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The $111,000 EV Sports Car Vs Maybach: Beijing Auto Show Update

Ying Tian, Elisabeth Behrmann, Kevin Buckland, Yan Zhang

The Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is a barometer of the state of the world’s biggest passenger-vehicle market. New cars are launched, startups vie for attention against their multinational rivals. This year’s show is significant for some key reasons: China is beginning to open up its automobile market after two decades of restrictions on how much foreigners can own in local car ventures; secondly, the electric vehicle juggernaut is beginning to gather steam; and then there’s a looming trade war.

Bloomberg News will capture the pulse of the show throughout the day here. All times are Beijing.

A $111,000 sports car from a Chinese electric vehicle startup wants to vroom
The founder of Chinese startup Qiantu Motor is jostling for a slice of the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market, and says the race for leadership in the industry has barely started. The company is set to kick off sales of its 700,000 yuan ($111,000) K50 sports car in July. The battery-powered car accelerates from zero to 100 kilometers in 4.6 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph). It has a range of 365 kilometers on a single charge.

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Sedans are dead, you thought? Think again.
Whoever proclaimed the death of the sedan forgot to tell Chinese Lexus buyers. Toyota Motor Corp.’s premium brand is launching the seventh generation of its mid-sized ES saloon at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Wednesday, into a market where sales of the model have almost doubled over the past two years.

Will the billionaires bite? Mercedes Tests Appetite for Maybach Crossover
Maybach was the first off the blocks, extending the ultra-luxury badge with a crossover, compete with a porcelain tea service embedded in a heatable ebony-wood tray. Aimed squarely at billionaires perusing the Beijing auto show’s offerings this week, a concept model being displayed includes optional white nappa-leather lie-flat seats with massage and aroma-therapy functions. Mercedes isn’t commenting on when it’ll decide on offering the vehicle.

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Volkswagen is unloading its wallet. An $18 billion technology push
VW is shifting into overdrive, bolstered by spending at its Chinese joint ventures as the German carmaker seeks an edge in producing electric, self-driving autos. The partnerships’ technology investments in the next five years will total 15 billion euros ($18 billion), Jochem Heizmann, head of Volkswagen’s business in China, said Tuesday at a new-model presentation in Beijing.

China looks poised to lead the auto market
Chinese billionaire Li Shufu has catapulted from founding his Geely Group as a refrigerator maker in the 1980s to owning Volvo Cars, British sports carmaker Lotus, London Black Cabs and the largest stake in Daimler AG—the inventor of the automobile. Now he is spearheading China’s aspirations to wedge itself among the big three of the global car industry—the U.S., Germany and Japan—so they become the Big Four.

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