Report: Maserati orders triple on strength of Quattroporte demand in China

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, China, Maserati, Luxury

2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4

Considering Maserati sold all of 6,300 cars globally in 2012, its goal of selling 50,000 by 2015 seemed like a bit of a stretch to say the least, but it turns the Fiat-owned automaker was on to something. Reuters is reporting that Maserati has already received about 17,000 orders for cars this year, with help from the new 2014 Quattroporte and strong demand in China.

The US continues to be the top market for Maserati sales, but the report quotes Harald Wester, brand chief executive, as saying that China is now the top market for Quattroporte. As big of an improvement as this is it bears mentioning that the Ghibli isn’t even on sale yet and the Levante SUV, a redesigned GranTurismo and a new 911-fighting coupe are still waiting in the pipeline.

Maserati orders triple on strength of Quattroporte demand in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Trademark trolls cause headache for Tesla in China

Filed under: China, Government/Legal, Electric

It happened to Apple when it first tried to enter the Chinese market, and now it’s happening to electric vehicle maker Tesla: the automaker’s name has already been registered in China by trademark trolls, reports Want China Times. Trademark trolls are people or organizations that register company names in anticipation of selling them when said company decides to enter the market. After two years of litigation, Apple ended up paying Chinese computer monitor maker Proview $60 million to buy the “IPAD” trademark. Tesla has been in litigation since 2009 for the use of its name, and so far, it doesn’t have much to show for it.

“Tesla” was registered in 2009 by Zhan Baosheng, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker already made an offer to buy it for two million yuan ($326,000), but Baosheng wanted the equivalent of about $32.6 million for the trademark. Tesla’s fight to use its name has been somewhat fruitful – it bought the rights to “TESLA MOTORS” on May 6 – but the name can’t be used for finished automotive products for various legal reasons.

The Silicon Valley-based EV maker might have some leverage in its case to acquire ownership of the “Tesla” trademark, because Baosheng hasn’t used the name since he registered it in 2009, and he hasn’t yet proved that he develops products relating to EVs.

Trademark trolls cause headache for Tesla in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche celebrates 10 years in China with special edition 911 Turbo S

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, China, Porsche, Design/Style, Luxury

2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S China Edition

2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S China Edition – Click above to enlarge image

To celebrate its tenth anniversary in the ever-hungry, ever-growing Chinese market, Porsche is unleashing a special edition version of its 911 Turbo S. The car comes with the Turbo S’ 530-horsepower, twin-turbo flat-six, mated to Porsche’s PDK sequential gearbox.

Rather than go crazy with mechanical mods, Porsche is sticking with an appearance package for the commemorative 911. Outside, there’s special Gold Bronze Metallic paint set off with flat black and carbon fiber accents. The car rides on sexy black 19-inch Fuchs-style alloys borrowed from the 911 Sport Classic.

Inside, customers get a gold commemorative plaque, and all the Alcantara you could ever want. Porsche sets off the acres of black fabric with contrasting gold stitching.

If you want one, you’re pretty much out of luck. Porsche is only going to build 10 examples, and they’re all going to China.

Porsche celebrates 10 years in China with special edition 911 Turbo S originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Buick sells 3 millionth car in China… since 1999

Filed under: China, Buick, GM

buick gl8 mpv

Buick GL8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

China and Buick have enjoyed a fruitful relationship since the brand’s introduction there in 1999, and General Motors is now celebrating the sale of the three-millionth Buick in the country. This greatly exceeds Buick sales in the U.S. over that same period, and GM managed to move all that metal with only 400 stores across China.

Shanghai GM credits the Buick brand strategy laid out in 2008 as a reason for the impressive totals, with sales rising by more than 100,000 units per year. That approach has resulted in the introduction of several new or revised Buick models over the past few years, including the GL8 luxury MPV and the Excelle GT and XT. Hit the jump to read over GM’s press release.

