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Toyota pursues plan to build plant in China, in talks for further expansion

Plans to build Toyota Motor Corp.’s new assembly facility in China in 2017 are already underway but the automaker is in further talks to increase its output even more. Toyota is considering an expansion in northern China, the site of its joint venture with FAW Group, to achieve annual sales of 2 million units, according to Hiroji Onishi, CEO of Toyota’s China business.

Last week, Toyota said that it aims to spend around 52.5 billion yen ($439 million) to boost production with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. in 2017. At the Shanghai auto show, Onishi shared to reporters that talks with partners are ongoing about Toyota’s growth over the medium term but that no concrete decision has been made.

Work at the Guangzhou plant will mark the return of Toyota to expansion as it has frozen all major expenses in 2013 and hasn’t built a new assembly plant around the world since then. President Akio Toyoda sees the increasing demand for more cars from the existing plants and has signed off on the plan to raise production.

Read the entire article Toyota pursues plan to build plant in China, in talks for further expansion

Jaguar Land Rover to build an engine plant in Changsu, China

Jaguar Land Rover is finishing up plans to build an engine site just next to its new vehicle facility in Changshu, China. The carmaker will start vehicle output at site with joint venture partner Chery Automobile at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015, according to Ian Harnett, JLR's purchasing director.

He said that they already have set an opening for the engine factory, which would build JLR’s new range of Ingenium four-cylinder engines. He noted to Automotive News Europe that they will not develop another engine range.

While JLR has not disclosed which models will be produced in China, its president in the country, Bob Grace, has remarked at the Beijing auto show that the vehicle will be an SUV from the Land Rover.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover to build an engine plant in Changsu, China

Volkswagen inaugurates newest joint venture plant in Ningbo, China

The Volkswagen Group has inaugurated its newest joint venture plant in Ningbo, China. The inauguration was graced by Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of Volkswagen AG; Jochem Heizmann, Member of the carmaker’s Board of Management and President and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China; and Hu Maoyuan, chairman of SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd.

Shanghai-Volkswagen’s Ningbo plant is designed to produce up to 300,000 vehicles annually and will create 5,700 new jobs. The site features its own press, body and paint shops plus a final assembly unit and will build the new Skoda Superb.

The plant will soon produce Volkswagen and Skoda vehicles underpinned by the MQB platform. The new plant will demonstrate Volkswagen’s resource-efficient auto production, setting new standards in China.  The plant -- Shanghai-Volkswagen’s fifth vehicle plant -- will exhibit advanced processes along with measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Read the entire article Volkswagen inaugurates newest joint venture plant in Ningbo, China

Ford to add plants in China, India, Brazil and Russia by 2015

Ford Motor Co. is adding more sites in emerging markets around the world and is overhauling its production methods for more flexibility and lesser plant downtime, company officials remarked during a ceremony marking 100 years of Henry Ford's moving assembly line. The carmaker will add new assembly plants in China and India and new powertrain plants in Brazil, China, India and Russia by 2015.

The US carmaker disclosed that it is cutting the number of global vehicle platforms to nine from 15 by 2017. It is also planning to produce an average of four different vehicles per plant in order to improve efficiency, cut costs and respond quicker to changing consumer tastes. Ford is aiming to further improve its manufacturing flexibility and speed by adopting advanced techniques like 3D printing of prototype parts.

Ford said in a statement that 90 percent of its global sites by 2017 will operate virtually around the clock on three shifts a day, resulting to a boost in production run time by over 30 percent.

Read the entire article Ford to add plants in China, India, Brazil and Russia by 2015

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, with Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Corp. has recently opened its third assembly site in China. The site, located in Wuhan in Hubei province, is slated to build the Citroen C-Elysee and Peugeot 301 sedans and is expected to increase PSA’s annual capacity by two-thirds to 750,000 units by the end of 2015.

PSA’s expansion in China runs counter to its strategy at its home country France, where the carmaker is eyeing to implement a site closure and a number of job cuts. PSA built around 40 percent of its vehicles in France in 2012 and posted EUR576 million ($750 million) in operating losses. The French carmaker is currently implementing restructuring plan that calls for a closure of a factory just outside Paris and sending home around 11,200 workers across the country.

According to Klaus Paur, global head of automotive at industry researcher Ipsos, China is “probably the only way” for PSA to get out of its difficulties in Europe. He noted that PSA's continued dependence on Europe has "amplified" its problems.

Read the entire article PSA/Peugeot-Citroen opens third assembly site in China

China's State Council has approved "in principle" Volvo Car's proposed plant in Daqing, according to the municipality’s Web site. The proposed Daqing plant will be the carmaker’s second plant in China next to its factory in Chengdu, which is slated to commence producing a stretched variant of the S60 in the second half of 2013, local media say.

