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BYD, BAIC green cars get free plates

2014-02-28 13:39 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: qindexing

Electric cars produced by BYD and BAIC Motor will get free license plates in Shanghai as green cars produced in the city, helping to break down barriers created by local governments to protect their own green car industry.

Having recently been included in Shanghai's new energy car subsidy program, the Qin hybrid car of Warren Buffett-backed Shenzhen-based BYD and the E150 purely electric car of state-backed Beijing-based BAIC are now eligible for a free license plate. This decision will save consumers over 70,000 yuan, the price at Shanghai's latest car plate auction for internal-combustion engine cars, according to Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.

Regional protectionism sees the hefty local incentives for new energy cars reserved for local models, making it extremely hard for any green car manufacturer to expand their markets beyond their region. Dominating the markets in Shenzhen and Beijing respectively, BYD's Qin and BAIC's E150 are seen as strong competitors for Shanghai-based SAIC's Roewe E50.

Last November the central government ordered that pilot cities benefitting from its subsidy program must include at least 30 percent non-local new energy cars in their promotion targets.

The subsidies will shave 33,250 yuan (US$5,424) off BYD Qin's retail price which starts from 189,800 yuan, and cut 47,500 yuan from BAIC E150's nearly 250,000 yuan.

But it is not yet clear it the two car models are also eligible for subsidies from Shanghai's government — a privilege now granted only to locally produced cars like SAIC's Roewe E50 and Shanghai General Motor's Springo, whose subsidized prices are both around 150,000 yuan.

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