|The Touran: first SAIC-VW hybrid?|
Reuters. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) says that it will work with its joint venture partner Volkswagen to develop hybrid technology for the Chinese market by 2008. Volkswagen states that it will work alone to develop its own hybrid engine technology for the United States and Europe.
The partnership intends to make 500 hybrid Touran vans to be used as people carriers during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to SAIC. Large scale production of hybrids may start by 2010, prior to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
The Touran, which made its Beijing debut in 2004, is a compact van that currently comes with three engine options: a 1.6-liter FSI (with direct gasoline injection); a 1.9-liter diesel TDI; and a 2.0-liter diesel TDI. The European versions are all Euro-4 compliant.
In December 2004, VW and SAIC announced a new engine joint venture, Shanghai-Volkswagen Powertrain Company Ltd, with the intention of producing modern engines for use primarily in small vehicles as of the end of 2005 in Loutang/Shanghai. Production levels are targeted to increase to eventually reach 300,000 units annually.
Last October, SAIC and GM announced that they would jointly develop and commercialize hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles in China. The broad-based agreement was the first of its kind between a global and Chinese automaker. (Earlier post.) Those efforts are continuing.
Beijing has said it wants to raise the average fuel efficiency on vehicles by 15% by 2010 from 2003 levels.
More to come.