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Daimler Considers Building EVs in China

To keep the Mercedes-Benz sales momemtum growing in China, parent Daimler could manufacture electric cars and batteries locally, according to the company’s marketing head Hubertus Troska.

Since the beginning of 2016, Mercedes cars have carved a 28-percent sales increase in China after refreshing designs that gave a sportier appearance along with an upmarket feel that appealed to drivers in the world’s largest car market.

Constructing a new battery facility in China is “among the options,” Troska said in an interview reported by Automotive News, adding that a decision had yet not been made.

Troska would not comment about a date to begin production in China of an electric vehicle based on the Generation EQ concept (above photo) that previewed at the Paris auto show earlier this year.

Mercedes plans to offer more than 10 all-electric vehicles as part of its new EQ sub-brand by 2025 and has stated it wants to produce its almost production-ready Generation EQ SUV by 2020.

The Generation EQ is based on the Mercedes C-Class sedan platform, a model that is already being built in China, which would make it somewhat easy to add the EQ local authorities have said.

“The strategic plan by the authorities is to push battery electric vehicles. We continue to invest in both battery electric cars and hybrid,” Troska said in the interview.

SEE ALSO: Daimler and BYD to Build Electric Vehicles in China

China has a serious pollution issue that has prompted the government to look at a new incentive program to boost electric car sales. Officials are considering a plan much like that of California that trades credit for low or zero polluting cars.

In an attempt to discourage the purchase of large luxury vehicles, China recently imposed a 10 percent luxury tax on cars costing more than $189,000, a move that Troska said is not expected to put much of a dent in the sales of top-end Mercedes models.

Generally, Chinese buyers prefer sedans to SUVs but their demand is growing, Troska said.

That could bode well for the electric Generation EQ, and might convince Daimler to invest in a battery factory and build the SUV in China.

 

Automotive News

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Auto Trade Group Failed To Block EPA From Finalizing MPG Rules

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ proposal to stymie the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s move to finalize stringent gas mileage rules before President Obama leaves office on Jan. 20 didn’t pan out.

The auto trade group, which lobbies in Washington for automakers, requested Monday that lawmakers add language in a short-term budget bill that would have blocked the EPA from using funds to finalize emission rules for the 2022-2025 model years that required average fleet-wide efficiency of more than “50 miles per gallon” – actually high 30s on window stickers.

Under the original resolution schedule, a mid-term review that had been included in the emissions rules since before 2012 was to have been completed in April 2018. Instead, last week the EPA made the surprise announcement it would end the public comment period by Dec. 30, and move to lock in the rules before the current administration leaves office.

That left automakers and the lobby group little time to challenge the EPA’s move, and their effort apparently failed, as the Detroit News reported the budget bill passed late yesterday without the auto alliance’s proposed language.

The auto alliance represents BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Car USA.

Last week, the auto alliance issued a statement from its spokesperson Gloria Bergquist.

“EPA’s sudden and controversial move to propose auto regulations eight months early—even after Congress warned agencies about taking such steps while political appointees were packing their bags—calls out for congressional action to pause this rulemaking until a thoughtful policy review can occur,” she said.

SEE ALSO: Obama Administration Acts to Lock in 2025 Emissions Standards Ahead Of Trump’s Taking Office

Automakers had already urged President-elect Donald Trump last month to review the rules, saying the nearly double fleet-wide fuel efficiency by 2025 impose significant costs and are out of step with consumer preferences.

Trump has been skeptical over evidence of climate change, and has promised to block regulations that could unduly burden companies.

Once in office, the new president could seek legislation from Congress to soften the fuel-economy and emissions regulations or even launch a rule-making process to upend the EPA standards and other powers the federal agency can exercise.

If the Trump administration does make a move to overturn the EPA’s decision, it would likely results in lawsuits filled by environmental groups.

Detroit News

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Farm Bureau Offering $500 Rebate on Chevy Bolt EV

If you work on a farm and want a zero-emission vehicle to haul a few bales of hay, tote some produce, implements, or even small livestock (properly secured, of course), the Chevy Bolt EV may be for you.

Or, if you are not up for that, you might still want to investigate joining your state Farm Bureau, as it could be worth a $500 rebate from Chevrolet.

The deal is actually open for buyers of several Chevy, Buick and GMC models – and best of all, it is open for Bolt buyers and can be stacked with the $7,500 federal tax credit, plus any state or local incentives.

Source: Jim Doran Chevrolet.

A watchful reader pointed out at least one Oregon Chevy dealer is offering the incentive, and links in this article ought to set you in the right direction to find whether this is something you can take advantage of.

What’s the catch? You have to pay an annual fee, which varies from state to state (our reader paid $60 in his state). And you have to be a member of the Farm Bureau for at least 30 days before being eligible to claim the free money. And, the offer is not available in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee.

Aw Shucks. There are a lot of farms in those states, but by now EV buyers may be used to the prospect of spotty incentives at the state level.

But you might ask – isn’t this gaming the system? We asked people who ought to know just that, and while asking not to be quoted, they did not say it was.

Otherwise, this may be a good deal all the way around: If you go for it, the Farm Bureau gets new members, Chevy sells more Bolts, and you get $500 – less whatever they charge to sign up, of course.

The Bolt is built to haul stuff.

The time lag could be no big deal for most buyers or lessees, either, as the Bolt is delayed for at least 30 days if not three months in states other than California and Oregon, which could see first deliveries this month.

But then there are no guarantees.

“Offer available through 4/1/17 … Certificates do expire,” says the fine print at the Farm Bureau’s website. “Program subject to change without notice. See dealer for complete details.”

Check it out. And if you plan to use the Bolt down on the farm, all the better.

Hat Tip to Brian Ro.

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