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来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2017-07-04

Buoyed by generous subsidies and meteoric sales, more than 200 companies have announced their intention to make and sell new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China.



The Chinese government is pushing NEVs, cars that are either partially or fully electric, as part of a new industrial policy known as Made in China 2025, by which time it wants to have created national champions in 10 high-tech industries. China is already the world’s biggest car market and has set the ambitious goal of reaching 7m annual NEV sales by 2025. Last year, it sold 507,000.


But this gold rush may be over before its starts for some. China is weeding out smaller NEV companies, some of which have sucked up government subsidies without producing commercially viable vehicles. The government hopes this will leave a handful of leaders that could one day compete with the likes of Tesla, the US company which in April surpassed Ford in stock market capitalisation.


China slashed subsidies on car sales by 20 per cent in January and will phase them out completely by 2020. In April, finance minister Xiao Jie signalled his irritation with NEV subsidy cheaters, companies that took subsidies but did not make cars. He said the government would claw back about Rmb2.3bn ($337m) in such concessions.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry is launching a lengthy certification process which requires that NEV production facilities have “mastered” the technology they are manufacturing. Dominik Declercq, head representative of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association in Beijing, says a probable aim of the measure “is to weed out some of the approximately 200 NEV makers who have benefited from state subsidies without, in some cases, having any real R&D capability”.

与此同时,工信部正启动漫长的认证程序,规定新能源汽车生产企业必须具备制造新能源汽车的技术。欧洲汽车工业协会(European Automobile Manufacturers Association)驻中国首席代表多米尼克?德克莱尔(Dominik Declercq)表示,此举很可能带有这样一个目的,即“淘汰近200家新能源汽车生产商中的一些企业,这些企业受益于政府补贴,但其中一些不具备真正的研发能力”。

Another government body, the National Development and Reform Commission, has issued 15 NEV manufacturing permits, and reports suggest authorities will not continue to issue them.


The NDRC declined to comment.


“The market will always lead to survival of the fittest, and only well-performing companies will survive, generally with some consolidations — not with a market of hundreds of companies making identical, low-end vehicles,” says Xu Haidong, assistant secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

中国汽车工业协会(China Association of Automobile Manufacturers)秘书长助理徐海东表示:“市场将永远是适者生存,只有业绩优秀的公司才会生存,一般是经过一些整合,而不是数百家公司生产相同的低端汽车。”

Many small companies, such as NIO and LeSee, have aspired to emulate the success of Tesla. But Chinese authorities have traditionally been attracted to a model of innovation that focused on national champions — the behemoths of the car industry such as electric battery maker BYD, as well as carmakers GAC, Geely and Changan.


At the same time, it is creating obstacles for smaller companies. China is all but forcing large local and foreign automakers to begin producing NEVs. New rules will require 8 per cent of car sales in China to be electric as early as next year and 12 per cent by 2020 — targets automakers have deemed overly ambitious. Automakers that miss their quotas will have to purchase credits from NEV makers — one industry insider who asked not to be named said this was simply a way for the government to spend less on subsidising NEVs by forcing the auto industry to do so.


Incentives to produce NEVs include generous subsidies that once amounted to nearly 60 per cent of an electric vehicle’s price. Sales quadrupled in 2015 as a result. The craze over electric vehicles has even sparked heavy trading in China in commodities such as lithium and cobalt, which are key battery components.


But for many smaller players, NEVs have proven to be a siren song, their allure masking their risks.


Embattled tech conglomerate LeEco may be the most striking warning of a company partly led astray by NEVs. Jia Yueting, the company’s founder and chief executive, wrote a public letter last November admitting that rapid expansion, including into NEVs, was burning cash. LeEco has since struggled and construction on a plant run with Faraday Future, a US partner, has halted.

如果说有哪家公司在一定程度上被新能源车引入歧途,那最引人注目的例子可能是如今陷入困境的科技巨头乐视(LeEco)。该公司创始人和首席执行官贾跃亭在去年发表的一封公开信中承认,快速扩张(包括进军新能源车)的努力正在“烧钱”。乐视自那以来陷入困境,搁置了在美国建厂、并由其美国合作伙伴法拉第未来(Faraday Future)运营的项目。

Weeding out the smaller players would push the survivors towards partnering with larger companies — exactly what Beijing wants.