Gallery: Buick GL8 Van

[Source: General Motors]

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Buick sells 3 millionth car in China… since 1999 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reports: Volvo denies talk of Saab takeover,
Muller looking for partner in China

Filed under: Europe, Saab, Volvo, Earnings/Financials

Saab logo detail

It looks like Volvo and Saab won’t be teaming up to create one Swedish carmaker to rule them all. According to Reuters, Volvo has made it clear that the company has had no talks with Saab about buying the besieged automaker and that none are scheduled to take place. The Swedish newspaper De Telegraf had previously reported that the Swedish government was urging Volvo into talks with Saab about a potential takeover. The move would mean that a government loan previously granted to Saab by the European Investment Bank would have a greater chance of being repaid.

Saab has hit (further) rough waters in recent months with multiple supplier hiccups resulting in production stoppages including instances of the automaker being unable to pay for parts. In addition, sales fell well short of 2010 forecasts, resulting in a further cash crunch. The Swedish automaker has since performed a few economic stunts to get production rolling again, including selling the company’s properties and re-leasing them at a lower cost.

In related matters, Automotive News reports that Saab CEO Victor Muller is looking to broker a deal with a Chinese automaker to help finance the company, although it is understood that Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. is not one of those parties. BAIC, you may recall, purchased old Saab assets (the previous generation 9-3 model, among other things) back in 2009 for $200 million, and it also expressed interest in buying Saab from General Motors before Muller’s Spyker stepped in and completed the purchase.

[Sources: Reuters, Automotive News]

Reports: Volvo denies talk of Saab takeover,
Muller looking for partner in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: China suspends Jeep Wrangler importation over safety concerns

Filed under: Convertible, SUV, China, Recalls, Chrysler, Jeep, Off-Road

2011 Jeep Wrangler

2011 Jeep Wrangler – Click above for high-res image gallery

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has suspended the importation of the Jeep Wrangler due to a series of car fires. Car News China reports that the Agency’s investigation showed the fires resulted from issues with the automatic transmission and systems tied to the transmission.

The AQSIQ reportedly asked Chrysler to find the cause of the issue and solve it, adding, “Manufacturer and importers should take precautionary measures for the vehicles involved to ensure consumers’ safety.” The imported Wranglers likely come from our shores, but a quick check of NHTSA’s recall database shows there are no active recalls for Wrangler fires in the U.S. See any irony here?

In an unrelated (though somehow still related…) issue, Chrysler has also recalled 464 Wranglers in China for improperly torqued bolts that lead to loud noises and even potential steering problems. The vehicles in question were built between July 7, 2010 and September 10, 2010. The Chrysler China Sales Company will check affected vehicles for free and fix bolts where necessary. That very same recall is happening here in the U.S. as well.

Gallery: 2011 Jeep Wrangler

2011 Jeep Wrangler2011 Jeep Wrangler2011 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited2011 Jeep Wrangler interior

[Source: China Car News]

Report: China suspends Jeep Wrangler importation over safety concerns originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW cuts the glare with M3 Matte Edition for China

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, China, BMW

BMW M3 Matte Edition

BMW M3 Matte Edition – Click above for high-res images

Automakers have all sorts of different ways of celebrating milestone anniversaries. In the case of the M3, which turns 25 years old this year, BMW opted to roll out a series of special editions for individual markets. Japan, for example, got the Competition Fire Orange Edition. Here in the United States, we got the Frozen Gray edition. Australia got the Pure edition, and in China they got the Tiger edition. The latter proved so popular that BMW has opted to roll out a second special edition for the People’s Republic.

Called the Matte Edition, its defining feature, as you might have guessed, is the matte black paint job, complimented by black chrome trim, high-gloss 19-inch alloys to contrast with the low-gloss body, red brake calipers and an interior decked out with carbon fiber trim and red stitching. Mechanically, the Matte Edition is exactly the same as a stock M3, but the color scheme is one of the most attractive we’ve seen yet. Follow the jump for the official press release (translated into English).

