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Archive for the ‘China’ Category

PostHeaderIcon China Wants Half Of All New Cars To Come With AI By 2020

Chinese state planners have announced that the nation aims to have half of its new cars equipped with artificial intelligence by the year 2020. The announcement comes amid China’s plans to ramp up connected car and AI technology over the next decade.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


2020 Project Redspace - image 750751
“China is looking to grow its artificial technology industries massively in the next decade, with smart cars playing a major role in that growth”

As the world probes the new and exciting possibilities granted by rapidly accelerating technological advances, some countries are taking the initiative and actively pursuing the integration of these technologies directly into society at large. China seems to be one of the most active in this area, recently announcing its plans to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into at least half of all new cars in the next two years. In addition to adding AI to cars, China’s plans also include a massive wireless data network spread across the majority of the nation’s roads (upwards of 90 percent), thus enabling a more widespread utilization of connected vehicle technology.

China is looking to grow its artificial technology industries massively in the next decade, with smart cars playing a major role in that growth. The plan is to become a leader in artificial intelligence by the year 2025, as well as establish a reputation for producing smart cars by 2035.


Renault Symbioz Is Like A Mobile Room - image 731047
“AI and smart cars are particularly well-suited for a country China, which boasts a considerable number of ultra-dense “Mega Cities” within its borders.”

AI and smart cars are particularly well-suited for a country China, which boasts a considerable number of ultra-dense “Mega Cities” within its borders. With so many people packed into such a small area, plus growing demand for personal transport, technologies like AI and smart cars become almost a necessity.

Obviously, AI is well-suited for autonomous drive systems, allowing cars to “learn” as they drive, creating an archive of information on driving conditions, driving techniques, maps, and possible scenarios to anticipate in the future. The data can then be used to compile a self-driving car program (software) worthy of taking the wheel full-time.

Furthermore, AI-equipped cars are potentially safer, more efficient, and even more entertaining. With predicative AI, a car will be able to anticipate dangerous scenarios, either reducing the impact of a collision or avoiding it all together. Connected cars will also be able to wirelessly “communicate” with one another, sending warnings downstream about poor road conditions, congestion, and more. Plus, if a car is driving itself, that affords more time for the humans in the cockpit to do… well, whatever they want.


Renault Shows Off the Symbioz as a Working Prototype - image 752050
“AI-equipped cars are potentially safer, more efficient, and even more entertaining. However, like all things, there are some drawbacks to an AI car.”

However, like all things, there are some drawbacks to an AI car. First off, adding new algorithms and equipment can get expensive, especially when you start talking about bolting in the components needed for full autonomy, such as lidar, radar, camera systems, and the like. What’s more, the integration of non-AI cars (that is, cars driven by humans) with fleets of AI cars can get messy, with tons of new and changing variables putting immense pressure on both the machines and the humans, possibly even reducing safety in the short term. Finally, like any connected system, AI-equipped cars can get hacked, leading to concerns of mischief and even terrorism threats.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of advances China can implement in such a small time frame. Two years seems like a rather ambitious goal for equipping half all new cars with AI, but who knows – maybe it’ll happen.

Don’t forget to follow TopSpeed as we delve into any and all car-related news coming from the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.

References


HondaLens Augmented Reality - The Future of the Dealership Experience - image 749046

Read more technology news.


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Read more CES news.


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Read our full review on the 2020 Project Redspace.

PostHeaderIcon Chinese Businessman Pays for a BMW With Coins: Video

A Chinese man bought a BMW. That’s not exactly news-worthy, right? What makes this worthy of the news is that the man paid for the first installment for the Bimmer entirely with coins that added up to almost $11,000. Our parents did say that the loose change from our piggy banks would come in handy at some point in time.


“The customer was in the wholesale business and had accumulated a staggering amount of five mao coins that added up to 70,000 yuan”

If this looks like it’s one of those silly hoaxes that always seem to pop up at the start of every year, it’s not. This actually happened in the Putian province over in China. According to local reports, an unnamed man went to a BMW dealership last December 18 to buy a BMW with the intention of settling the first installment of the car using coins he had collected over the years. The dealership’s sales manager, a man, identified as Mr. Go, explained that the customer was in the wholesale business and had accumulated a staggering amount of five mao coins that added up to 70,000 yuan. That’s around $10,800 based on current exchange rates.

