China to cut subsidies on EVs by 20% in 2021

BEIJING — China will subsidies by a fifth next year on new energy vehicles such as electric cars, the finance ministry said on Thursday, as it seeks to combat pollution and cultivate home-grown champions in the auto sector.

China, the world’s biggest auto market, has set a target for NEVs, including plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to make up 20 percent of auto sales by 2025, up from 5 percent now.

China’s EV market dwarfs that of other countries and the government is intent on further expansion amid commitments to reduce fossil-fuel use.

Global automakers such as Volkswagen Group, General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp. and Tesla Inc. are ramping up EV production in China. The are facing competition from domestic automakers, notably Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto.

Subsidies will be reduced by 10 percent on NEVs for public transport, including buses and taxis, the ministry added in a statement on its website.

China will also beef up regulations on new auto investment and manufacturing, the ministry said, in a move to prevent overcapacity in the auto sector.

It will take steps to spur further consolidation in the auto industry and build a more comprehensive supply chain, the ministry added.

China will extend subsidies and tax exemptions on NEV purchases to 2022. It expects to sell 1.8 million NEVs next year, up from about 1.3 million this year.

Here Are the 2020 Doug Awards! (Best Car, Worst Car, etc.)



Here are the 2020 Doug Awards, where I give awards to some of the cars I’ve reviewed this year — including the best cars, the worst cars, and more! Welcome to the 2020 Doug of the Year Awards!


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The BMW M2 CS Is The Best Driver’s M Car Currently On Sale

Ever since it hit the market, the BMW M2 has been hailed by journalists and car enthusiasts as the most driver-focused car in the automaker’s range of vehicles. Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire recently had the opportunity to test the flagship CS model and was very impressed with what he found.

Powering the car is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six that delivers 444 hp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque, a significant upgrade over the 405 hp unit of the M2 Competition.

Customers can order the car with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch with the car featured in this review rocking the latter. It can hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h).

Watch Also: Mega Hatch Combat – BMW M2 CS Vs. Audi RS3 Vs. Mercedes-AMG A45 S

In a straight line, the M2 CS feels considerably faster than lesser variants but that’s not the only thing it has going for it. As Farah mentions, the car’s adjustable suspension system gives it a much more compliant and forgiving ride than the M2 Competition.

BMW also upgraded the brakes on the M2 CS with six-piston calipers up front with 15.7-inch (400 mm) discs and four-piston calipers with 15-inch (380 mm) discs at the rear. Farah is a big fan of the optional carbon ceramic brakes his test car had, but says they are very squeaky around town.

Deep dive: Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar

Deep dive: Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar

It’s hard to imagine a modern supercar competing in the Paris-Dakar Rally, but that’s exactly what the Porsche 959 did back in the 1980s. This video from Porsche’s “Top Five” YouTube series explains how the 959 morphed from supercar to rally car.

The all-wheel-drive 959 was designed with an eye toward Group B rallying, but the category was eliminated before the car was ready. Instead, Porsche shifted focus to the grueling Dakar Rally.

After some success with all-wheel-drive versions of the 911 in the Dakar Rally, Porsche entered three prototype 959s in the 1985 running. These cars had similar bodywork to the road car (which didn’t start production until 1986), and a simplified version of its all-wheel-drive system, but with 911-spec engines. All three failed to finish.

In 1986, Porsche returned to the Dakar with upgraded 959 rally cars. They sported a more sophisticated all-wheel-drive system with multiple modes, while a 2.8-liter twin-turbocharged flat-6 similar to the 959 road-car engine replaced the previous naturally aspirated 3.2-liter flat-6.

1985 Paris-Dakar Porsche 959 to be sold at auction

1985 Paris-Dakar Porsche 959 to be sold at auction

The Dakar-spec engine made about 400 horsepower, down from the road car’s 444 hp. This was done to account for the unavailability of high-octane fuel along the desert race course, according to Porsche. The automaker also fitted larger fuel tanks, and reinforced suspension.

Porsche once again entered three cars for the 1986 Paris-Dakar Rally, which finished first, second and sixth. That was enough for the automaker which decided to then retire from desert rallying.

With its emphasis on electronics and lightweight materials, the 959 road car helped set the template for the modern supercar. Meanwhile, the Paris-Dakar rally cars are now likely too valuable to ever see dirt and sand again. Even one of the unsuccessful 1985 cars sold for nearly $6 million at auction in 2018.

If you want to delve further into Porsche history, check out the automaker’s “Top Five” videos for rally cars and secret prototypes.

Kia brings a fresh team to lead 2021 push

LOS ANGELES — Kia Motors America has big plans for the coming new year, including five new or significantly redesigned vehicles as part of a yearslong product blitz. It also has a new COO and advertising lead to get those vehicles onto Americans’ driveways.

In mid-December, the Korean automaker began preparations for the next phase of its product push by naming the new team to deliver it .

Bill Peffer was promoted to COO and executive vice president after serving as vice president of sales operations since July 2017.

Peffer, 50, is essentially taking over the role of Michael Cole, Kia’s former president, who left in June to become CEO of Hyundai Europe. At the time of Cole’s move, Kia said the president’s post would be assumed by Sean Yoon, CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors North America.

“This promotion is well deserved,” Yoon said in a statement about Peffer’s new role, “and with five all-new and significantly redesigned vehicles slated for introduction in 2021, Bill will play an increasingly important role in the growth and maturation of the Kia brand.”

To support the product drive, Kia promoted Russell Wager to vice president of marketing, reporting to Peffer.

Wager, 55, has been director of marketing operations at Kia Motors America since July 2019 and previously worked at Mazda.

Kia has a lot on its plate following the successful launches of the Telluride crossover in 2019 and the smaller Seltos a year later. As 2020 came to an end, Kia was launching the fourth-generation midsize Sorento crossover, which will come for the first time in a hybrid version and later in 2021 as a plug-in hybrid. The Sorento PHEV will mark a significant step forward as the brand moves aggressively toward electrification.

Kia also has a compact EV crossover in the works, but that product probably won’t arrive until 2022.

Recent spy photos also show Kia preparing a new generation of the compact Sportage crossover and subcompact Niro, which is currently sold only as a hybrid or full EV.

Kia’s rapid cadence of vehicle updates has meant back-to-back media campaigns to support them, and Yoon credited Wager with driving more traffic to dealers.

“Russell has instilled new energy into Kia’s U.S. marketing activities and played a significant role in driving more first-time Kia shoppers to our showrooms,” Yoon said.

Kia has been one of the best-performing brands in the U.S. market during the coronavirus crisis.

Through the first nine months of 2020, when the U.S. industry declined 18 percent, Kia sales slid 7.6 percent. The brand notched a 12 percent sales gain in October and dropped just 5.2 percent in November despite three fewer selling days compared with November 2019.