A Chinese government official has sounded the most direct warning yet about the nation’s slumping car industry. China’s light-vehicle sales will come in under 30 million units this year and may even fall below 2017’s tally, Wu Wei, a divisional director under China’s top economic planning body, said Wednesday. Automakers and suppliers shouldn’t expand production capacity blindly, and instead should focus more of their investments on research and product development, according to Wu. A drop would mark the first full-year slide in China’s car sales in about two decades, coming on the heels of four straight months of declines as slower economic growth and a trade conflict with the U.S. hurts demand. Car sales in China totaled 28.9 million units last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Alliance Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said Monday that it invested in the latest round of funding for Transit, a multimodal transportation application company in Montreal. The mobile app is a one-stop shop for more than 175 metropolitan areas around the world, providing users with real-time transportation data. Led by Alliance Ventures, the Series B investment raised over $17 million and accelerates the startup company's mission of helping people reach destinations without using a car, a Transit spokesman said in an email. He said three other investors, InMotion Ventures, Accel and Real Ventures, contributed to the funding. Transit CEO Sam Vermette said in a statement: "New modes of mobility are entering the market at record speeds. It took decades for car-sharing to catch on. Now, e-bikes and scooters are being rolled out in weeks. This is an exciting time, as Transit helps people navigate their new mobility options."
China's top economic planning body is proposing to cut the tax levied on car purchases by half, as the impact of an escalating trade war with the United States threatens to slow the Chinese economy and affect demand for light vehicles, Bloomberg reported Monday. The country’s top economic planning body submitted a plan to key policymakers to lower the purchase tax to 5 percent for passenger vehicles with engines no bigger than 1.6 liters, according to people familiar with the matter. No decision has been made on implementation, Bloomberg reported, citing people who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Reuters reported earlier this month that the China Automobile Dealers Association submitted documents to the country's finance and commerce ministries proposing the 10 percent auto purchase tax be halved.
German motorcycle maker BMW Motor rad is not worried that a new excise tax for motorcycles would affect local retail prices in the near future, saying it has the technology to comply with the new tax structure The Excise Department is in the process of changing the calculation basis for motorcycles, shifting from engine size to CO2 emissions. Though the department has yet to announce the final draft of the new excise tax, the tentative structure begins with a 1% excise tax on motorcycles that release less than 10 grammes (g) of CO2 per kilometer (km) . Most are mass market motorcycles.
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Dutch battery maker Lithium Werks is investing 1.6 billion euros (12.8 billion yuan) in a massive lithium ion cell factory in China to meet surging demand for batteries. The factory will have production capacity of 8 gigawatt-hours per year, or the equivalent capacity of batteries to power 160,000 cars. It will be the company's second Chinese manufacturing site and should start production in early 2021, Chairman Kees Koolen said. The company will provide 20 percent of the cost in equity capital and raise the rest in project finance from a consortium of Chinese banks. "We're in China again because it moves faster than others. It makes decisions quickly," Koolen said. "We're also in discussions with European governments but they're just doing a lot of talking." Batteries will play a key role in the energy industry to complement the increasing share of intermittent renewable power, and in the auto industry as a cleaner alternative to gasoline and diesel engines prevalent in cars, buses and trucks across the world. The deal is part of a broader partnership signed last week between the Netherlands and China.