Fortunately, the customer found an accommodating dealership that not only agreed to the peculiar downpayment but also helped transport over ten boxes of coins from the customer’s house to the dealership. Video footage also shows a group of salespeople sitting in the dealership counting all the coins.

Before you start getting any ideas, it is important to remember that here in the U.S.; there is no federal statute that mandates a person, private business, or an organization to accept all amounts of currency or coins as payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a State law that says otherwise. That’s one of the reasons why gas stations and convenience stores don’t accept large denominations of currency. So, if you any of you decide to buy a BMW using quarters, you might want to check with the dealership first.

References


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV?

We already know that the Audi Q2 is here because it was launched in 2017. We also know that a long-wheelbase version of the Q2, dubbed the Q2 L, will go on sale in China in 2019. Now it seems that the small crossover family is getting another member in the form of an all-electric Q2 L that’s tipped to make its debut in the next few years.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667679
“The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.”

Word of the all-electric Q2 L’s existence comes by way of Indian Autos Blog, which claims that the pure electric variant of the Q2 carries the internal codename “Audi X55 BEV,” a nod to the Q2’s own “X55” codename. Details are scarce at this point, but the report indicated that the model will use the same MQB platform that currently underpins a number of Audi models, including the Q2. The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.

Beyond these details, there’s very little information to go by as far as the all-electric Q2 L is concerned. While there is a distinct possibility that it could arrive, it’s hard to assume that’s going to happen when non-electric Q2 hasn’t even arrived yet. From what we know, the Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model. That much was revealed through images from an Audi product planning presentation that the German automaker had in China last year. There have also been reports that the Q2 L will go to India, though that’s also contingent on how much Audi plans to spend to develop an RHD variant of the Q2 L.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667723
“The Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model”

An all-electric Audi Q2 L sounds good on paper, but there are plenty of reasonable questions to ask regarding the feasibility of the variant, including the kind of weight it’s carrying and how that translates to its efficiency. The setup of the chassis and suspension will also have to be reconfigured to fit electric motors instead of a traditional engine.

Given the world we live in, it’s possible that Audi does have an all-electric Q2 L on the table. But, until more details are revealed, we’re taking this report with a handful of salt.

References

Audi Q2


2017 Audi Q2 - image 667707

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q2.


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Read more Audi news.

PostHeaderIcon China Government Bans 553 Cars Because Pollution

It’s no secret that China has some of the worst air pollution in the world even with a huge improvement over the last year. And, the Chinese government thinks it can make it even better. It all starts with the banning of 553 vehicle models that don’t meet fuel consumption standards. We have yet to see a full list of specific vehicles that have been banned, but we do know they include models from Chevy, Audi, and Mercedes Benz – models like the Audi FV7145LCDBG sedan (Audi A1,) Mercedes BJ302ETAL2 sedan, and Chevy’s SGM7161DAA2 sedan (Similar to a Chevy Aveo).
The production ban will commence on January 1st, 2018 according to the China Vehicle Technology Sevice Center and is the first official ban on specific vehicles in the country.

Wang Liushend, an analyst at China Merchants Securities, said, “To emphasize a cut back on energy consumption, such documents will surface frequently in the future. It’s an essential move to ensure the healthy development of the industry in the long run.”

As far as the number of vehicles actually produced in China, your guess is as good as ours, but according to the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, Cui Dongshu, those 553 models account for a “very small” percentage. Of course, vehicles are a very small part of China’s pollution problem, with air quality typically getting much worth in the winter months, as such, the country has worked tirelessly to switch homes from coal to natural gas heating and it has even reduced steel production by as much as 50 percent in some areas.

