China has reversed a policy that would have nixed incentives for investments from foreign automakers, paving the way for further expansion by General Motors, Volkswagen and others. Legislators had removed automotive manufacturing from the list of industries that would receive government support in the future, but foreign investment fell off significantly in April. The country's National Development and Reform Commission responded by not only reinstating foreign automotive investment but by giving the business "preferential treatment," according to Automotive News. Last year, China's central and western regions attracted $19.2 billion in foreign investment across the board.
With China serving as the world's largest automotive market, manufacturers are keen to make inroads in the region. The local government incentivised foreign-owned manufacturing plants for some seven years before the National Development and Reform Commission removed the industry from its approved list in an attempt to stave off overcapacity. Automotive News reports GM and VW have both invested heavily in the region, with the latter set to begin construction on an all-new facility. The new plant is part of a $13 billion investment in China and will join Volkswagen's 12 other car and component facilities in the region.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Coolpad continues to stay under the radar and is hoping to make another splash in the low-end market
Coolpad, a name that may not come to mind as a common phone manufacturer, is showing off a couple of its latest devices here at CTIA 2013 -- the Quattro II 4G and a recently announced TDD/FDD device for China Mobile. If you'll recall back to August of last year, Coolpad introduced the original Quattro for the prepaid market on MetroPCS at the staggering price of $79 without any contract or subsidy. We're hearing about some pretty impressive sales numbers from that handset and Coolpad is hoping to follow that up with this sequel device. We're looking at a full plastic shelled device with a few different textures that feels nice but very light, with some basic specs. You'll be getting a 4.5-inch qHD (540x960) display, CDMA and LTE networking, Android 4.1, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon (MSM8930) processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 5MP camera.
Coolpad isn't ready to announce any specific pricing or carrier partners at this point, but has said that they are in talks with multiple carriers for deals to offer the handset. We can probably be on the lookout for this one to hit one of the prepaid providers at a super low price once again. Stick around after the break where you can see a full gallery of the Coolpad Quattro II, as well as a few pictures of another (unnamed) device that is the first TDD/FDD LTE handset available, which was just launched in partnership with China Mobile.
More: Android @ CTIA 2013
Pricing set in retail and online at RMB 3,299 for Chinese launch
We've been getting looks at the latest high-end Intel device from Lenovo, the K900, since all the way back at CES and it's finally ready to make its debut in China. Starting today both online and in retail stores, the K900 will go up for sale for 3,299 Yuan (about $536). If you'll recall back to our previous hands-on with the device, the K900 has a very flashy stainless steel construction with a couple of cool color options, and has many of the high-end specs you'd expect. We're looking at an Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core 2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch 1080P display and 13MP (f/1.8) Sony Exmor camera sensor. For software, Lenovo is shipping the K900 with Android 4.2 on-board, which is a good sign, along with its own set of customizations integrated.
Lenovo says that the launch is just in China for now, where it has done pretty well in the past, but that there are additional international markets that will see the device as we move through the summer. Given Lenovo's previous device launches, we still wouldn't expect to see this one head to the U.S. in any capacity.
Automotive News reports Lincoln is looking to Chinese luxury shoppers for customer service ideas. Those notions may eventually make their way back to the US in the form of new dealership training. Jim Farley, the executive vice president of global marketing for Ford, tells Automotive News, "In many ways, China will be a listening post for Lincoln in the United States. Soon China will be the largest luxury market in the world." Farley also said that in China, the Lincoln brand is currently where Lexus was when the Japanese brand first landed in the US.
Lincoln is slated to open its first Chinese dealerships in 2014. The brand is largely unknown in Asia, and Lincoln representatives have been visiting other luxury dealers in China for an idea of what buyers there expect. Lincoln has also studied non-automotive luxury shopping, paying special attention to high-end retail branding.
Of course, this whole song and dance feels awfully familiar. Lincoln has focused heavily on remaking the brand and recrafting its marketing here in the States, thus far without sufficient product to back the play. Lincoln is already late to the China game, and without the necessary products to lure buyers away from established bodies like Buick and Cadillac, Lincoln may be doomed to repeat its fate here in the US.Permalink | Email this | Comments
BAIC has officially pulled the covers off of its new Senova D Series sedan for China. The four-door is based on the old Saab 9-5 and boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Local buyers can get their hands on the machine for around $22,745 at current conversion rates. Other engine options include a turbocharged 1.8-liter four cylinder as well as turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder, and a wide range of safety equipment comes standard on every trim except the very base model. Those goodies include a tire pressure monitoring system, active head restraints, blind spot detection, driver fatigue detection and parking sensors.
The Senova nameplate serves every model based on former Saab architectures, including the Epsilon, GM2900 and GM2400 platforms as well as engine and transmission tech. In order to promote its new products, BAIC has hired Hollywood staple Nicolas Cage to serve as the company's brand ambassador. Cage stars in the Senova-heavy Town of Car Legends action-packed video short (directed by Olivier Megaton of Transporter 3 and Taken 2 fame) which you can view by scrolling below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Someone filed a patent application in China for the Jaguar XJ limousine seen above, but no one's sure who filed it or what the car is for. One camp thinks it's a State limo for UK royals like the Bentley State Limousine, another camp thinks it's the work of aftermarket coachbuilders.
One thing's for sure: Assuming it ever gets made, anyone who buys it wants an XJ in name only; the modifications have removed almost all of the grace of the standard sedan. Estimated to be more than three feet longer than an XJ, the stretched rear doors are backed by an even more stretched rear section that, in losing the trademark XJ C-pillar (the D-pillar on this car), adds all sorts of ungainliness to its backside. What's more, the roof rises from front to rear, we can only assume to make room for people with large hats. Or the NBA player that the Chinese call "Sweet Melon."
Head over to AutoSohu for more photos from the application, if you're sure that's what you really want.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While most automakers are clawing and scratching for every possible sale, it sounds like Ferrari is content in losing a few potential customers in the name of better exclusivity and higher profits. Autocar reports that Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo recently stated that the Italian automaker hopes to sell fewer than 7,000 units globally in 2013 compared to last year's tally of 7,318.
As a part of this plan, Ferrari will be slowing its production lines and trying to create a balanced market for its cars in the US, the Middle East, Europe and China - the latter two being the automaker's biggest markets. Montezemolo also said that Ferrari would not be expanding its model lineup with SUVs, sedans or small cars.Permalink | Email this | Comments