Jaguar and Land Rover to make move on Chinese market

October 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following the path cut by other luxury carmakers, Jaguar and Land Rover are gearing up for a full scale assault on the Chinese market.  Despite a cooling international market, the Chinese have a strong appetite for foreign luxury cars and Jaguar/Land Rover want a piece of the action.

Earlier this year there were reports that Jaguar and Land Rover owner, Tata Motors, would invest heavily in the two brands in order to improve their sales. It was also revealed that Tata was considering options for assembly and localization of selected Jaguar Land Rover products in China.

But it’s not easy getting a foothold in the Chinese market, you can’t just roll in and build a manufacturing plant. According to the Chinese law, you need to have a local partner. Which leaves JLR looking at possible joint ventures. Apparently,  JLR has decided to form a partnership with Chery, and the two companies are already seeking approval from local authorities to go ahead with their business plan. Continue reading “Jaguar and Land Rover to make move on Chinese market” »

Breaking China

August 5th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Gunpowder. The compass. Paper. The gas cylinder. The kite. Tea. The fork. Fireworks. This seemingly randomly assembled list of everyday items can actually all trace their roots back to one common starting point.

China.

A quick trawl through the archives of mankind will confirm that when it comes to cultural, social and technological developments there isn’t a civilisation that can hold a candle to the Chinese. There are few aspects of our lives today that aren’t touched by something that started as a brainwave in one of the various dynasties of The Middle Kingdom.

Will China Fall For A New Lion?

Yet in recent times, the Chinese have seemed rather content to take a back seat when it comes to creative genius. There’s no denying that, thanks to their unfailingly impressive national pride and ability to mobilise huge quantities of manpower, they currently lead the world when it comes to taking existing concepts and making them bigger, better and faster; but somehow the inspiration of times long gone seems to have abandoned them.

And nowhere is this more apparent than in the motor industry. Their efforts range from decent also-rans right through to the downright abysmal, but absolutely nowhere is there something that picks up the yardstick of automotive achievement and confidently plants it that few tantalising yards further down the field. But as of next week all that could change, because the Chinese are being handed a golden opportunity to take the motoring world into previously uncharted territory: making a large, French car popular with the mass market.

On 10th August 2011, Peugeot launches the new 508 onto the roads of China and with it their hopes of reversing a trend of complete Franco-failure with big cars.

There is no plainly obvious reason to anyone who doesn’t have a crippling issue with xenophobia why the large French motorcar has been such a spectacular sales lemon over the years. Sure they aren’t as ostensibly sporting as their Teutonic rivals, but that should only serve to add extra appeal to a large wedge of their target demographic. While there are some people who want their executive barge to be capable of behaving like a hot hatch which has succumbed to a little middle age spread, most will place far greater value on being wafted around in the type of supreme, cosseting comfort that only Gallic suspension engineers seem capable of providing. Continue reading “Breaking China” »

Growing Chinese market helps VW break sales records

June 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Volkswagen brand is moving from strength to strength in new car sales with reports that its sales figures are up 12.2 percent to a record-high of 2.09 million units in the first five months of the year. By comparison at this stage in 2010, VW had sold 1.86 million and that was considered excellent for the time.

The strong results can be largely attributed to the Chinese market which has become the Volkswagen brand’s largest single market and accounts for a third of this year’s sales. In the period from January to the end of May, VW sold 714,200 cars in China, recording a 15.3 percent increase.

In North America Volkswagen sold 194,600 vehicles, marking  a 19.7 percent growth in the period. In Central and Eastern Europe, VW’s sales rose 40.2 percent to 71,900 units, while the brand almost doubled deliveries to Russia at 34,400 vehicles. In its domestic market of Germany, the company’s sales reached 248,000, up by 3.6 percent.

Porsche marks 10 year stay in China with exclusive 911 Turbo

June 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been 10 years since Porsche first set up camp in the growing Chinese market and to celebrate, it has built a special edition 911 Turbo S.