In the end, this ban might help the country a little bit, however, it’s a long road to travel, and you can surely expect the country to initialize more bans in the future. It has even said that it would like to jump on the wagon of banning vehicles powered by fossil fuel at some point – much like France and the U.K. have aimed to do by 2040. Is this what we can expect in the future. Will more countries, including the U.S. begin strong-arming automakers to quit producing certain vehicles? Is the move away from fossil fuels happening too soon? Are we really ready to go fossil fuel free in the next 20 years? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References


Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01 - image 749089

Read more Chinese cars news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Is Poised To Become Best-Selling Luxury Car Brand in China

BMW is in the last stages of taking victory in China as the top-selling luxury brand in 2017, narrowly edging out rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Through November 2017, the Bavarian automaker has sold 542,362 units in China, barely a hair over Mercedes, which has sold 539,728 units in the same time frame. For its part, Audi fell from being the top-seller in China to third on the list with 528,706 sold units in 2017.


2017 BMW X1 LWB - image 674062
“Through November 2017, the Bavarian automaker has sold 542,362 units in China”

If you want to see how competitive the automotive market has become in China, this is the race you want to watch. Audi has been entrenched as the top-selling luxury car brand in the market for several years now. But the German automaker met controversy earlier this year for planning to launch a second distribution channel in China, angering dealerships who prompted to boycott the brand until the Audi canceled the controversial plan. That little blip was more than enough for BMW and Mercedes-Benz to usurp Audi from its lofty position.

Let’s be clear, however. This race is far from finished because sales from this month are still ongoing. We’re not going to find out the final results until sometime in January. That means Mercedes can still overtake BMW if it manages to outsell its rival in the last month of the year. It’s unlikely that it does so if you look at their respective sales numbers in November. In that month, BMW sold 55,293 vehicles in China, almost 5,000 more than Mercedes, which finished the month with 50,813 units sold. Audi has rebounded nicely from its mid-year controversy, registering 56,028 units sold in November.


2013 BMW 5-Series Plug-in Hybrid Sedan Concept
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Audi could have had a chance to catch up in the race, but with only a month remaining in 2017, it’s probably a little too late for the company to keep its title as the top-selling brand in China. As for Mercedes, it can still beat out BMW for that title, but it’s going to take a mammoth sales effort in December to get the job done. So it looks like it’s BMW’s title to lose at this point. It’s been a great race so far, and it’s clear that these three brands are already preparing for what could be a close race in 2018.

For its part, Bimmer is already taking a number of steps to increase its sales volume in the market. There are already reports that the company is engaged in talks with Great Wall Motor to create a joint venture to produce cars in China for Mini. Likewise, BMW is also launching a car-sharing program in Chengdu that involves a small fleet of i3 models.
If BMW does become the top-selling luxury brand in China, you can be sure that Mercedes and Audi will become even more aggressive in pushing their respective products once the calendar flips to 2018.

References


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Geely Looking To Acquire Daimler AG Stock

Geely is plucking assets left and right. First, it was Volvo. Then it turned its attention to Lynk & Co, the London Taxi Company, and, most recently, Lotus. Now it looks like the Chinese auto conglomerate is looking to dip its hands into one of the world’s most prestigious auto brands. A report from China Central Television revealed that Geely is looking to acquire a small take in Daimler AG, the parent company of a certain German automaker that calls itself Mercedes-Benz.


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“Geely is looking to acquire a three percent to five percent stake in the German auto conglomerate”

According to the CCTV report, Geely is looking to acquire a three percent to five percent stake in the German auto conglomerate. Such a deal would cost Geely almost €4 billion, which converts to around $4.73 billion. If the deal pushes through, Geely would become the third largest shareholder of Daimler, trailing only the company’s institutional shareholders (70.7%) and the Kuwait Investment Authority (6.8%). Private shareholders account for 19.4% of the company’s stock while the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance holds 3.1% percent of stocks.

Geely’s attempt to buy into Daimler AG isn’t a breaking development in the auto industry. Just last month, Reuters reported that the Chinese conglomerate offered to buy a five-percent stake in its German counterpart based on the issue of new shares at a discount. Daimler rejected the offer but did tell Geely that it was welcome to buy shares, provided that the latter do so in the open market with no discounts attached.

