China auto news

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China to overhaul factory safety standards following GM supplier plant explosion

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Government/Legal, Safety, GM

CHINA-EXPLOSION-DISASTER

Last weekend's explosion at the factory of an automotive component supplier in China has led to a major crackdown in plant safety across the People's Republic, as the country's communist authorities attempt to avoid another catastrophe.

According to Bloomberg, facilities that use aluminum, magnesium, coal, wood, paper, tobacco, cotton and plastic are all subject to the safety campaign instigated by the State Council Work Safety Commission.

At least 75 people were killed and 185 injured in the explosion at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products' factory outside of Shanghai, early Saturday morning. It's the latest incident in a trouble-filled year for Chinese industry, which has seen 19 separate safety incidents during the first half of 2014, with over 200 people killed or missing.

This latest issue is being blamed on overcrowded workshops and an inability to remove metal dust, according to Bloomberg, leading Chinese President Xi Jinping to call for harsh punishments for those responsible and prompting the safety crackdown across the PRC.

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Mystery movie stunt shoot goes awry in a big hurry

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Safety, Videos, TV/Movies

Movie stunt goes bad

Stunt choreography is a business that really needs to be done properly. A failure in any one area has the potential to not just ruin the stunt and waste a film or TV show's budget, but could lead to a member of the cast or crew getting seriously hurt (or even killed).

We won't spoil what happens in this particular video, which looks like it's from a set somewhere in China (we hear Mandarin at the end, but clear, unaccented English in the beginning), buy it's safe to say that this particular stunt has gone very, very wrong. It's difficult to know if the failing was with the stunt driver or in the planning, but it seems clear that this video wasn't staged - something really did go wrong here, judging by the chaos following the stunt.

It's unclear if anyone was injured inside the car, although it seems that there were no injured bystanders. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Continue reading Mystery movie stunt shoot goes awry in a big hurry

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GM extends sympathy to Chinese explosion victims as death toll climbs to 75

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Government/Legal, Safety, GM

65 Dead & Over 100 Injured In Kunshan Factory Blast

General Motors China has extended its "deepest sympathy" to families of the 75 killed and 185 injured in Saturday's explosion at the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products' factory, near Shanghai. Kunshan Zhongrong polishes aluminum wheels for GM vehicles, is a component supplier of Dicastal, a major aluminum parts manufacturer, according to Just Auto.

"For the families of the victims and those injured in this terrible tragedy, we extend our deepest sympathy to them," a GM China spokesman told Just Auto.

The death toll at the plant has risen from 71 killed to 75, while the number of people injured has fallen from 186 to 185. Initial reports claimed that 68 people were killed and 187 injured in the blast, which occurred at 7:37 AM local time on Saturday (Friday evening on America's East Coast). The plant employs some 450 employees.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has sworn that those responsible will face severe punishment, with President Xi Jinping dispatching one of China's five state councilors to the facility, Automotive News reports. Five of the company's executives are currently in custody.

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Deadly explosion rocks Chinese auto parts plant near Shanghai [w/video]

08/02/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Plants/Manufacturing, Safety, Videos

Chinese auto parts explosion

An explosion at an auto parts plant owned by Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co. near Shanghai has killed at least 68 people, with 187 more injured. The blast has been traced back to errant sparks in a wheel-hub polishing workshop that apparently ignited dust. There were a total of 264 people working at the plant at the time of the explosion.

General Motors confirmed in an email to Bloomberg that the auto parts plant was an indirect supplier that produces parts, mostly plated and polished metal items, for a company called Dicastal, which is a direct supplier to the American automaker. Reports also indicate Volkswagen is a customer.

This blast is reportedly the worst industrial accident China has seen so far this year, and it again brings up issues of worker safety in the country. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, cited by Bloomberg, there have been 19 serious safety incidents recorded so far in China in 2014, with the death toll cresting 200. Scroll down below for a video news report from CCTV.

Continue reading Deadly explosion rocks Chinese auto parts plant near Shanghai [w/video]

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Tesla selling like gangbusters in China

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors, China

Earns Tesla

"Will it play in Peoria?" asks the age-old question about how Broadway shows would be received in Middle America. Well, apparently Tesla Motors plays well in Beijing. It's part of Tesla chief Elon Musk's grand plan, of course.

The California-based maker of the battery-electric Model S has delivered about 1,000 of the vehicles in China since shipments started there in April, Bloomberg News says, citing Dougherty & Co. analyst Andrea James, Barclays Plc analyst Brian Johnson and Wedbush Securities analyst Craig Irwin. Tesla also started shipping its first right-had drive Model S sedans to the UK in June.

It is estimated that all those deliveries helped push Tesla's second-quarter global vehicle deliveries close to the 7,550 mark, which is more than the company forecast and would set a new quarterly record (Tesla's second-quarter results will be announced later today). It would also mark about a 45 percent jump from Tesla's 2Q sales a year ago.

