Manufacturers are not only competing to sell conventional and electric vehicles, but also to develop new technology.
SHANGHAI: Global car manufacturers are positioning for a brave new world of demand transport that will require the future car – hyper-linked, autonomous and shared – and China can become the concept's laboratory.
With vehicle service booming and car sharing not far behind, the need for cars tailored for these and other evolving mobility solutions is one of the hottest topics among global automakers assembled for this week's Shanghai Auto Show.
Almost everyone agrees that there is nothing better to prove reason than China: its giant cities are desperate for answers to gridlock and its population is known for its clear embrace of high-tech new services.
To take advantage of this, manufacturers not only compete for selling conventional and electric vehicles in the world's largest auto market, but also for developing new technologies and even specific interiors designed for the on-demand world.
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"We can not only develop electric cars. They must be clear, interconnected and of course shared," said Zhao Guoqing, vice president of Chinese car giant Great Wall Motors, on the side of the motorcycle side.
Discussion of China and ride hunting inevitably involves Didi Chuxing, the nation's ubiquitous response to Uber. US dollars in revenues in China last year, or about half of the world's volume, and are expected to double by 2022, according to Statista's data management.
Documents account for about 90 percent of the Chinese market.
The on-demand potential brings car manufacturers and service providers together.
Last year, Didi unveiled an alliance of Chinese and foreign manufacturers, including Renault , Toyota and Volkswagen, dedicated to exploring roads ahead.
And in February, Chinese technology giants Alibaba and Tencent hit hands with seven
"We can no longer be a conventional producer, we must offer mobility solutions, connectivity," says Stephan Wollenstein, director of Volkswagen China, to journalists.
Although a relative novice to China's car market, the French brand Renault is on its way out: its local joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Brilliance Auto delivered 600 personal minibuses to Didi in February.
"Didi will develop such vehicles with many car manufacturers, which are more suited to (Didis) business, transformed around the passenger," said Michael Dong, vice president of Renault-Brilliance-Jinbei.
First, most cars have been designed to squeeze in a family and thus have limited back space because it is where kids normally sit, said Lawrence Petizon, an analyst with AlixPartners.
But to drive or share, more space in the b need to accommodate adult passengers.
"The family car is not the right answer," he said.
Didi drivers usually deliver their own vehicles, but Chinese authorities urge service companies to build their own fleets, both to spur the industry and push the futuristic transport concept.
Some manufacturers even dip their toes to drive, with Germany's BMW offering a high-end service in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, and Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz
Daimler and BMW announced in February that the ordered volumes continued not enough for mass production, but the potential is huge, Dong says.
The idea is not limited to China.
In February, Daimler and BMW announced that they will jointly invest "more than one billion euros" to deepen the cooperation between their Car2Go and DriveNow services in Europe, where cars are available for short-term point-to-point use.
One thing that seems t This means that changes to the change are how cars are bought and sold.
"Car manufacturers will no longer provide customers with cars through a one-time sale, but rather with a brand that connects them to users on a daily basis through the mobility services they offer," said a recent Eurogroup Consulting report.
This automotive development is expected to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles, which have already been viewed as the overall car transport of the future, but seem particularly suitable for urban car sharing services.
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Valeo, the French manufacturer of ultrasonic sensors, cameras and navigation technology, said it received orders totaling one billion euros in the development of "robot-taxis".
Francois Marion, president of Valeo China, said the global advent of driverless cars is just around the bend.
"They will make their way into meticulously mapped urban environments with dedicated street lanes, connected infrastructures that control them and programmed itineraries," he said of the futuristic vision.
"And those companies that run them will always be able to intervene if something happens to one of the vehicles. "
Valeo also works with Meituan, China's leader in meal delivery, to develop a robotic car.