“The two sides are likely still in negotiations on a price, but the important thing here is Geely’s incredible aggressiveness in expanding its footprint in the auto industry”

The two sides are likely still in negotiations on a price, but the important thing here is Geely’s incredible aggressiveness in expanding its footprint in the auto industry. It’s already done incredible things with Volvo since taking ownership of the Swedish automaker in 2010. It’s making great strides with Lynk & Co. Its recent purchase of Lotus signals its intent to revive the fabled sports car brand. Now it’s pushing to get a piece of one of the biggest and most established automakers in the world.

You can make a case that Geely is turning into one of the big winners in the auto industry this year. Makes you wonder, too, what the future has to offer for the surging Chinese auto brand.

References


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Daimler news.


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Read more Geely news.

PostHeaderIcon Something New: Ford will use Alibaba to Sell Cars Online in China

Ford is making a push to become a direct seller in China after a Reuters report revealed that the American automaker is in the final stages of negotiations with Alibaba to sell cars directly to Chinese customers through the tech giant’s online retail arm Tmall. The report further claims that an announcement surrounding the joint venture is expected to take place today. In addition to plans of selling its cars online, Ford is also looking into developing a brick-and-mortar “Automotive Vending Machine” store concept with Alibaba.


Something New: Ford will use Alibaba to Sell Cars Online in China - image 751693
“If this partnership comes to fruition as most expect it to, it would be a major step for a company like Ford”

If this partnership comes to fruition as most expect it to, it would be a major step for a company like Ford. It will dip its toes into direct sales, a system that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks in large part to Tesla, which has used it since the beginning to the chagrin of frustrated franchised dealers.

The setup being discussed involves cars being sold online. Customers can then take delivery of the models they buy at traditional Ford dealerships. These dealerships will also handle the maintenance of the cars that are sold online. Then there’s the “Automotive Vending Machine” that Alibaba’s Tmall plans to test in China. This setup involves creating a retail store that’s connected to a multi-story garage that would look the part of a massive vending machine. Customers can check which cars are available at any given point using software that will be supplied by Ford. Once a customer decides to buy something, they can put at least 10 percent of a car’s price down, and pay the remaining balance in monthly installments through Alibaba’s Alipay service.


Something New: Ford will use Alibaba to Sell Cars Online in China - image 751694
“The direct sales setup isn’t something new to the industry, but it is something that Ford has yet to do on a massive scale”

The direct sales setup isn’t something new to the industry, but it is something that Ford has yet to do on a massive scale. This development effectively changes that as the company continues to ramp up its presence in the Chinese market. The direct sales system could be a big part of China’s automotive future.

That said, don’t expect it to fly in the US where there’s a larger resistance to the direct sales format. Tesla has fought that battle from state to state, even at the cost of being banned in some states. As big as Ford is, I don’t think it’s willing to take the risk of alienating an entrenched franchised dealership network. That’s a big reason Ford decided to go to China to try this new system. There’s less resistance there, and the market itself is open to the idea of buying Ford models online as opposed to having to go the traditional route of buying through dealerships.

References



Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Meet the Jeep Grand Commander – A Jeep Built Just for China

It’s no secret Jeep has big plans for the Chinese market and these leaked plans of a seven-passenger SUV confirm the automaker’s future goals. It’s called the Grand Commander, and it’s basically the production version of the Jeep Yuntu Concept seen at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The news comes by way of China’s National Trademark Office where the patent images were lifted.

Reports around the web indicate the Grand Commander will utilize Jeep’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that debuted with the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. The engine will likely produce the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Wrangler’s future plug-in hybrid powertrain is also expected in the Grand Commander. Expect Fiat Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic and an AWD or 4WD system, as well.

Information on the Grand Commander’s debut date and its first model year is still absent, however, it’s expected Jeep will reveal the three-row SUV at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show in April. If that’s true, the Grand Commander could be on track for the 2019 model year. Jeep will most likely build the Grand Commander in China.

Continue reading for more information.

