"Chinese auto buyers purchased nearly half of all the plug-in electric vehicles sold in the world a year ago, and Chinese officials have set ambitious goals for the further adoption of hybrid- and electric-powered vehicles in the decades ahead", said Bob Pyle, president of Dana Light Vehicle Driveline Technologies and the leader of Dana's company-wide electrification and hybridization strategy.
"It's hard for someone with an EV to come and take away market share from SUVs", stated Ben Cavender of China Market Research Group.
But Hyundai and Kia suffered a 52 percent on-year decline in their combined vehicle sales last month in China at 72,032 units amid a diplomatic row over Seoul's decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea within this year. The company reported sales of more than $5.8 billion in 2016. SUVs compromised 40 percent of sales, while sedan purchases dropped 4.9 percent. They range from family-friendly SUVs to futuristic-looking, premium-priced electric muscle cars from Chinese startups such as NextEV and Qiantu.
The government also is spending heavily to increase the appeal of electrics by expanding China's network of charging stations to reduce "range anxiety", or buyers' fear of running out of power.
The company also unveiled its Roewe Vision-E concept, an electric SUV said to be the forerunner of a production model due next year.
"Sustainability is one of the mega trends worldwide, and China is a leading market in electric mobility", said Audi's Dietmar Voggenreiter.
Long, 20, drives himself to school for around 50 yuan ($7) using EVCARD, a service launched by state-owned automaker SAIC Motor that has compact electric vehicles sprinkled around the city, slashing his travel time and costing one-quarter the taxi fare.
Hence the proposal, released in September, calling for electric or gasoline-electric hybrids to make up 8 percent of every automaker's output next year.
Michael Yang, director of SAIC's global division, revealed at Auto Shanghai on Wednesday said it will focus on its efforts in China and Europe for now.
SsangYong signed a letter of intent for a joint venture with Shaanxi Automobile Group in China in October in an attempt to build a production plant in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, a move seen as meant to locally manufacture cars to be sold in China.
Volvo Cars says the decision to make its first electric auto in China highlights the central role the country will play in Volvo's electrified future and underlines China's growing sophistication as a manufacturing center for the automotive industry. He said the brands plan to roll out a total of 10 new locally produced SUVs over the next two years.
Expect lots of crossovers to make their debuts at Auto China this year, including the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman SE Cooper All4, the high-performance version of the popular crossover from the German-owned British brand. It is to be the first in a full range of pure-electric vehicles for China.
GKN, a global engineering group based in England that supplies components for the BMW i8 and Volvo's XC90, said on Wednesday China would become its global production hub for electrified drivelines starting in 2018 and production would be ramped up to an annual 1 million "eDrive" units by 2025.