toyota, Honda and Nissan are especially far off the mark, with nonpolluting cars accounting for only 14, 18 and 22%, respectively, of their planned production in 2029, the report said. South Korea’s Hyundai, U.S. manufacturer Ford and France’s Renault (with 27, 28 and 31% of their global fleets projected to be electric in 7 years) were only marginally more on track. The standout exception is U.S.-based Tesla, a “pure player” manufacturer that has only ever made electric cars and trucks. “Almost all automakers are failing to keep pace with the transition to zero emissions”, said Influence Map program Manager Ben Youriev. “Those lagging the furthest behind are also the most negative when it comes to climate policy advocacy”. Ford, Stellantis, Volkswagen and BMW come closer to the 52% threshold for compatibility with the Paris temperature target, with 36 to 46% of their fleets planned to be electric in 2029. Besides Tesla, only Mercedes-Benz (at 56%) is projecting a transition in keeping with that target. To evaluate automaker trajectories, Influence Map cross-references different datasets. Researchers used the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) scenario for decarbonizing the transport sector rapidly enough to not jeopardize the 1.5 C goal, which would need 57.5% of all cars produced in 2030 to be electric. The IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 report also assumes the share of renewables in global electricity generation would be about 60% in 2030. The Influence Map report then compared this goal with IHS Markit production forecasts to 2029, corresponding to a 52% share of electric vehicles in the IEA schema. Collectively, the combined global production of battery electric vehicles by all automakers is forecast to only reach 32% by 2029. That means the auto industry would need to boost production of zero-emission cars by 80% in order to hit the IEA 2030 production target. Impact of government policy The report findings reveal the critical impact of government policy on the pace of the transition away from internal combustion engines, which account for around 16% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the European Union, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, Toyota’s produced fleet is projected to be 50% electric by 2029. But in the United States, where fuel emissions standards are less stringent, that figure is only 4%. Similarly, Ford’s EU-based production is forecast to be 65% electric by 2029; nearly double it’s global average. One pension fund with shares in Toyota and Volkswagen expressed concern about the Influence of the Map findings. “As investors, we are concerned with the picture painted, which confirms that some companies in the auto industry are placing themselves on the wrong side of history when actively opposing much needed climate change-related rules and regulations”, said Anders Schelde, CIO of Denmark’s AkademikerPension, with $20 billion of assets under management. “We are also worried about Toyota scoring worst among peers on climate lobbying as the company is jeopardizing its valuable brand”. +++

+++ PORSCHE is facing a test of consumer trust in China for allegedly delivering inferior steering column and snubbing owners’ requests for fair compensation, an issue which is still pending. By the end of April, 97 owners had made accusations against Porsche (which they believe violated China’s law on consumer rights) on online portal, Black Cat Complaints. The site ranked Porsche as the brand to receive the most automotive-related complaints in that month. According to a letter Porsche sent to car owners on April 30, the company had supplied manual steering columns in some of its cars because of ongoing chip shortages. An electric steering column, which operates in tandem with automatic seat adjustment, is the default configuration of the luxury car marque. Porsche had initially said it would provide free upgrades to the electric steering column when available. However, after several rounds of communications, Porsche China then said its headquarters had found it could not carry out the upgrade and canceled the plan in March. As compensation, Porsche offered 2.300 yuan ($338) per car in vouchers. The official price for the upgrade costs around 30.000 yuan, according to the complaints and car bloggers. A row then erupted. As a result, Porsche China publicized the letter where it admitted that canceling the upgrade replacement plan had caused inconvenience and puzzlement to owners. It said: “Car owners have started to doubt the brand for reasons that they do not agree with the remedy measures and plans” and it sends its “most sincere apology”. It added the company had notified waiting clients that the steering column would be manual. However, some drivers have since alleged they were surprised to learn this fact after owning their cars for several months. Porsche said it had set up a joint task force with staff from its headquarters and China to find a solution. “As a result of our efforts, we have made some progress on the possibility of restoring this function. We will give customers and the public a clear answer in the coming days”, Porsche told China Daily without elaboration. Public attention to the case renewed on Wednesday, when the topic went viral and became one of the most searched on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media. Recently, many famous car bloggers rallied to criticize Porsche’s letter of not providing a solution that is apparent, and did not address concerns that the company is not treating consumers in its largest market with due respect. In addition, they said compensation to owners at home and abroad differs. Some owners claimed Porsche will pay $500 to consumers overseas as compensation, with email notifications. However, compensation in China was only a voucher for Porsche aftersales service without any notice. Chinese car owners should not be treated differently from overseas consumers, said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of China Passenger Car Association. “The incident has directly damaged the interests of consumers, the brand’s reputation and image of Porsche will be compromised to some extent”, Cui added. Porsche delivered 95.671 cars to the Chinese market in 2021, making it the firm’s largest single market in the world for seven consecutive years. China also accounted for 17.685 of Porsche’s 68.426 global deliveries in the first quarter. +++