TopSpeed’s Thoughts


Meet the Jeep Grand Commander - A Jeep Built Just for China - image 751902

These sketches have us scratching our head. It looks like Jeep grafted on the Grand Cherokee’s front clip onto a Dodge Durango. While that might sound lazy move for the U.S. market, it could be a great plan for the Chinese market. The Dodge Durango isn’t sold there, so the reference would likely be lost. The cavernous interior should prove plenty big, and the added Jeep branding would make it a luxury buy. Of course, it’s completely unknown if the Grand Commander will share its unibody platform with the Durango. It’s the rear styling that suggests the correlation.


Meet the Jeep Grand Commander - A Jeep Built Just for China - image 751908

On another note, Jeep is intrinsically American, which is a big selling point in the Chinese market. It’s the same principle that makes German brands so appealing to Americans. Still, Jeep would likely build the Grand Commander in China to save on production costs while capitalizing on China’s impressive labor force.

More solid information will likely become known at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show where Jeep is expected to debut the SUV. We’ll keep you posted with more details as they become available.

Hat tip to Motor1

References


Jeep Joining The Hybrid Bandwagon Is Proof That The Hybrid Revolution Is In Full Swing - image 714575

Read more about the Jeep Yuntu Concept

2018 Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon China’s Elevated Bus Project Was A Scam After All

It seemed like a good idea at first, maybe even revolutionary, but like most good ideas with no follow through, the elevated bus that was being developed in China appears to have been nothing more than a scam. According to local newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, Chinese authorities have opened up an investigation on the people behind the “Transit Elevated Bus” for alleged illegal fundraising.

The report also says that over 30 people connected to the capital-raising platform Huaying Kailai have been detained and are under investigation. This comes after 72 investors in the project filed lawsuits against the company, which was able to raise over 9 billion yuan, or roughly around $1.3 billion, since the project’s highly publicized debut in Qinghuangdao last year. Apparently, the promise of a technological revolution on Chinese roads quickly devolved into suspicion about the company’s real agenda. Design firm Autek learned quickly about the veracity of the company after having to foot the bill for the millions spent working on the bus. Things got worse when the test track that was used in the unveiling of the elevated bus was left on the road with seemingly no intention of getting packed up. Ultimately, the local government of Qinghuangdao ordered the tracks be destroyed and the test bus sent to a parking garage, presumably to collect dust for the foreseeable future.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Drops "Self-Driving" Phrase On Chinese Website After Reported Autopilot Crash

The Chinese auto market is the biggest in the world and it just might also be the most influential. Tesla found that out the hard way when it was forced to acknowledge a mistake it made on its Chinese website describing its Autopilot system as a “self-driving” feature. The terminology has since been scrubbed from the website and replaced with a phrase that more closely translates to “self-assisted driving.”

The brouhaha started when Luo Zhen, a Chinese owner of a Tesla Model S, sideswiped a stopped car along the side of a road when his Model S’s Autopilot system engaged. Luo spoke with Reuters in the aftermath of the incident, calling Tesla and its local sales staff out for misrepresenting the technology’s capabilities by touting its functions using a phrase that translated to “self-driving.” Luo’s claims of misrepresentation were corroborated by other owners of Tesla models in the country, with some, including Luo, even saying that demonstrators took their hands off the steering wheel and then took their feet off the pedals to showcase the system’s capabilities.

Tesla admitted that the crash took place but the normally stubborn automaker was also forced to take the unusual step of acknowledging the mistake it made on its website. A Tesla spokesperson spoke with Reuters after the changes in the website to deny that Luo’s crash and the publicity it generated were the reasons behind the edits. According to the spokesperson, the change was simply part of Tesla’s “ongoing work in improving translations.”

Unfortunately, a spin like that is as obvious as it is blatant. That or the timing of the edits in the wake of the crash’s publicity can be chalked up to a happy coincidence. In any case, Reuters also learned that the electric car maker has reached out to its staff in the country retraining them to inform future customers that the Autopilot system is a “self-assisted technology” and that drivers must always have their hands on the wheel when engaging the system.

