Chinese automaker slashes price of green cars

Subsidy offered by SAIC Motor makes its eco-vehicles cheaper than gasoline-powered models, but price reduction only available in China and for limited period, says report.

For a limited time, car buyers in China will be able to purchase an eco-friendly hybrid car at a price lower than a gas-guzzling motor car. SAIC Motor says it is subsidizing US$5,000 on its hybrid Roewe 750 sedans to promote sales of the green vehicle.

Chen Zhexin, executive vice president of SAIC, said the price cut will be offered from Nov. 1 to 5, in conjunction with the Shanghai industry fair, according to a Reuters report. China's largest domestic automaker, the company is targeting to sell its green model to fleet buyers as well as consumers, said Chen.

The report added that the subsidy has driven drown the pricetag of the hybrid model lower than SAIC's gasoline cars. SAIC's hybrid cars usually retailed at 236,800 RMB (US$37,272) to 204,800 RMB (US$32,235), while gas-powered vehicles sold for 224,800 RMB (US$35,383) but used about 20 percent more fuel, said Reuters.

The Chinese automaker hopes to sell 500 units of its hybrid vehicle this year and 3,000 units in 2012, said Chen.

To overcome concerns users might have about eco-cars, he added that SAIC will offer car owners warranties of up to 80,000km warranties for these models, and a five-year period where owners will be able to exchange their battery systems for free.

In a separate report by the Khaleej Times, Dubai-based AlToukhi Investment Company announced plans to offer a rental scheme for hybrid vehicles. The automaker would make its fleet of 50 hybrid and fully electric cars available for lease.


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