There isn’t much in the way of mechanical mods with the special machine using the Turbo S’ 395kW, twin-turbo flat-six, mated to Porsche’s PDK sequential gearbox. However, the appearance package is quite distinctive with a bespoke Gold Bronze Metallic paint job set off with flat black and carbon fibre trim. Filling up the wheel guards are retro-inspired 19-inch black Fuchs-style alloys lifted off the 911 Sport Classic.

Interior tweaking includes a gold commemorative plaque, and plenty of black Alcantara fabric with contrasting gold stitching. Deluxe.

If you really want to get one of these special 911s, tough luck. Porsche is panning on building just 10 examples, and naturally, they’re all heading to China.

Chinese government to force car company mergers

May 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Currently, there are 130 different automakers doing business in China, and in an effort to consolidate the car market, the Chinese government has plans to encourage mergers and buyouts between the different manufacturers. These new guidelines are clever, they prohibit any existing automaker from building a new plant unless they acquire another existing manufacturer first.

Apparently, the majority of China’s automakers sell fewer than 10,000 units annually, with only five manufacturers shifting more than one million cars last year. To put it into numbers, the country’s top ten automakers sold 87 percent of all Chinese cars, or 11.89 million units. These statistics make it obvious why the government is urging these different car companies to merge.

In terms of exports the Chinese government’s long-term goal to have 20 percent of its automakers’ sales to head overseas, this is to be achieved by 2015. If it all goes to plan and larger, stronger car companies are making up the bulk of the country’s auto industry, it’s definitely achievable.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Great Wall X240 (pictured).

Ferrari 599 airbrushed to look like fine China

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
2009 marks the fifth anniversary of Ferraris presence in China. During this time Ferrari has witnessed, first-hand, the epic changes that have transformed East Asia and to commemorate the occasion, Ferrari has partnered with a prominent contemporary Chinese artist, Lu Hao, to create the unique Ferrari 599 China.

2009 marks the fifth anniversary of Ferraris presence in China. During this time Ferrari has witnessed, first-hand, the epic changes that have transformed East Asia and to commemorate the occasion, Ferrari has partnered with a prominent contemporary Chinese artist, Lu Hao, to create the unique Ferrari 599 China.

Collaboration between Aston Martin and Chinese artist Qin Yufen

August 20th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

aston-martin-art

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin China Chief Executive Officer Kenny Chen and the artist Qin Yufen have unveiled Beijing 008 at the city’s Today Art Museum in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. This interesting art installation celebrates the arrival of Aston Martin in China through a mix of traditional craft, iconographic imagery and sculpture.

Qin Yufen’s artwork is a remarkable installation that brings together Chinese handicraft skills, theoretical physics and the striking form of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage.

Born in 1954, Qin Yufen lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. Her work explores the intersection between art, nature and technology, using natural materials, flowing fabrics and traditional processes to highlight the beauty of natural forms and their technological equivalents. Working closely with the Today Art Museum, its director Zhang Zikang and Senior Independent Curator Huang Du, Qin Yufen based the installation upon Professor Stephen Hawking’s statement that ‘disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases’.

The resulting structure embraces history, time, culture and speed. A giant tape measure, built from steel and wood and carefully covered in hundreds of hexagons of yellow-dyed silk, symbolises the importance of eternal standards. Within the measure itself, a 2.4m high structure, the artist has illuminated Hawking’s quote using bright yellow neon. The measure is set on a vast carpet, imprinted with the distinctive radial city map of Beijing, signifying the earth, while high above, in the Today Art Museum’s cavernous main gallery, fly a swarm of kites, a traditional symbol of the city. Each kite has been painstakingly made by hand, depicting the evolution of form from bird into sports car. Finally, the piece is completed by a sculpture of Professor Hawking himself.

Mixing Qin Yufen’s own cross-cultural background with the industrial found objects that feature so prominently in her work, Beijing 008 is a deliberately ambiguous work of art. As the artist states, Hawking’s quote operates on a number of levels, but for her it represented the ‘essentially mysterious nature’ of the 21st century. Every element of the structure – save for the V8 Vantage – was constructed at the artist’s own studio in Beijing or at nearby workshops.