It’s unclear if Tesla if going to make a similar move in rephrasing the system’s capabilities in other markets, but the fact that it had to do it in China goes to show how important that market is for the company and any attempts at pissing it off would be bad for business.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW Set To Launch Autonomous Vehicles In China By 2021

BMW has its sights sets on launching autonomous driving vehicles in China and the timetable has been set for 2021. Speaking at a summit on artificial intelligence and robotics in Shenzhen, BMW senior manager for highly automated driving Maximilian Doemling made the proclamation about the German automaker’s ambitious plan to have fully autonomous vehicles hit the streets in five years.

It’s no secret that BMW is already hard at work developing the technology that it plans to utilize as part of the company’s “Project i Next.” The 2021 timetable has also been talked about before, most recently by BMW board member Klaus Froehlich, who spoke with Automotive News back in June 2016 about the automaker’s plan to roll out a flagship autonomous model by 2021.

Doemling took it a step further when he expounded on the potential functions of BMW’s autonomous technology, describing a self-driving car in its most literal sense: a car that drives, changes lanes, and does everything by itself, enabling the driver to do other things like play with a smartphone.

It’s an ambitious statement to make, even for a company of BMW’s size and stature. That’s especially true today when Tesla, the first company to roll out autonomous driving technology in its cars, has resisted from describing the system as “self-driving” in the wake of multiple crashes and accidents that have been attributed to the electric car maker’s Autopilot system.

Only time will tell if BMW’s version of autonomous driving will live up to Doemling’s description. What appears certain though is that the German automaker is confident that it will have its autonomous driving cars out on the streets by 2021 with China being one of the first markets, if not the first itself, to get them.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Porsche Will Sell Watered Down Versions Of These Models In China

Like just about every automaker in the industry, Porsche counts China as one of its biggest and most important markets. The German automaker admittedly hasn’t reached the heights it wants in the country, so to remedy that, it’s planning to offer cheaper and less powerful versions of the latest Boxster and Cayman models.

The move comes in the wake of tepid sales for the German automaker’s sports car line, a far cry from the popularity of the Cayenne SUV in the market. Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Jan Roth, the head of Porsche’s 718 model line, lamented that the company’s primary issue involves the pricing of the two models. The flat-six version of the Cayman, for example, was priced at 700,000 renminbi, which converts to about $105,000 based on current exchange rates. But according to Roth, Chinese customers are more inclined to purchase a sports car that sells for less than 600,000 (about $90,000), calling the amount the “magical threshold for customers in China.”

So to appease the market, Porsche is planning to develop “China-specific” Boxster and Cayman models to persuade reluctant buyers to consider the two models. Not much is known about how the company plans to specifically package these models, but one certainty is that both base versions of the Boxster and Cayman will utilize a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 250 horsepower. It’s a slight drop in power from the traditional, 275-horsepower base Cayman model that all other markets will have, but it could spell the difference between attracting more Chinese customers to the table, especially if Porsche prices it right at the level that customers are willing to spend for the car.

That’s going to be the big question now that Porsche appears to be gearing up for this move. How much will these two base Boxster and Cayman models be priced? If Roth’s comments are any indication, somewhere in the 600,000 renminbi range is as good a guess as any at this point.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon China's Been Watching; Puts Halt to Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Once a novelty for the few who actually bought a Tesla, the brand’s Autopilot system has been changing the world. It took practically no time at all for other manufacturers to being developing and offering their own forms of advanced autonomous technology. Now, with Tesla going under the microscope for just about any crash involving a Tesla Model S or Model X, China has decided to place a temporary ban on Autonomous car testing – at least until the government can set forth new regulations governing the use of the technology.

According to Automotive News Europe, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the police do have a draft of the proposed rules in hand, but so far there is has been no timeline as to when the news regulations will be finalized, approved, and set into play. I wouldn’t expect it to take an incredibly long time, though, as the push for autonomous technology in China is part of an initiative to upgrade technology. Which is, of course, paramount if China wants to compete against the other low-cost countries that are in the process of increasing their role in manufacturing.

