English Press / Presse anglaise
FAW’s Besturn brand launched its first SUV last week under the X80 name and promised more SUV’s were in the pipeline. The X80, along with other Besturn vehicles is based on Mazda architecture via FAW’s partnership with Mazda where several Mazda models are currently produced.
The Besturn X80 is priced from 119,800RMB to 181,800RMB with 2.0L and 2.3L engines from the Mazda range, both automatic and manual gearboxes are being offered – an unusual move in the Chinese market where manufacturers like to launch first with a manual and then later with an automatic.
Besturn’s sales director, Mr. Zhang Shao Jun was quoted as saying the X80 is being aimed at the Honda CRV, Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage, other smaller and larger SUV’s are also reportedly in the works and will launch in due time. Mr. Zhang did not mention any sales goals for the X80 but he believes that the market will dictate where FAW will take the brand over the next few years.
According to a recent report in China Financial Report, Volvo’s plans to bring their new Chengdu plant online by June maybe at risk of delay.
In 2010 when Geely bought Volvo, the first step was to bring Volvo to the Chinese market to boost global sales with the first Chinese factory being announced to be settled in Chengdu under the name of Zhong-Jia Automotive (Chengdu) Automotive Production with a registered capital of 500 million RMB.
Journalists were able to visit the Chengdu factory unimpeded by a non existent security and found that the factory did not appear to be ready to produce the China only S60L for the Chinese market, and also noted that the welding, painting and production areas were not yet completed.
Volvo is a major sponsor of the Asia Fortune Forum and is expected to open the new factory during the forum period due to visits from leading industry people and also high level executives from Volvo Sweden.
The new factory will have a capacity of 200,000 cars per year in its first phase with the factory opening in June but with full scale production thought to have been pushed back until October 2013.
GAC’s big brand aspirations seem to going to plan, perhaps slower than expected but certainly on track. The state owned corp bought the last generation Alfa Romeo 166 platform which it quickly recycled and redeveloped it into a handsome midsize sedan and then an SUV with the SUV becoming a strong seller. Next up to obtain the Alfa DNA is this new GA3 sedan which seems to muster Volvo style into GAC’s very own design language at the front but runs into trouble at the rear with the ‘bubble butt‘ style and strange transparent rear lights.
The GA3 has already been shown at the Shanghai Auto Show where it was on stage in a red dress, this early run production version shown above in white shows that the concept shown in Shanghai is not too distant from the production version. Engine power will come from a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine and possibly even a 1.3T that is currently in development. A years end launch in Guangzhou Auto’s backyard at the Guangzhou Auto Show is more than likely, pricing is reportedly from 80,000RMB and rising.
The MG5 arrived in concept form in early 2011 and give us a taste of what a compact MG might look like, sadly the MG5 didn’t live quite up to MG’s sporting expectations thanks to a soft ride and a weak engine. The forthcoming MG5 with a 1.5T and a dual clutch will likely live up to all that is required from any car that carries the MG label. The turbo assisted 5 will likely carry this new corporate face from MG that was spotted late last week in China.
We initially thought the MG5 turbo would have aired at the Shanghai Auto Show last month but it seems the turbo will have to wait until later this year before it rears its (possible) new head.
Automotive Business Review
French press / Presse française
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