The show was officially opened by Dr Ulrich Bez, Kenny Chen, Qin Yufen and Zhang Zikang in front of a crowd of 800 friends of the gallery and of Aston Martin China. Beijing 008 was on show at the Today Art Museum, and coincided with the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games, held at the city’s new National Stadium, the ‘Bird’s Nest’.

The collaboration between Aston Martin and the Today Art Museum came at a critical time in China’s modern history, and marked the symbolic unification of East and West, as well as the arrival of a highly respected automotive brand into significant new markets and a globally respected gallery that has extensive experience of cultivating innovation.

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin China Chief Executive Officer Kenny Chen and the artist Qin Yufen have unveiled Beijing 008 at the city’s Today Art Museum in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. This interesting art installation celebrates the arrival of Aston Martin in China through a mix of traditional craft, iconographic imagery and sculpture.

Qin Yufen’s artwork is a remarkable installation that brings together Chinese handicraft skills, theoretical physics and the striking form of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage.

Born in 1954, Qin Yufen lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. Her work explores the intersection between art, nature and technology, using natural materials, flowing fabrics and traditional processes to highlight the beauty of natural forms and their technological equivalents. Working closely with the Today Art Museum, its director Zhang Zikang and Senior Independent Curator Huang Du, Qin Yufen based the installation upon Professor Stephen Hawking’s statement that ‘disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases’.

The resulting structure embraces history, time, culture and speed. A giant tape measure, built from steel and wood and carefully covered in hundreds of hexagons of yellow-dyed silk, symbolises the importance of eternal standards. Within the measure itself, a 2.4m high structure, the artist has illuminated Hawking’s quote using bright yellow neon. The measure is set on a vast carpet, imprinted with the distinctive radial city map of Beijing, signifying the earth, while high above, in the Today Art Museum’s cavernous main gallery, fly a swarm of kites, a traditional symbol of the city. Each kite has been painstakingly made by hand, depicting the evolution of form from bird into sports car. Finally, the piece is completed by a sculpture of Professor Hawking himself.

Mixing Qin Yufen’s own cross-cultural background with the industrial found objects that feature so prominently in her work, Beijing 008 is a deliberately ambiguous work of art. As the artist states, Hawking’s quote operates on a number of levels, but for her it represented the ‘essentially mysterious nature’ of the 21st century. Every element of the structure – save for the V8 Vantage – was constructed at the artist’s own studio in Beijing or at nearby workshops.

The show was officially opened by Dr Ulrich Bez, Kenny Chen, Qin Yufen and Zhang Zikang in front of a crowd of 800 friends of the gallery and of Aston Martin China. Beijing 008 was on show at the Today Art Museum, and coincided with the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games, held at the city’s new National Stadium, the ‘Bird’s Nest’.

The collaboration between Aston Martin and the Today Art Museum came at a critical time in China’s modern history, and marked the symbolic unification of East and West, as well as the arrival of a highly respected automotive brand into significant new markets and a globally respected gallery that has extensive experience of cultivating innovation.

Chrysler and Great Wall to work together

July 8th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

You may remember ‘Great Wall’ car company from recent Car and SUV news of the brand’s imminent arrival in New Zealand.

Chinese media report that the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-June that will allow them to explore a shared sales network and component purchasing. Great Wall Motor is recognized as an independent (not in a joint venture) SUV and pickup manufacturer with annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

The report also notes that one year has passed (July 4, 2007) since Chrysler signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Chery Automobile, but that no further developments have been seen since then.

Chrysler LLC and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assess the feasibility of developing a long-term, mutually beneficial strategic relationship covering a broad range of areas. Under the agreement, the two parties could leverage each other’s distribution network and component and technology capabilities to benefit consumers around the world. The MOU represents part of Chrysler’s ongoing efforts to explore opportunities to expand the Company’s involvement in the development of China’s auto industry, as well as growing Chrysler’s global business through partnerships.

The two parties have agreed to not disclose further details of the discussion until more specific plans are developed and approved.

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