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Chinese automaker looks to overtake Tesla


BEIJING, (Xinhuanet) --As American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is making a big splash in China, one Chinese auto manufacturer is aiming to take the lead in the electric car market.

Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Automotive Group, told reporters on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia that his company is partnering up with an American company to roll out a new model of electric car by the end of next year.

"The new model will outperform Tesla's Model S," he said.

Tesla began to take orders of the Model S last August, in the price range of 734,000 yuan to 1.1 million yuan (US$120,000 to US$179,000).

Xu said Tesla's boldness in popularizing the electric car is worth taking a lesson from, but it presents nothing new in terms of technology.

In February 2014, Beijing Automotive Group purchased 25.02 percent of Atieva, a U.S. new energy company that provides the core system to major car makers including Tesla, Volt and Audi.

"The auto industry knows very well about Tesla's Model S. [Tesla motors Chief Executive] Elon Musk won't become Steve Jobs for sure," Xu said.

Zhu Fushou, general manager of Dongfeng Motors which was in the running to acquire U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. for six months, said he was well aware that many U.S. electric car producers are quite dependent on government financing.

"Tesla is aiming to sell 70,000 cars, which is a very tiny niche market in China," said Zhu." Tesla won't have a big impact on the Chinese market."

Tesla opened its first store in China inside Beijing's upscale Parkview Green mall on November 4, 2013. Veronica Wu, vice president of Tesla's China operations, stated earlier this year that she expects China to account for "30 to 35 percent" of Tesla's overall global sales growth target for 2014.



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