The Model S is priced at about $120,000 US in China (the culprits include the top-of-the-line battery pack as standard equipment and steep taxes that the government charges on vehicle imports) but that hasn't swayed status-conscious buyers from footing the bill, apparently. Tesla declined to comment on the China sales estimate when contacted by AutoblogGreen but we may learn more later today.

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GM gives China 7-seat minivan, still won't offer MPV in US

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Minivans/MPVs, China

Baojun 730

General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners, SAIC and Wuling, have announced a new seven-passenger minivan for the world's most populous country.

Called the Baojun 730, the budget-minded people mover will be available in four trims (Standard, Comfort, Luxury and 1.8 Comfort) and with two available engines. The base mill is a 1.5- liter four-cylinder, which GM says was developed specifically for "economy passenger vehicles." Although mum is the word on power, it can return impressive fuel economy, netting 7.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (33.1 miles per gallon). The other engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, although there's not a lick of info available on it. Regardless of engines, the sole transmission is of the five-speed manual variety.

Considering its primary purpose is to haul people and stuff, the 730's three rows of seats look reasonably spacious for a vehicle that rides on a mere 108-inch wheel base. There's no word on total passenger volume, although GM claims that even with seven passengers, there's nearly 12 cubic feet of cargo room.

Despite its status as an economy entry, there is a reasonable level of connectivity in the 730. An eight-inch touchscreen looks to be running some form of Chevrolet's MyLink system, while USB and Bluetooth connectivity will also be available. Cruise control, a backup camera and dual-zone climate control - relative rarities on a budget Chinese MPV - are also available.

Scroll down for the full press release from SAIC-GM-Wuling.

Continue reading GM gives China 7-seat minivan, still won't offer MPV in US

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Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China [UPDATE]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Cadillac, Luxury

2015 Cadillac ATS-L

UPDATE: Shanghai GM has issued an official press release on the ATS-L, which we've included below, and which mentions only the turbo four as the sole engine on offer. The text has been updated accordingly.

In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.

Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.

Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but whereas the standard ATS sedan offers three engine choices (ranging from a 2.0-liter four to a 3.6-liter V6), the ATS-L is apparently being offered only with the 2.0-liter turbo four, propelling the long-wheelbase sedan to 62 in 6.2 seconds. Other features include Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, high-performance run-flat tires and - despite the longer wheelbase - perfect 50/50 weight balance front to rear.

Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.

Continue reading Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China [UPDATE]

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Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Cadillac, Luxury

2015 Cadillac ATS-L

In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.

Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.

Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but appears to ditch the base 2.0-liter four to offer either the 2.0-liter turbo four or 3.6-liter V6. Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.

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China's Google is working on its own autonomous car

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Tech

Chinese motorists pass  by the Chinese W

If you had told us a decade ago that Google, of all companies, would be developing a driverless car, we likely would have asked you what you were smoking. But here we are, watching the Internet giant not only testing such systems on existing cars, but designing its own vehicles. It won't be the only one, it seems, as reports from China indicate that one of its own is following suit.

That company is Baidu, which for all intents and purposes is China's Google. Only, you know... it hasn't been banned in China. Baidu has a search engine, open-source online encyclopedia, searchable multimedia database... the works. It's the fifth most visited website on the internet behind Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo!, and ahead of Wikipedia, Twitter, Amazon and even Autoblog, hard as it is to believe. It was the first Chinese company to be indexed on the NASDAQ 100, and now, just like Google, it's developing its own driverless car technology.

Baidu's system reportedly uses radar, lasers, cameras and GPS to recognize its surroundings and pilot the car without driver intervention. It can read traffic signs, recognize voice commands and whatever else it needs to do in order to drive itself around.

That's about all we know at the moment, with the company scheduled to begin testing before the year's end. Baidu previously announced it was developing a driverless bicycle as well, though we can scarcely imagine how that would work.

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China probing German automakers over spare parts

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, China, Government/Legal, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Luxury

General Views Of Shanghai's Economy

The Chinese market has proven to be a boon to German luxury automakers. However, the way that the companies have allegedly been controlling their supply of spare parts has begun to draw the ire of the nation's government. According to insiders speaking to Bloomberg, officials from the country's economic planning organization have opened a probe into Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and some Japanese carmakers over claimed price inflation and limiting supply.

Specifically, the investigation centers around two aspects of how the companies do business, according to Bloomberg. Investigators want to know whether the original equipment component makers are able to sell spare parts only to automaker-authorized dealers or if they are also available to independent shops. There is also the issue of whether the price markup on replacement pieces is too high. The tight controls could be partially explained by China's reputation for producing counterfeit parts.

Evidently, the investigators haven't checked parts prices at car dealers elsewhere in the world. At least in the US, paying more at the dealer for factory components just goes along with owning a vehicle. If evidence of price fixing is found, the companies could face fines the equivalent of millions of dollars, according to Bloomberg.

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