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Global View

1Chinese Car Industry

China gears up in UK auto sector

  • China was the UK auto industry's third biggest trading partner in the first half of this year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

  • Almost 48,000 Chinese buyers chose one of the UK's premium and luxury cars during the six-month period, accounting for 7% of all UK auto exports, the SMMT said.

  • But sales in China fell 6.4% overall as the automotive sector adjusted to changes in regulation governing new car imports and British firms based some production in China.

  • Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said China-based production of British auto brands, and new regulations are reasons leading to the export drop. (China Daily, Aug. 1)

Tmall wants to bring 'car vending machines' to China

  • In the U.S., car-shopping means hours spent at a local dealership and tense negotiations with salespeople. In China, it requires little more than a tap on the touchscreen of your mobile phone.

  • So far that has meant simply purchasing a new vehicle online. But Tmall, the Alibaba Group-owned B2C shopping site, is looking to take this specific type of e-commerce to the next level - with the "Automotive Vending Machine."

  • According to Yu Wei, general manager of Tmall's automotive division, the company hopes to launch the first such vending machine in China (there is currently one in Singapore) later this year. Consumers would browse the cars stored in the massive garage-like structure on their smartphones, make their purchase, and then the cars would be delivered to them at ground level. (Alizila, Aug. 2)

2Automakers & Brands

Volvo sales rise; on track for record year

  • Volvo Car Corp. remains on course for another record year of sales after its global sales rose 6.2% in July, the Swedish car maker said Wednesday.

  • The company, owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said it sold 44,278 cars in July, as demand for its new 90-series cars and its best-selling first-generation XC60 SUV bolsters sales.

  • "Volvo sold a record 534,332 cars in 2016 and is confident it will report a new sales record this year," the company said.

  • Sales in China, Volvo's biggest market, rose 50% on the year to 9,267 cars, as the locally produced XC60, S60L and S90 models continued to prove popular in the region. (MarketWatch, Aug. 2)

Ferrari wants to build a bigger car for bigger profits

  • Ferrari NV is considering adding a roomy four-seat "utility vehicle" as part of a major expansion push beyond its traditional supercar niche in a bid to double profit by 2022, people familiar with the matter said.

  • The final five-year plan under Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who's set to retire in 2021, will target boosting annual deliveries beyond a self-imposed limit of 10,000 cars, which allows the company to operate with less-stringent fuel-economy rules, said the people.

  • Under the plan, which is likely to be unveiled in early 2018 and could expose the carmaker to stricter environmental regulations, Ferrari will also build more hybrid models to improve its vehicles' efficiency and woo new wealthy buyers, the people said. A Ferrari spokesman declined to comment. (Bloomberg, Aug. 1)

Honda's new model launches, SUVs help it outsell Toyota in China

  • Honda Motor is outselling Toyota Motor in China this year, data from the Japanese companies shows, helped by new model launches and strong SUV offerings.

  • Honda said on Wednesday it sold 113,803 vehicles in the world's biggest auto market last month, up 11.6% from a year earlier. Its sales volume for the first seven months of 2017 amounted to 757,970 vehicles, up 17.6% from the same period a year ago.

  • Toyota sold 732,900 vehicles in China during the first seven months of this year, up 6.2% from a year earlier. But that was roughly 25,000 vehicles less than Honda sold in the period. Toyota sold about 108,900 vehicles in July, up 11.4% from a year ago. (Reuters, Aug. 2)