Chinese Government Set to Loosen Foreign Ownership of Auto Dealerships

Global carmakers recently touted their latest electric and SUV models in Beijing as they warily welcomed the promise China made with regards to allowing better foreign access to the largest auto market of the world where domestic vehicles have traditionally made major inroads.

Big automakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Toyota, Nissan, as well as Ford displayed more than 1,000 models and dozens of concept cars at the Beijing auto show.

According to reports, Nissan was one of the many car makers to announce new electric vehicles designed purposely for the Chinese local market. Nissan showcased its four-door Slyphy Zero Emission vehicle that can travel for 338 kilometers (210 miles) on a single charge.

Nissan’s chief performance officer Jose Monuz said the new Slyphy Zero Emission is the next step in their electrification strategy for China. He also noted that the company would unveil 20 electric models over the next coming years.

Auto executives are worried about an impending trade war between Beijing and Washington as a result of President Donald Trump’s policies.  Despite that, Beijing has announced that it would loosen foreign vehicle ownership restrictions; a move many are regarding as a possible olive branch to Mr. Trump.

At the moment China has a policy that limits foreign auto firms to a maximum of 50 per cent ownership in auto ventures with the remaining half going to local companies. The changes will end the shareholding limits in the next few years.

In response to the lessening of restrictions, the CEO of Volkswagen Group China told reporters that the overreaching principle behind the Chinese government’s thinking is important. He said he hoped liberalization will help bring about fair competition as well as a level playing field.

Head of China Business, Hubertus Troska said the biggest plant for Mercedes Benz in the world is located in Beijing and that the automaker is adding a second facility to strengthen its foothold in the Asian country.

However, Toyota executives who announced that the automaker will introduce 10 new electric vehicles by 2020, including two plug-in hybrids presented at the show, said they are being cautious about the reforms announced by the Chinese.

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