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Dongfeng Motor targets for mid-level car market

Dongfeng Motor Corp. brought up 22 brand-new vehicles to the 13th International Auto Show in Shanghai, with exhibiting booth space as large as 2,500 square meters including 1,000 for commercial vehicles outdoors. On display were 16 passenger cars, six commercial vehicles and four engines, all demonstrating Dongfeng’s latest development and innovation in science and technology.

The highlight was the debut of Dongfeng Fengshen S30 PV model on the first day of the exhibition. The hybrid car powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine plus an electric motor is expected to save 10 percent of fuel in operation and will sell at around ¥80,000 ($11,700). As one of the mainstream mid-level models, it will be put on the market in May to compete with such rivals as the Buick Excelle and Hyundai Elantra. This is the first independent-branded car co-developed for four years by Dongfeng Technology Center and Italian IDG.

In addition, Dongfeng also debuted a pure electric small concept car and a mid-sized concept sedan at the show, along with a 7-seat van and a small hatchback model. The company plans to sell 1.4 million vehicles this year, 80,000 units more than last year, to achieve sales revenue of above ¥200 billion. Dongfeng is developing more than 10 models under the Fengshen, most of which are in the sub-compact, compact and mid-sized segments, according to deputy general manager Li Shaozhu.

Statistically, Dongfeng Motor Corp. sold 341,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2009, up 0.57 percent over the same period last year, but with 10 percent growth compared with the fourth quarter in 2008. The sales have recovered quickly since March, when Dongfeng’s retailing amounted to 145,000 units, about 40 percent increase over the previous month, with cars and minivans all selling better than expected in the market.

Xu Ping, Dongfeng’s general manager told the media that the company will focus on the research and development of independent brands as well as new energy vehicles in the future. “In the next five years we are striving to increase our production beyond 2 million units, making further progress in structure optimization and technical advance with better profits,” he stressed.

Dongfeng Citroën brand vehicles

While showcasing its 10 best new models in the Shanghai International Exhibition Center, Dongfeng Citroën announced its new logo of double-chevron to upgrade the brand on April 18, just three days prior to the opening of Auto Shanghai 2009.    

“The change of the logo indicates a new start, from which the company is to introduce more of the world’s leading technology into our new products, especially the high-end models, to meet the needs in the expanding market,” said Liu Weidong, general manager of Dongfeng Citroën.

Also, the C-Quatre sedan by Dongfeng Citroën made its debut in the auto show in the wake of the new logo. As A-Class family cars, the C-Quatre sedan and C-Quatre hatchback are two models expected to lead China’s mid-sized auto market. With high-quality performance and human-oriented control technology, the new C5 (or Citroën-5) is the perfect product of a new generation of high-tech cars. Dongfeng Citroën intends to enhance its brand strategy in China when the new C5 hits the domestic market in the latter half of the year.

Being one of the pioneers of auto JV in the Chinese market, Dongfeng Citroën has developed a strong product lineup in the past 16 years, covering C-Triomphe, C-Quatre, C3 Picasso, New Elysee CNG and New C5 concept car, etc. at prices ranging from ¥80,000 to ¥200,000. The company is intensifying technical innovation centered around three major aspects: upgrading quality products, improving sales network and enhancing customer satisfaction. By 2010, its products will cover 70 percent of the car models on the domestic market, according to Wei Wen-ching, deputy general manager of Dongfeng Citroën.

Dongfeng Peugeot brand vehicles

A variety of Dongfeng Peugeot models including Peugeot 207, 307, 207 CC, 307 CC, 307 SW and Coupe 407 were put on display at the auto show in Shanghai, together with two concept cars of RC HYbrid4 and RD, which was actually a winning project in the 5th Peugeot design contest.

The most interesting RD concept car was a three-wheeled vehicle equipped with an environment friendly electric motor. The driving position in this single-seat car offers a feeling of freedom with a panoramic vision, voice-message driving assistance and a heads-up display system that gives all the information required for traveling in complete safety. The design was so simple that it moves easily under the complicated traffic conditions one would encounter in a megalopolis of the future.

The RC HYbrid4 is a racing car, which debuted in Paris auto show last year. It could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 4.4 seconds. The concept car consumes only 4.5 liters of fuel in running 100 kilometers with carbon dioxide emissions of 109 grams per km, which would be cut to zero emission when driven in electric mode.

The Donfeng Peugeot 207 hatchback has become the focus of booth models, with its design full of avant-garde fashion and color. It experienced outstanding safety performance in harsh road testing for 10,000 kilometers due to ABS and EBD systems plus dual airbags. In the latest European NCAP crash tests the Peugeot 207 received five-star for 35 points, though there was room for improvement in the protection of children and pedestrians.

The Peugeot 307 sedan, with its 4.48 meters of the streamlined body, renders the impression of dynamic elegance. The 307 series can effectively reduce fuel consumption and meet Euro IV emission standards. It has built good reputation among customers as a mid-sized car because of its excellent performance in reliable control, security, comfort and innovation in science and technology.

Dongfeng Peugeot is said to launch a new sedan codenamed T73 next year, which will become the main product in 2010. The Chinese-made Peugeot 308 will be re-shaped in design to add more advanced devices, such as parking radar, Xenon headlights and panoramic sunroof, etc. to make it more superior to Peugeot 307.

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