The CHY4.6-billion ($754 million) site will have an initial annual production capacity of 80,000 vehicles, which would be expanded to 300,000 units at a later stage, the Web site said.

The Daqing site is set to produce gasoline-powered sedans, sports utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and electric vehicles. China requires foreign carmakers to establish joint ventures with local companies before they could start producing in the country.

Read the entire article Volvo gains initial approval to build its second plant in China

General Motors Co. and its partners in China formally opened Sunday a new plant in the country for its low-cost no-frill Baojun brand.  GM’s new plant in Liuzhou, China will be the second factory to produce vehicles by Baojun, a unit that has starting price of as low as CHY40,000 ($6,400). The opening of the new plant is expected to further turn up the heat of the rivalry between foreign-led joint ventures that manufactures low-cost units for China’s middle class.

It is also expected to increase further the pressure on local entry-level carmakers like Chery and Geely. According to U.S. consulting firm Alix Partners, it is estimated that by 2013, around 65.6 million households in China will have annual incomes of CHY60,000 or more – which is enough for a family to acquire a low-cost car.

Nissan Motor Co. earlier launched the second of five models of its low-cost Venucia marque that the carmaker and its local partner plan to roll out in China by 2015. Nissan targets to sell 300,000 Venucia cars annually by 2015. GM's new plant in Liuzhou, which operates as part of the SAIC GM Wuling Automobile Co. joint venture, will eventually have an annual production capacity of 400,000 cars.

Read the entire article GM opens new plant in Liuzhou, China to produce Baojun sedans

Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover unit and Chery Automobile Co. have entered a 50:50 venture and intend to invest 10.9 billion yuan ($1.75 billion). The venture, which will develop a new brand, will construct a manufacturing plant in eastern China that’s expected to be done in 2014. In a press release, the companies said that a research and development center will also be set up.

This move isn’t surprising since Jaguar Land Rover does consider China to be its quickest-growing market. Other companies that have a factory in China (the world's biggest vehicle market) are Volkswagen Group's Audi, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The Chinese government demands that automakers partner with local firms to have domestic production and not be subject to the 25% import duty in the country.

When interviewed Bill Russo, president of Synergistic Ltd., said that the two parties “need each other.” JLR would also need to localize, similar to what its rivals are doing. On the other hand, Chery gets the capability to upgrade its facilities. In the second quarter, Jaguar Land Rover posted a 77% increase in profit to 305 million pounds ($487 million).

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover, Chery Automobile laid the foundation stone for their new plant in China

Fiat is thinking about a plan to build a second auto plant in China as part of its expansion in this country as it reduces its investment in the struggling European market. When interviewed in Shanghai, Jack Cheng, general manager of Fiat's joint venture in China with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., said that it may open another manufacturing site in the south.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is hoping to increasing sales in China in order to offset the losses in Europe. Fiat is cutting its expenses in its domestic market this year by 500 million euros to save cash, with demand in Europe expected to decrease for a fifth consecutive year. In the first half, Fiat's mass-market brands reported losses of 354 million euros.

Marchionne, who has been leading an industrywide effort to shut down excess assembly lines in Europe, has announced that he will close a second Italian factory unless he discovers a way to export vehicles to the U.S. Fiat will be introducing a plan to stop losses in Europe at the end of October. Fiat has has two partnerships in China but they failed. Eventually, Fiat began sales of its first China-made vehicle, the Viaggio compact, on Sept. 16.

Read the entire article Fiat considers a second auto plant in China

Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd. (SVW), a joint venture between the Volkswagen Group and SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., recently inaugurated a new plant in Yizheng, China. The inauguration was attended by Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann and Dr. Michael Macht, both members of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, and Hu Maoyuan, Chairman of SAIC.

Heizmann, who approved the building of the plant in July 2010, highlighted the good cooperation with the Chinese partners during the construction of the SVW plant. He disclosed that because the construction of the plant was finished in just two years, they were able to inaugurate the plant earlier than planned. 

Heizmann also boasted of the plant as one of the most environmentally compatible plants of the Volkswagen Group, using advanced technologies and new production processes.

Read the entire article Shanghai Volkswagen unveils new plant in Yizheng, China

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover's proposal to build a Chinese assembly plant. JLR, which is owned by India-based Tata Motors, had entered a joint venture last May with Chery Automobile to produce a 12 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) assembly plant in Changshu located in east China's Jiangsu province.

This factory is expected to build up to 130,000 vehicles annually. Since it has now complied with environmental requirements, the joint venture has to be approved by the National Reform and Development Commission, which is China's central economic agency. Since last year, there have already been reports about this deal.

