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BEIJING -- It's unusual for automakers to design vehicles exclusively for one foreign market. But that's quickly becoming the new normal in China, judging from the unveilings at the Beijing auto show. This week, Ford Motor Co. introduced the Ford Escort sedan, which is aimed at Chinese consumers. The new Escort is similar to the Focus in size but offers more interior space. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler disclosed that its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. may produce a Jeep model developed for the Chinese market. Details about the model are unavailable. Pictured: Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
BEIJING -- Daimler AG can expand production capacity at its Beijing plant to 350,000 vehicles a year if customer demand calls for it, said Rene Reif, the head of manufacturing at Beijing Benz Automotive. Daimler is expanding the plant before it starts making its long-wheelbase Mercedes C class, a new car tailored to China.
Volkswagen AG signaled that it will outsell General Motors and all other foreign carmakers in China for a second straight year. VW expects its China deliveries to rise at least 10 percent from last year's record, pushing deliveries above 3.5 million vehicles, CEO Martin Winterkorn said in the run-up to the Beijing auto show, which opens to the public this week.
BEIJING -- Tesla Motors Inc., a U.S. maker of electric vehicles, expects to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" building charging outlets in China, which could become the company's biggest global market next year, billionaire co-founder Elon Musk said. Tesla, of Palo Alto, Calif., plans to compete with rivals such as BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz for a share of China's emerging EV market, which the government wants to develop quickly.
Volvo Car Corp., the Swedish luxury carmaker owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said it expects China to surpass the United States as its largest market this year. Volvo says it probably will deliver at least 80,000 vehicles in the country in 2014, up 33 percent over last year.
CHANGSHU -- Toyota Motor Corp. wants locally procured parts to make up at least half the components in the gasoline-electric hybrid propulsion systems for the Corolla and Levin cars it plans to start making in China next year. Shinichi Matsumoto, vice president for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing in China, said Toyota needs more local content in order to reduce hybrid prices.
Two Chinese automakers, privately owned BYD Co. and state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., plan to form a joint venture to build hybrid and electric buses. Under the agreement signed Wednesday, the joint venture will be in Conghua, a city 60 kilometers northeast of the south China city of Guangzhou. Its vehicles will be sold in China and overseas, GAC said.
SHANGHAI -- Julian Blissett, a General Motors veteran, has been appointed executive vice president of Shanghai GM, GM's passenger vehicle joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp. The appointment takes effect on May 1, GM said. He will succeed Joseph Liu, who will retire from GM this year after holding the position since 2009.
BEIJING -- General Motors, undeterred by slowing growth in China, announced plans to plow $12 billion into the country by 2017 and boost vehicle manufacturing capacity 65 percent by 2020. The plan, unveiled Sunday at the Beijing auto show, will partly target expanding GM's SUV, crossover and luxury car offerings in China. All three segments are projected to continue to grow, GM says. "We are investing wisely and accelerating our vehicle development and manufacturing capacity so that we may keep pace with the market demand," GM China President Matt Tsien said.
BEIJING -- Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln, rooted as an American brand by its name and presidential limousines, took a step toward becoming global by unveiling a light truck first in China. The MKX Concept mid-sized crossover displayed at the Beijing auto show is the first Lincoln revealed outside the United States, the company said.