Aston Martin, the British manufacturer of luxury sports cars, this week announced that it has agreed with a Beijing-based tech firm, LeEco, to jointly develop the British luxury automaker’s first electric vehicle by 2018. Formerly known as Letv, LeEco claims that its mission is to create extraordinary consumer experiences with a vertically integrated ecosystem shaped by constant innovations and breakthroughs.
Models poses next to Aston Martin sportscars at the Beijing Auto Show in 2014. (Photo courtesy Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images )
According to the agreement, Aston Martin and LeEco plan to develop an electric car based on the British automaker’s Rapide S model. After that, the two companies will develop other potential electric vehicles.
Andy Palmer, Astom Martin Chief Executive, said that the partnership “brings Aston Martin’s electric car project forward” at a news conference in Frankfurt. The new electronic car would come to market in 2018 and will be built in Gaydon, England, according to the agreement.
LeEco hopes to promote cars in future by using its exsiting audience base and celebrities endorsements. As Lei Ding, co-founder of LeEco’s auto division, said,
“In China we have around 300 million people who visit our website. We could advertise the Aston Martin for free. And we can use celebrities to promote our vehicle. This is the way we do business.”
As the Chinese government continues its efforts to cut down the country’s air pollution, the electric car market will grow rapidly in China. The Chinese government aims to have at least 5 million electric cars by the year 2020.
Bidders flocked to an auction in Beijing to bid for cars that used to belong to central government.
This week, hundreds of Chinese bidders flocked to an auction in Beijing to bid for cars that used to belong to central government, reported South China Morning Post.
The first batch of 204 central government officials’ cars that went under the hammer were sold for a whopping 14.5 million yuan ($2,321,900) in total, about 75 percent higher than their staring prices on average. The remaining 2,980 cars will be auctioned at later dates.
During the auction, one of the bidders successfully bid more than 20 Audis and Volkswagens worth more than a million yuan, according to the report.
The question is why so many people are fascinated by used ex-government cars rather than other secondhand cars or brand new cars. As one bidder told China Business News,
“It makes me look good to drive a former official car to business gatherings, because it used to serve officials from the central government.”
Some bidders also felt that the cars used by government officials were usually better maintained than other secondhand cars.
With the ongoing anti-corruption campaign driven by President Xi, officials of all ranks below deputy minister are now banned from using government-owned cars on a daily basis except for specific tasks and emergencies. Unused cars are to be sold at public auctions, with the money raised going to the central treasury.
Sports car maker Aston Martin hired Michael Mingshan Peng, former Porsche and BMW executive, to head its China operations, effective from February, reported Reuters.
Educated at Shanghai’s Tongji University, Peng was previously appointed as head of sales at Porsche China. Mr. Peng is a proven veteran of the luxury auto industry, according to Porsche’s website. Prior to becoming Director Sales, Mr. Peng had been Special Projects Manager with Porsche China, responsible for business management and other key functions.
“Aston Martin is in the midst of its most significant and ambitious period of investment to date, and Michael will be instrumental in leading the China dealer network through this exciting time.” said Andy Palmer, chief executive of the British luxury sports car manufacturer.
Hurun Research Institute‘s latest report shows that Mercedes-Benz owners in China are the country’s most wealthy, while Chinese Infiniti owners have the lowest average wealth.
The average luxury car owners in China is 33.5 years old, and their annual household income is just over $160,318, according to the report. China’s Mercedes-Benz owners have about $1.8 million in household assets.
The report is based on interviews with a group of 800 luxury car owners in 10 cities across China. “Spending money on a nice car is the first outward sign of success for many Chinese. The objective of this report is to highlight the brand image of these luxury cars in China,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report.
China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest premium car market by 2016.