Gallery: BMW M3 Matte Edition

[Source: BMW]

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BMW cuts the glare with M3 Matte Edition for China originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Mar 2011 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Take a first look at Top Gear China

Filed under: China, Etc., Videos

Top Gear China

Top Gear China – Click above to view video after the jump

It’s been talked about for months, and now it’s here: Top Gear China recently aired its first episode, joining the original Top Gear UK, Top Gear America, Top Gear Australia and Top Gear Russia. The Chinese spin-off follows the same format as every Top Gear franchise, sporting three energetic hosts, silly challenges and a studio audience made up of attractive girls and trendy-looking dudes.

We have no idea what the hosts are saying, but it looks as if the banter of the original three Top Gear hosts is alive and well in China, and we only hope they fire back off-color jokes about Brits. It would only be fair, after all.

The first episode of Top Gear China includes a comparison test between a Cadillac and a donkey, apparently to see which is better at making corn meal. The idea is hilarious, and from what we can tell, the execution doesn’t disappoint. Click past the jump for the fist 15 minutes of Top Gear China.

[Source: YouTube via TheTycho]

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Video: Take a first look at Top Gear China originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW Beetle to debut in China; powerful Audi-engined model in the cards?

Filed under: China, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Shanghai Motor Show

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Spy shots

2012 Volkswagen Beetle spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

The latest from the Volkswagen bunker in Wolfsburg is that the second-generation New Beetle (henceforth to be known mercifully as ‘Beetle’) is officially dropping its towel to the floor at the Shanghai Motor Show in April. Whooda thunk it just five years ago? The Beetle is an American pop phenomenon, and it smarts a bit to have lost even that cachet to the all-powerful Chinese venue.

Early word on the Beetle is that it is dynamically far sportier than the outgoing matzoh-ball built exclusively for people desperate for cutesy-ness and absolute symmetry. Oh, yes, and rear passengers without heads.

While Europe is not intended to get the sensational 335-horsepower “W28” in-line five-cylinder turbo seen so far in both the Audi TT RS and RS3, it would seem there is a plot afoot to bring such a Beetle to North America. “The Beetle,” a source in Wolfsburg tells Autoblog, “is so much sportier now. It’s much more appealing to male buyers as well.” Some off-the-record remarks tell of a Beetle thus equipped that is better on the track than another VW R coupe that North America sadly still doesn’t get.

The message? No more dung beetles.

Gallery: 2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots

2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots2012 Volkswagen New Beetle: Spy Shots

[Images: KGP Photography]

VW Beetle to debut in China; powerful Audi-engined model in the cards? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: China tells foreign automakers they must build low-cost local brands

Filed under: China, Plants/Manufacturing

Chinese flagIf you want to do business in the Chinese market, you have to play by the rules set out by the Chinese government… and those rules are subject to change. Such is the case in the automotive segment, where officials from China are reportedly set to add some requirements for automakers that wish to update any contracts in an effort to build more vehicles in China.

Apparently, as much as 30 percent of any additional production capacity over what has already been agreed upon will be earmarked for the Chinese market, and that percentage of vehicles would have to be sold under a new Chinese brand name at a “low cost.”

It’s not necessarily more brands China wants, it’s intellectual property. “During 10 years of trying, China has become a big factory for foreign companies, and their Chinese partners didn’t get advanced technology. Through this industrial policy they would like Chinese carmakers to get IP in order to own this market,” said Lang Xuehong, automotive analyst with Sinotrust, quoted by Financial Times.

Will the scales fall in favor of more access to the lucrative Chinese market or will the desire to keep valuable intellectual property under the roof of the company that actually earned it through actual research and development triumph? We’ll see.

[Source: Financial Times – sub. req.]

Report: China tells foreign automakers they must build low-cost local brands originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Mar 2011 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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