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Base to turn car maker greener

BEIJING Automotive Industry Holding Co yesterday announced it will spend 1.68 billion yuan (US$246 million) to build an engineering base which would help it to speed up development of self-branded and clean energy vehicles.

The facility, covering 158,000 square meters in Shunyi district of Beijing, will boost Beijing Auto's technology innovation and enhance research and development into own-brand vehicles, analysts said. Its construction is due to be completed by the end of 2011.

Chinese auto makers have been racing to roll out self-branded cars and new energy vehicles in tandem with the central government's aim to upgrade the automotive industry after years of just assembling vehicles for overseas rivals.

The government also announced subsidies, ranging from 50,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan, for the purchase of hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles as it promotes greener vehicles whose high prices currently dampen demand.

Beijing Auto, the Chinese partner of Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Corp, also plans to invest 10 billion yuan into the development of advanced engine technology and to roll out own-brand vehicles this year.

Its self-developed passenger car is due to be launched in 2010 and work has started to build up a distribution network.

Beijing Auto, the nation's fifth-biggest car maker, aims to boost sales to 2 million units by 2010, with self-branded vehicles accounting for more than 60 percent.


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