BEIJING -- Volkswagen Group reached an agreement with its dealers in China and pledged to continue setting reasonable sales targets to ensure a financially sound distribution network. Larissa Braun, a VW spokeswoman in Beijing, confirmed the agreement without giving additional details. The state-backed China Association of Automobile Dealers said Jan. 23 that the company and its distributors had found ways to "actively cope" with tough market conditions.
More auto dealerships in China quit their sales networks last year after profitability deteriorated, according to a trade group's survey. The China Auto Dealers Chamber of Commerce also found that dealers of Honda Motor Co.'s premium Acura brand were least satisfied, while Volkswagen AG's Audi ranked first. The number of vehicles sold at a loss rose, according to the group, which did not disclose details of its survey.
SAIC Motor Corp. received an order for 1,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids last week from a Shanghai supplier of battery charging equipment that plans to start a car-rental business. SAIC says it will fill the order with Roewe E50 small electric cars and Roewe 550 compact plug-in hybrid sedans. The buyer, STGCON New Energy Technology Co., supplies battery chargers and related components, as well as battery charging posts and stations for electrified vehicles.
China's Ministry of Commerce criticized the U.S. Commerce Department's preliminary decision last week to enact anti-dumping tariffs of up to 88 percent on tires imported from China. The ministry cited three arguments against the Obama administration's tariffs. First, the anti-dumping complaint was filed by U.S. trade unions -- not tire makers. Second, U.S. tire producers are making good profits. Third, U.S. tire imports from China have not damaged the U.S. tire industry.
Jiangling Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co.'s commercial truck venture in China, said profits surged 24 percent last year from 2013 to 2.1 billion yuan ($339 million). The company attributed strong profits to higher government subsidies and robust vehicle sales growth. Last year, Jiangling Motors delivered 275,858 Transit vans and JMC-brand trucks, vans, pickups and SUVs, up 20 percent from 2013.
Ford Motor Co. launched sales of the imported Mustang in China last week to expand its product lineup in the market. Priced at 399,800 to 429,800 yuan ($63,720 to $68,390), the car is powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine combined with a six-speed automatic transmission. Ford will start selling the imported 5.0-liter Mustang V-8 GT model in China later this year.
Aviation Industry Corp. of China, the nation's biggest aerospace company, is among bidders pursuing an acquisition of U.S. auto supplier Henniges Automotive Holdings Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said. State-owned AVIC, of Beijing, could pay about $1 billion (6.25 billion yuan) for Henniges, said two sources who asked not to be identified.
BEIJING -- Audi is recalling 35,000 vehicles in China to fix a fuel-injection defect that can generate fumes in the cabin. The cars were made between April 2011 and April 2012, and "in rare cases customers may notice a smell of fuel in affected vehicles," Audi said in a statement.
SHANGHAI -- China's economy is rapidly losing steam. The National Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday that the nation's gross domestic product grew only 7.4 percent last year. That is the slowest economic growth China has experienced in the past 24 years. What does this mean for automakers? It means they should prepare for less market growth and even fiercer competition. Pictured: Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
SHANGHAI -- Toyota Motor Corp., which fended off Volkswagen Group to remain the best-selling automaker worldwide in 2014, may lose the sales crown as early as this year as it falls behind in China. Toyota predicts that its global deliveries will decline 1 percent in 2015 to 10.2 million vehicles, or just 10,000 more than what Volkswagen sold worldwide last year.