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China sets 2019 deadline for green car sales targets

CHINA has set a deadline of 2019 to impose tough new sales targets for electric plug-in and hybrid vehicles, slightly relaxing an earlier plan to launch the rules from next year that had left global automakers worried about being able to comply.

Carmakers will need new-energy vehicles to hit a threshold equivalent to 10 percent of annual sales by 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement yesterday. That level would rise to 12 percent for 2020.

The targets remove an explicit 8 percent quota for 2018, but otherwise match previously announced plans.

The quotas are a key part of a drive by China, the world’s largest auto market, to develop its own NEV market, with a long-term aim to ban the production and sale of cars that use traditional fuels announced earlier this month.

However, global automotive manufacturers wrote to Chinese authorities in June, urging a softening of the proposals for all-electric battery vehicles and electric plug-in hybrids.

Under the rules, carmakers will receive credits for NEVs that can be transferred or traded. These credits will be used to calculate if firms have met the quotas.

German automaker Volkswagen, the market leader, acknowledged meeting the target so soon would not be easy. VW sold just a few hundred green cars among the 4 million vehicles it sold in China in 2016, but it plans to sell about 400,000 NEVs in the country by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co said it planned to launch an electric battery car in China next year and would “try to expand our line-up of new-energy vehicles” to meet the quotas.

China wants electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of the country’s auto sales by 2025.

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