DENZA, a local Chinese brand jointly developed with Chinese partner
BYD <002594.SZ>, forms part of the German auto maker's push to
expand its footprint in the world's largest car market, and to boost
economies of scale for electric cars.
Speaking at Auto China, the car show held in Beijing on Sunday,
Thomas Weber, Daimler's head of research and development, said: "DENZA
is the first complete vehicle that Daimler has developed together
with BYD outside of Germany."
The 5-seater car will be produced by Shenzen BYD Daimler New
Technology Co. Ltd, and will have an operating range of 300 km (190
miles), Daimler said. It said the average daily driving distance in
China is 50 to 80 km a day, so customers will only have to charge
the car twice a week.
Rapid economic growth and urbanization have turned China into the
world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, resulting in polluted
cities and prompting the government to seek ways to promote
low-emission vehicles in an effort to cut back smog.
China has said it plans to have 5 million electric vehicles on the
road by 2020 and has offered local subsidies for electric cars that
have been developed locally.
In 2010, Beijing started offering 60,000 yuan ($9,700) handouts to
buyers of electric cars, but they are still a rarity
due to the lack of charging infrastructure and high battery costs.
On Sunday, Daimler said the DENZA would be eligible for local
subsidies totaling up to almost 120,000 renminbi ($19,500), which
could be deducted from the vehicle price.
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The DENZA will also be exempted from many of the policies used by
local governments to limit the number of new cars on the road,
Daimler said. It will be awarded a license plate in Beijing without
having to go through the mandatory lottery process for conventional
vehicles, and it will even get free license plates in Shanghai and
Daimler has been limited from entering Asia's largest market on its
own because of a law which requires foreign automakers to structure
their China investments as joint venture companies with state-owned
In addition to the ownership cap, the current policy calls for
foreign automakers to set up a jointly-run technical center in China
and to transfer certain technology to their local partners.
($1 = 0.7228 euros)
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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