Flashy electric vehicle start-up NIO told the Financial Times that, although it has not obtained a government permit to build NEVs, it does not need one because of its partnership with JAC, a local automaker that does.


“A lot of companies, big existing ones with their own production permits, would easily open up their shop floors to manufacturing for other brands as a contract manufacturer,” says Thomas Glendinning, a senior analyst at BMI Research.

BMI研究(BMI Research)高级分析师托马斯?格伦迪宁(Thomas Glendinning)表示:“现在拥有生产许可的许多大公司,将可轻易开放车间,作为代工制造商为其他品牌制造汽车。”

Additional reporting by Sherry Fei Ju

俱菲(Sherry Fei Ju)补充报道

The downside of sharing — a car chairman’s view


China’s car industry is casting a wary eye on the rise of the sharing economy, taking a gloomy view of its impact on car sales.


Feng Xingya, chairman of GAC Motor Group, one of China’s largest domestic carmakers, has laid out a pessimistic vision. “Current predictions are one-in-five in car sharing for shared vehicles — that means in the future if there are 5m shared cars, they will replace 25m private cars,” he said at an automotive conference earlier this month in Chongqing.

中国最大汽车制造商之一广汽集团(GAC Motor Group)的总经理冯兴亚作出了悲观的预测。他在本月早些时候在重庆召开的一个汽车行业会议上表示:“当前的预测是,每辆共享汽车有5个驾车者共享,这意味着未来如果有500万辆共享汽车,那它们将取代2500万辆私家车。”

Mr Feng added that, assuming no shared cars in market, China’s car sales should hit 40m in five years but if 25m were replaced by shared cars — most of which will be electric — “China car sales would be immediately reduced to 15m”.


GAC declined to clarify the time period to which Mr Feng was referring and said he was speaking hypothetically.


Most analysts consider those numbers exaggerated, but note they highlight the apocalyptic mindset in the car industry, which faces disruption by a number of new technologies such as autonomous driving and electrification, as well as car sharing.


Major cities are encouraging car sharing to mitigate pollution and traffic jams. Beijing and Shanghai have rolled out measures to encourage the industry — including subsidising shared rentals, building charging stations for shared new energy vehicles and encouraging government use of shared new energy cars.


China has shown itself uniquely attracted to the car sharing economy. In five years since it was launched, Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, has surpassed its US rival in most metrics and boasts 17.5m drivers across China.

中国已经表明其对汽车共享经济有独特的吸引力。在推出5年后,滴滴出行(Didi Chuxing)在多数衡量标准上超过其美国竞争对手优步(Uber),号称在中国有1750万名司机。

But the market is still tiny. According to China's Ministry of Transportation, there are just 40,000 shared rental cars nationwide and 95 per cent are new energy vehicles.


Other predictions for the growth of car sharing are more conservative than Mr Feng’s. A study by consultancy Roland Berger into the temporary car rental market in China estimated that given 45 per cent growth, the number of shared rentals would reach 600,000 by 2025. It did not estimate how many private cars this would replace.

与冯兴亚相比,其他人对共享汽车增长的预测更加保守。咨询公司罗兰贝格(Roland Berger)对中国临时汽车租赁市场进行了调查,结果显示,按45%的增长估计,到2025年共享租赁汽车数量将达到60万辆。它没有估计这将会取代多少私家车。

Shu Chang, a Shanghai-based consultant at Roland Berger, sees car sharing as a longer-term threat to car sales. In 20-30 years, “with the maturity of autonomous driving, people’s need for car ownership will be much smaller and cars will become part of daily infrastructure just like elevators”, he says. “This is when the auto sales market will be significantly harmed.”


Sherry Fei Ju and Charles Clover in Chongqing

俱菲和尔斯?克洛弗(Charles Clover)重庆报道


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