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SAIC to develop 'green' cars

SAIC MOTOR Corp yesterday said it plans to invest 12 billion yuan (US$1.76 billion) in the next three to five years to develop new-energy sedans and auto parts.

The nation's largest car maker signed an agreement with the Shanghai government, which has pledged to offer favorable policies, product research and testing, human resources and government procurement to help SAIC accelerate the marketing of new-energy vehicles.

The investment will divvied up between 41 projects under its blueprint for environmentally friendly vehicles and SAIC plans to pour 2.1 billion yuan into commercializing these cars this year, it said.

SAIC has outlined two phases in the plan. Next year, it is to introduce a hybrid Roewe 750 sedan that could improve fuel efficiency by 20 percent compared with the existing model. The car maker also said it will provide nearly 1,000 new-energy vehicles, including electric, fuel cell and hybrids, for World Expo 2010 Shanghai, based on an agreement with Shanghai's government.

Another plug-in hybrid version of the Roewe 550 mid-class sedan that could reduce fuel consumption by 50 percent is due to hit the market in 2012, when SAIC's self-developed electric vehicles will also be marketed.

Over the past few years, the Chinese partner of General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG has unveiled several so-called "green" cars, including a hybrid Buick LaCrosse sedan.

Chinese car makers have aggressively pushed forward mass production of new-energy cars to meet higher market demand as customers view the issues of energy efficiency and a better environment as important.


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