+++ Russia will take control of French car manufacturer RENAULT ’s operations in the country and resurrect a Soviet-era auto brand, officials said Monday, marking the first major nationalization of a foreign business since the war in Ukraine began. Renault said it would sell its majority stake in Avtovaz, a Russian car company best known for its Lada brand, to a state-run research institute known as NAMI. Renault’s other Russia operations, primarily a factory in Moscow, will be sold to the Moscow city government. The mayor of the Russian capital, Sergei Sobyanin, said the city would bring back the Moskvich brand for cars made at the factory. Moskvich was a major auto brand in the Soviet Union but went into steep decline in the 1990s and vanished from the market in the early 2000s. “Today, we have taken a difficult but necessary decision”, Renault CEO Luca de Meo said in a statement, “and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45.000 employees in Russia, while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context”. Renault didn’t give any financial details of its sales but said the deal included an option to buy back the Avtovaz stake in the next 6 years. Trade and Industry minister Denis Manturov indicated last month to Russian media that the Avtovaz deal could be conducted for a symbolic one ruble. Ministry official Denis Pak told state TV that the deal allows Avtovaz to keep making Renault’s Duster passenger car design, now badged as a Lada, and that the new Moskvich operation was likely to produce cars this year. Selling gets Renault out of a bind that Western companies are facing as they determine whether to pull out of Russia and weather the hit to their income. But continuing to work in Russia after the invasion could risk damaging corporations’ reputations with customers. With an eye on avoiding unemployment, the Russian government has been urging reluctant foreign investors to either resume operations or sell to someone who will. Renault’s announcement came the same day McDonald’s said it is moving to sell its Russian business, which includes 850 restaurants that employ 62.000 people. The fast food giant did not name a prospective Russian buyer but said it would seek one that will hire its workers and pay them until the sale closes. The new Russian owners taking over Renault’s operations will have to grapple with a shortage of imported components for cars, especially electronics. The Russian auto-making sector is heavily dependent on international supply chains that have been disrupted by sanctions over the war, while getting deliveries from abroad has become more difficult and expensive. The NAMI research institute has some experience developing luxury cars used by Russian leaders, including president Vladimir Putin, but on a much smaller scale than the sprawling Soviet-era Avtovaz plant, where Russian and foreign investors have for decades struggled to make mass-market cars profitably. Nearly half a million vehicles were sold in Russia last year under Renault and Avtovaz brands. Sobyanin, the Moscow mayor, outlined ambitious plans for the resurrected Moskvich brand on his blog, saying it would start with traditional engines but produce “in the future, electric cars,” in a partnership with Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz. Sobyanin said the city was motivated by keeping jobs but stopped short of ruling out staff cuts, saying only that “we will try to keep the majority of the personnel working directly at the plant and for its subcontractors”. +++

+++ SAIC GM WULING (SGMW), based in Liuzhou of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, reported record new energy vehicle sales. By the end of April, the company had sold more than 700.000 units of Hongguang Mini EV, a new energy vehicle model. During the January-April period this year, the company registered sales of 133.902 units of such model, up 6 percent year-on-year. As a hot-selling vehicle model, it had once been the sales champion in the Chinese new energy vehicle market for 20 consecutive months, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. As of April 30, the company’s new energy vehicle sales had exceeded 850.000 units in total. +++

+++ SUZUKI said that its Maruti India unit will build an automobile factory in Kharkhoda in Haryana, India, scheduled to go into operation in 2025. The Japanese automaker will spend about 110 billion rupees ($1.41 billion) to build Maruti’s third vehicle plant in Haryana after factories in Gurgaon and Manesar. The Kharkhoda plant will have a production capacity of 250.000 units per year, which accounts for over 10% of Suzuki’s total in India. The automaker did not disclose what models will be made at the new plant. +++

+++ A ship loaded with over 4.000 electric cars produced by TESLA ’s Shanghai Gigafactory left a Shanghai port for Belgium on Sunday. This is the second export shipment of Tesla cars from Shanghai since the factory resumed production on April 19 and comes 5 days after the first batch of vehicles left for Slovenia, according to Shanghai Customs. Due to the latest Covid-19 resurgence in the city, the Shanghai Gigafactory had suspended production for over 20 days. Shanghai customs said it has established a communication channel with Tesla to coordinate customs services online and help speed up the delivery of orders. In the first 4 months of this year, Tesla’s Shanghai factory delivered more than 180.000 vehicles, over 1.7 times the amount for the same period last year, already surpassing the total for 2020. Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory is the first wholly foreign-owned car manufacturing enterprise in China. +++

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