While putting a halt on autonomous car testing in China will most certainly hurt auto manufacturers that are anxious to perfect their systems and bring them to the masses, it doesn’t mean as much to the people who will ultimately be using the systems in the future. Keep reading to learn more about that.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz E-Class L

Mercedes-Benz is appealing to the growing market of luxury sedans in the Chinese market with this stretched version of the E-Class. The car, called the E-Class L, is built in China and is exclusively sold there, meaning no other markets see this E-Class limousine.

The car shares the same basic design and structure of the standard E-Class, but is lengthened by 5.5 inches for a wheelbase that measures 121.2 inches – 1.7 inches longer than the standard S-Class. This directly adds 5.3 inches of extra legroom for the rear seats, basically making the E-Class L a miniature Maybach.

The Benz also comes with a slew of luxury amenities and comforts, including a folding center armrest for the rear seats that offers wireless phone charging, heated leather, a USB port, and an integrated touch screen controller. Comforts are not lost on front seat occupants either. The driver has use of the dual 12.3-inch display screens, new touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, and the infotainment system controller on the center console that recognizes handwriting and characters.

Mercedes has only confirmed a single powertrain for the Chinese E-Class L – the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This means the car’s designation will be the E200 L.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class L.


PostHeaderIcon China Developing Mind-Controlled Driving Technology

The race to develop autonomous driving technology may be the rage in the industry these days, but the research team at Nankai University in Tianjin, China has taken a different approach altogether. Who needs autonomous driving when you can bring mind-controlled vehicles to reality.

The group of researchers, in cooperation with Chinese car maker Great Wall Motor, have spent the last two years developing this technology, and it’s come to a point where enough progress has been made that the mind-controlled car can now drive in a straight line. That might not sound as impressive as the advancements made in autonomous driving technology, but the mere suggestion that cars can be controlled by the human brain and to have such a car move in a straight line because of it, is incredibly impressive.

The people behind the project are determined to raise awareness about the technology as much as they can. Right now, the mind-control aspect of the technology works when a driver wears brain signal-reading equipment on his head. According to Zhang Zhao, a member of the research team, the headgear is made up of 16 sensors that are able to capture electroencephalogram (EEG) signals from the driver’s brain. These signals are then sent to a proprietary computer program that selects the relevant signals and translates them into the car’s computer. The computer then processes these signals and translates them into the control command of the car, enabling it to do a variety of functions, including go forward, backward, or come to a complete standstill.

Concerns surrounding it’s safety in real-world applications are understandable, although Associate Professor Duan Feng, the project leader from the university’s College of Computer and Control Engineering, said that the tech won’t function unless a driver is concentrated on changing the car’s moving status.

Duan also expressed confidence that the system will be able to serve its purpose of improving driving conditions, especially for people with disabilities. Just as important is his belief that the tech could also advance to the point where it can work hand-in-hand with autonomous driving technology to create a revolutionary driving experience.

All that said, the technology is still in its infancy stage and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to round it into shape. Duan himself doesn’t see the tech being ready for real-world use in the near future.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Roll Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda

When the Top Speed staff was brainstorming possible themes for Bespoke Rolls-Royce products, one of our editors jokingly suggested a panda-themed car. When Rolls-Royce announced the Ghost Chengdu-Panda for the Chengdu Motor Show, my first thought was, “Jeez, guys, we were only kidding!”

Fortunately, the Ghost Chengdu-Panda is much more tasteful than the black-and-white monstrosity that we envisioned. This tastefully modified Bespoke Ghost features special paint and interior trim, inspired by China’s favorite animal. It’s a handsome and subtle upgrade for Rolls-Royce’s junior sedan, and showcases the fact that Rolls-Royce doesn’t restrict the special stuff to the top-level Phantom. Any current Rolls-Royce product can be sent to the Bespoke Design team for that all-important personal touch, whether subtle or outrageous.