It makes sense for JLR to focus in China, the largest auto market in the world, especially as the market for luxury sedans and SUVs continues to expand amid the decreasing trend in the overall market. JLR had been in talks with other Chinese companies such as Great Wall Motor about the possibility of joint venture deals but the talks had failed.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover gets Chinese approval to build assembly plant in Changshu

The battle for supremacy in China among premium SUVs with long wheelbases will soon hot as Mercedes-Benz reveals the long-wheelbase version of the GLC. The new Mercedes-Benz GLC L will only be sold in the Chinese market and will compete against the long-wheelbase variant of the Audi Q5 crossover (Q5 L). Mercedes-Benz is expected to unveil the new GCL L to the public at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in November 2018.

When compared, the new Mercedes-Benz GLC L basically looks like the regular wheelbase version – just like any extended model being sold in the Chinese market. However, the long wheelbase variant of the GCL does appear extended on the side because of its now stretched length. This is evident beyond the B-pillars of the new GLC L, where the roofline looks to have grown longer. This is also evident when looking at its rear doors, which now appear to be longer than those in the regular wheelbase version of the GLC SUV.

For its exact dimensions, the new Mercedes GCL L measures around 4.76 meters (187.6 inches) in overall length as well as 1.89 meters (74.7 inches) in overall width. Its wheelbase – the main focus of this version – has grown by around 100 mm (3.93 inches). An extended wheelbase typically results to larger space in the rear cabin, given rear passengers more room to operate, especially with their legs. Since many people in China tend to be chauffeured off than to drive, vehicles with long wheelbases are a hit in this part of the world. Nonetheless, Mercedes will offer both versions of the GLC – regular model and the L variant – in China.

Read the entire article China-exclusive 2019 Mercedes-Benz GCL L long-wheelbase finally introduced

That was fast! It was only a few days ago when Skoda teased its newest creation – the new all-new Skoda Kodiaq GT coupe-SUV -- through three sketched images. Now, the Czech carmaker is formally introducing online the coupe version of its Kodiaq SUV, revealing a number of details that should excite potential buyers in China.

According to Skoda, the exterior of the new Kodiaq GT coupe SUVis wrapped in sporty proportions. With a length of around 4.63 meters, it is slightly shorter than the Kodiaq SUV. On the front, the new Kodiaq GT is marked by a black-framed grille with chrome-plated dual ribs, as bordered on top by a wide bonnet, on the sides by LED headlights, and on the bottom by a three-dimensional bumper. The new Kodiaq SUV also features a front spoiler with wide air inlets.

When viewed from the sides, the new Skoda Kodiaq GT reveals coupe-like flanks, clear precise lines and a gently sloping roofline, which slope starts from behind the front doors. The coupe SUV also features dynamic wheel arches as well as body-colored chiseled side skirts.

Read the entire article China-exclusive Skoda Kodiaq GT coupe-SUV officially introduced

Finally, Skoda is entering the coupe-SUV segment. However, motorists in Europe or United States won't be able to get a piece of it. This is because Skoda is marketing the all-new coupe version of Kodiaq – the Skoda Kodiaq GT -- exclusive in China. It may arrive in other markets around the world, but for now, plans only involves exclusive sale in the Chinese market.

Skoda has yet to disclose important details about the all-new Kodiaq GT. Nonetheless, the fact that the Czech carmaker has released three design sketches, Skoda is all-bent to deliver a new coupe-SUV – as based on the Kodiaq SUV – for the Chinese market. This means that China will the only market in the world in which Skoda will be selling four SUV models: Kamiq, Karoq, Kodiaq and Kodiaq GT.

The new Kodiaq GT will be Skoda’s fourth SUV in China, and will be second exclusive model made just for the Chinese market, after the Kamiq. It will also be replacing the Kamiq as the brand’s most expensive SUV and its new flagship in China. According to the Czech carmaker, the Kodiaq GT coupe SUV is a demonstration of its commitment to the Chinese market, expecting the new model to be a key driver of the brand’s image.

Read the entire article Skoda releases first sketches of its China-exclusive Kodiaq GT coupe-SUV

German carmaker Volkswagen has just revealed the next generation of the VW Passat family sedan, but there is a twist. The all-new Passat that was just unveiled was created for the massive automotive market in China. Nonetheless, this Passat is an important model as might be able to provide a glimpse of how the next-gen sedan for the United States might look like when it finally arrives.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that while having the same name, the VW Passat bound for China is much different from the existing large sedan models in the United States and in Europe. The recently unveiled China-bound Passat sedan is undeniably influenced by the VW brand’s understated and simple design mantra. In fact, the front end of this China-bound Passat sedan seems to be adopted from the Arteon, especially the shape of its new grille.

