Global Auto Brands, Chinese Government Pushes For EVs To Enter Auto Market

Apr 28, 2016 04:30 AM EDT | Catherin Lue

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Last year was a critical period for the Chinese auto industry where overall car sales snapped up 24.6 million. It may seem like a huge number to date, however, the results were still a little low compared to 2014, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

As it turns out, last year's sales growth was at 4.7 percent, which is actually lower compared to 6.9 percent from a year back, according to the . Even John Lawler, CEO and chairman of Ford China, agrees. Lawler said that sales are on the low and slowing down, with the auto market getting more and more competitive each time.

On the other hand, German car maker Audi doesn't feel too confident with the brand's popularity among Chinese buyers. Audi China president Joachim Wedler stated that the company feels the immense pressure coming from existing and new competitors.

A few months back, the Chinese economy was in a rather bad shape, with its GDP down to 6.9 percent and stock markets have been reeling over the status of the country's economy. However, China's auto sector kept the country in a suspended state of balance, according to the publication.

The also reported on electric vehicles and hybrids, or "new energy" vehicles finding its way into the Chinese market, together with SUV sales hitting high up to 52.4 percent for 2015. Domestic brand SUVs also saw sales soar up to 82.8 percent each year because these were typically more affordable than the foreign brands.

A little over one percent of registered cars in China are EVs, but the government sees this new breed a positive solution to the country's air pollution dilemma. In fact, buyers are offered EV incentives of up to $8,500 (55,000 CNY) for each electric car bought. These vehicles are also spared from traffic restrictions in the country's most congested cities, according to the news agency.

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