Introduced in 2009, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is the marque’s junior line, but that’s not to say it’s “lesser” in any way. The Ghost is aimed at a different demographic of the ultra-luxury market; buyers who are more likely to drive their own cars than be chauffeured. The more compact size creates a more engaging driving experience. With a V-12 under the hood, extended wheelbase and executive-class body, the Ghost is about the size of a 2014 Mercedes S-Class or 2013 BMW 7-Series (which it’s based on), but the luxury is in a different category.

Continue reading to learn more about the Roll Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda.


PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda for China

Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda-0

Dragons and Pandas are both symbols of China, which is a bit weird considering how different these things are. Then again, China is a huge country with a diverse culture. So having done the dragon thing a number of times, Rolls-Royce has this time utilized that other symbol to create the special edition Ghost Chengdu-Panda for the Chinese market.

Now, having seen a few pandas, we were expecting this model to be black and white. But instead Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda appears to be inspired by a grizzly bear as it features a Gunmetal and Palladium exterior color and a brown interior.

Not that we’re complaining, of course, as both colors are severely classy.  The exterior of Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda is garnished with a bespoke coach line that feature the same bamboo motif you also find on the dashboard, while the Spirit of Ecstasy is given a nice gunmetal coating.

Inside, the Extended Wheelbase Ghost offer plush leather seat with Fame Green details and  Dark Spice and Soft Seashell detailing as well as Tudor Oak fascia and picnic tables. But the biggest highlight of Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda is the embroidered panda emblems meticulously stitched into the headrests. That is the uniquest feature we’ve ever seen in a car!

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The post Rolls-Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda for China appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro

As we inch closer to the full-electric car taking the place of gasoline-fueled cars, we are seeing a transition to plug-in hybrids. These models give buyers a short EV distance and a standard hybrid setup for longer journeys. The Audi Q7 has already joined these ranks with the 2016 Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, and now it is spreading the e-tron love to China with the Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.

I don’t know exactly why Audi decided to use a different engine in the China-spec Q7 e-tron, but I can only assume that it is because diesel engines are not popular there. In the U.S., we’ve had the same issues with diesel vehicles, but Audi’s never been overly shy about offering diesel-powered cars here.

How does this China-exclusive version of the Q7 e-tron stack up next to the already unveiled TDI version?

Find out by continuing to read my full review 2015 Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.

Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro originally appeared on topspeed.com on Saturday, 18 April 2015 23:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Buick Excelle GT

Originally introduced as rebadged Daewoo Lacetti, the Excelle received an extensive facelift in 2009, ditching the outdated appearance of its Korean ancestor. The GT sedan was launched a year later, preceding the U.S.-spec Verano that arrived for the 2012 model year. After five successful years and an outstanding 2014, during which it dominated China’s compact-sedan market, the Excelle received a complete makeover inside and out, as well as a pair of new four-cylinder engines.

Although the Excelle remains a China-exclusive model following this update, its launch is of great importance to car enthusiasts here in the U.S., as it provides us with our best look yet at the next-generation Verano. Set to receive its first update since its introduction in 2011, the Verano should mimic the Excelle GT in most aspects except for the drivetrain compartment, where bigger engines are to be fitted for the U.S. market.

Updated 03/09/2015: Buick unveiled the official details and images on its 2015 Excelle GT.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Buick Excelle.

Buick Excelle GT originally appeared on topspeed.com on Monday, 9 March 2015 13:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Buick Excelle

Originally introduced as rebadged Daewoo Lacetti, the Excelle received an extensive facelift in 2009, ditching the outdated appearance of its Korean ancestor. The GT sedan was launched a year later, preceding the U.S.-spec Verano that arrived for the 2012 model year. After five successful years and an outstanding 2014, during which it dominated China’s compact-sedan market, the Excelle received a complete makeover inside and out, and a pair of new four-cylinder engines.

The new Excelle has a sportier exterior with redesigned fascias, an updated interior with new technology, a couple of fuel efficient powertrains and, for the first time, a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Naturally, the Excelle remains a China-exclusive model, but I expect the new Excelle is our best look yet at the 2017 Verano. Keep reading for the full run-down.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Buick Excelle.

Buick Excelle originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 13 February 2015 16:59 EST.

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