The Arteon-like front grille of the China-bound VW Passat is flanked by elegant headlights that extend to the sides. When viewed from the sides, this Passat reveals a sleek profile with some liftback influences. While this Passat does have a sloped roofline, it is a traditional sedan featuring a small trunk opening.

Read the entire article Volkswagen unveils next-generation Passat for China

During the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, Geely revealed a new flagship saloon model, and for the very first time, it looks like the Chinese automaker might actually set the bar for other international marques to follow.

The Bo Rui GE is the first-ever model to roll out of the automaker’s new design centers set up by Peter Horbury, the company’s head of design, who once worked in Volvo and is now with Geely to oversee design of the company’s subsidiaries. He has been a part of brands like Lotus and LEVC, also known as the company that makes the London taxi.

According to Horbury, the Bo Rui GE was not made under the influence of the Western culture. Rather, it is a sign that the Chinese’s tastes are changing. During his interview, he also stated that the Chinese market has evolved and has become more sophisticated and mature compared to how they were a few years ago. This way, the automaker has also evolved into becoming a confident global brand that can now develop segment-leading cars, but still with a hint of its Chinese origin.

Read the entire article Geely’s flagship Bo Rui GE sedan appears ready to take on the world

For the longest time, the Skoda Yeti was the only crossover model that the automaker offered to the market. However, that particular model did not really live up to its body style because it became known as an eccentric but adorable tall and rugged hatchback. After the Yeti, Skoda decided to offer a much larger seven-passenger Kodiaq that came in the second half of 2016.

This was then followed by the smaller five seat only Karoq in 2017, which was meant to replace the Yeti. In 2018, Skoda finally decided to add the Kamiq into their portfolio. However, the said model will only be exclusively sold in China, unlike its older siblings that were made available all over the world.

Without having to mention this, the city oriented crossover will be positioned just below the Karoq that we mentioned earlier. This also rounds off Skoda’s three model crossover lineup that is being offered in China. When it comes to the design elements, there isn’t much for us to say because it looks pretty similar to the other two “K” models. However, one thing that you would notice is that the headlights have a different layout, and the main ones are significantly larger too.

Read the entire article Skoda’s small crossover - the Kamiq - will be exclusive to China

Mercedes-Benz is showing some love for the automotive customers in China by unveiling the long-wheelbase version of the A-Class at Auto China 2018, also known as the Beijing Motor Show. The very first A-Class L will be exclusively produced in China, with sales to commence in the country and in other parts of the world in the second half of the year.

While the fourth generation of the A-Class bound for Western Europe next month is the hatchback, the A-Class unveiled at Beijing is a notchback, and Mercedes-Benz is officially calling this compact car the A-Class L Sedan, with the “L” suffix referring to its long-wheelbase character.

This is because the wheelbase of the A-Class L Sedan (at 2,789 mm) is around 60 mm longer than that of the A-Class hatchback (at 2,729 mm), offering more knee room for rear passengers. In terms of dimensions, the new A-Class L Sedan measures 4,609 in length, 1,796 mm in width and 1,460 mm in height. It offers up to 420 liters of boot space.

Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan unveiled at 2018 Beijing Motor Show

There’s good news for international carmakers as the Chinese government recently announced that they have scrapped protectionist rules that don’t allow foreign automakers to set up businesses in China. With this change, the People’s Republic will be opening up its auto market in 2020.

Right now, part of the regulations are that to avoid hefty taxes to sell cars in China, foreign carmakers have to start open ventures with local firms and they must not own more than 50 percent of the Chinese counterpart.

These measures were actually introduced back in 1994. The Chinese government sought to promote Chinese companies, but at the same time, limit the influence of the already successful Western firms, which saw that the Chinese market has a huge potential for them.

Read the entire article China will open up car market to foreign automakers that offer EVs

It is inevitable that there will soon be a fully electric Rolls-Royce vehicle. But it seems that a Rolls-Royce with an electric powertrain will arrive earlier than everyone thinks. We heard that the automaker anticipates releasing the first one within several years. It’s also likely that it will be launched first in China as this is where most of the demand for this type of vehicle comes from.

Head of electric powertrains for the BMW Group, Stefan Juraschek, mentioned to Automotive News that they are looking into electrifying. He also said that to penetrate the Chinese market, automakers will have to think of electrifying different models.

Having said all that, Juraschek also stated that there has not been a final decision made for this yet, and it simply is just an idea. However, other executives have given more concrete statements about the model’s chances. If you recall, CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said last year that “electrification is the way forward.”

Read the entire article An electrified Rolls-Royce Phantom is probable due to rising demand in China